New Tool Helps Veterans Seeking Discharge Upgrades

A discharge upgrade can make a big difference to veterans who have been denied VA benefits. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A discharge upgrade can make a big difference to veterans who have been denied VA benefits. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have launched a new online tool to help guide veterans through upgrading their military discharges.

The joint initiative was created in response to criticism of the review process, which had been deemed daunting or difficult to understand by some.

Available at www.vets.gov/discharge-upgrade-instructions, the online tool simplifies and customizes guidance for those seeking to upgrade their discharge, officials said.

"By answering a few short questions, veterans will know which board they need to go to, what form to fill out, any special guidance applicable to their case, where to send their application, and some helpful tips for appealing their discharge," officials said in a release announcing the tool. "Any veterans who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade are encouraged to use this tool and then apply for review."

Previously, the review process could be confusing because of numerous guidance documents issued over the years, officials said. The task also was more difficult for veterans who suffer from mental health or other conditions.

The new tool aims to improve the process, officials said, thereby helping veterans who believe they may have been unfairly discharged or received an unfair discharge characterization.

Affected veterans may include those who were discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" or similar policies, as well as those discharged for post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

"We are thrilled to have partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs in developing this wonderful and easily-accessible tool," said Robert Wilkie, a Fayetteville native and undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "We support our veterans, whether they served recently or long ago, and we are excited to introduce a tool that will individualize the guidance for those who desire an upgrade or change in their military discharge."

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This article is written by Drew Brooks from The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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