Ineligible for some VA benefits due to discharge

Discharge Upgrades

Ineligible for some VA benefits due to discharge

March 18, 2024
Question

I was advised by the VA office that my discharge of Other than honorable made me ineligible for any some benefits. I need assistance in upgrading the discharge to under honorable. I want to know if that was even realistic goal to pursue. I have documentation that will support my case.

Answer

Yes, you should absolutely try for an upgrade. You can also appeal the VA's Character of Discharge (COD) determination that said you are ineligible for benefits by submitting the evidence in support to the VA. You can appeal the COD at the same time as you are applying for a discharge upgrade from the Department of Defense Review Boards.

If you were discharged less than 15 years ago, use the DD 293 form and submit as much evidence as possible to prove to the Discharge Review Board why your Other than Honorable (OTH) discharge was too harsh. If it has been more than 15 years, use the DD 149 form. The Board will either keep your discharge the same or grant an upgrade, so there is no harm in trying. Be aware that the Board presumes regularity and assumes the military did everything right during your discharge process, so the burden is on you to prove otherwise. Best of luck to you!