Discharge Upgrades & Military Record Changes

Photo of people in camoflague pants and tan combat boots, from the knee down

Step-by-Step Guide: How To Apply for a Discharge Upgrade

Discharge Upgrade Basics

A picture of a DD Form 214 form on a wooden table.

Discharge Conditions: How to Request Review

The reason for your discharge and the “character” of that discharge is very important in deciding if you (and/or your dependents) are eligible for military and veteran benefits as a result of military service. The reason for your discharge is listed on the DD-214 Certificate of Release which is issued at the completion of military service.
A picture of a DD Form 214 form on a wooden table.

DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents

A Certificate of Release or Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. It is used to prove military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans' organizations.
A picture of a DD Form 214 form on a wooden table.

Discharge Conditions

When a member of the Armed Forces is released from their obligation to serve, he or she receives a formal discharge which is identified on the DD-214 Certificate of Release or other separation documents.  There are five ways to characterize a discharge:

• Honorable;

• General (under honorable conditions);

Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program

Free Help Filing for a Discharge Upgrade or Appealing Vet Benefits Denial

The Veterans Consortium believes that our Veterans deserve the benefits and compensation they were promised, and the best legal services free of charge to meet their challenges and needs. These services are provided worldwide and are 100% free to veterans. 

Process for Requesting Records from a Theater of Conflict

Process for requestiong records from a theater of conflcit developed by Major Yolanda Benson and the Veterans Advocacy Clinic at Stetson University College of Law.

A signpost with three blue arrow-shaped signs pointing in different directions.

DoD Memorandum Clarifying Guidance to Discharge Review Boards Considering Requests for Discharge Modifications Due to Mental Health Conditions, TBI, Sexual Assault, or Sexual Harassment

Generally

On August 25, 2017, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a Memorandum clarifying guidance to Military Discharge Review Boards and Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records considering requests by veterans for modification of their Discharge due to mental health conditions, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault, or sexual harassment. 

Requests for discharge relief typcially involve four questions:

Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program Logo - a blue star and red text on a gray background

Get free appeal help to the CAVC from the Veterans Consortium

Help with Discharge Upgrades and VA benefit denials from the BVA (a high-level appeal).

A blue x-ray style image of a person from the shoulders up. They are resting their head on their arm, and their brain is highlighted in red.

Discharge Problems Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury

Receiving either a bad conduct discharge or a personality disorder discharge can result in serious negative consequences for a person suffering from a TBI or PTSD.

The logo for the Army Review Boards Agency. A golden eagle on a red seal with the scales of justice. A text ribbon reads "Justice, Equity, Compassion."

Army Board for Correction of Military Records

The Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) is the highest level of administrative review within the Department of the Army with the mission to correct errors in or remove injustices from Army military records.