Correcting your Military Service Record
Many veterans are not aware of the opportunity they have to an upgrade or correct the characterization of service they received in their military discharge and the ability to correct their military records. These upgrades and corrections may come with significantly increased veterans’ benefits.
Veterans who desire a correction to their service record or who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade can apply for review to a discharge review board with their specific service branch. If the discharge was less that 15 years ago, the veteran should complete a DD Form 293 and send it to their service’s Discharge Review Board. If it was more than 15 years ago the veteran should complete a DD Form 149 and send it to their service branch’s Board for Correction of Military Records.
There are several mitigating factors that these boards consider in reviewing a discharge. Those mitigating factors include downgraded characterizations veterans received who were unknowingly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Other corrections may be appropriate if the service member was the victim of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other mental health conditions while in the military. These factors can mitigate the misconduct that resulted in a discharge from the military.
Department of Defense policy mandates that liberal consideration will be given to veterans petitioning for discharge relief when the application for relief is based in whole or in part on matters relating to mental health conditions like PTSD and TBI. Evidence of those mental health conditions can come from sources other than the veteran’s service record.
However, a discharge review board cannot overturn or change a characterization received as the result of a court-martial conviction.
Filing a petition to have your service record corrected can be done alone, but attorneys at CMH are experienced in drafting and submitting the appropriate and relevant matters to the proper boards of all branches of the military. There are also important time restrictions that may prevent or delay your correction. If you or a veteran that you know needs a correction or upgrade to their military record, let CMH help with a free initial consultation.
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