Not all discharge decisions are inherently final. Pursuant to federal law, each military branch maintains a Discharge Review Board (DRB) which meets regularly to review submissions and hear oral arguments in favor of applicants. Veterans seeking a discharge upgrade may, within 15 years from their military discharge, petition one of the following DRBs:
MJA has proudly helped veterans successfully upgrade their discharge characterization of service. Contact our military defense lawyers now to learn more.
PTSD and TBI
On September 3, 2014, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum providing guidance to the Military Boards for Correction (Secretary Hagel Memo) regarding petitions brought by veterans claiming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with other than honorable conditions discharge.
The Department of Defense issued later clarifying guidance on August 25, 2017 regarding requests by veterans for a discharge upgrade due to mental health conditions (including PTSD and TBI), sexual assault, or sexual harassment (USD P&R Memo).
Requests for discharge relief typically involve four questions:
The new guidance explains that “liberal consideration” will be given to veterans petitioning for discharge relief when the application for relief was based in whole or in part on matters relating to mental health conditions, including PTSD; TBI; sexual assault; or sexual harassment.
Evidence supporting these events or diagnoses could come from the veteran’s service record or from outside sources like law enforcement agencies, medical treatment facilities, or even from family, friends, and other acquaintances. Circumstantial evidence, like deterioration in work performance, substance abuse, or depression, can also be admitted in support of the petition. The veteran’s testimony alone can establish the existence of a condition or experience which excuses or mitigates the discharge.
Under the new guidance, conditions or experiences that may reasonably have existed at the time of discharge will be liberally considered by the Discharge Review Board as excusing or mitigating the unfavorable discharge.
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Our Military Justice Attorneys are experienced in representing veterans before Discharge Review Boards and understand how to gather and persuasively present the best evidence for your case. Call us today for your free consultation.