Military Discharge Upgrades: A Legal Victory and False Hope? 

Are you or a loved one one of the tens of thousands of veterans who received a less than honorable discharge? If so, you likely know the stigma and difficulty that such a characterization of service brings in the civilian world. But the good news is that you may not have to live forever with that stigma. Discharge upgrades, while never automatic and not easy to win, are possible. But you have to do it right. Simply filling out forms provided on DoD or VA websites will rarely result in a successful package. Instead, consider obtaining the assistance of an experienced military lawyer to help you. They can provide valuable insight that makes your package as strong as it can be. For example, I’ve seen many packages where the servicemember was separated for drug use but their package does not address the circumstances of that use. That’s usually a mistake. The Board members will care about those circumstances and including them can mitigate that drug use. Alternatively, omitting those circumstances may leave the Board members wondering about worst case scenarios. This is not legal advice and the circumstances of your case will be crucial in making these types of decisions. The point is, don’t give up. If you have a less than honorable discharge and believe your circumstances deserve consideration, reach out to someone for help. Your service deserves to be characterized by what you’ve earned, not just what your last CO thought it should be.

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