The Mayer Law Blog

Military Discharge Upgrades – Summer 2022 Update

Posted August 15th, 2022 in General

Just a few updated notes on the military discharge upgrade process.

  • Personal Appearance Hearings: The several services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force) continue to evolve their processes for personal appearances. Historically, these hearings have been in person, and an applicant and military discharge counsel would travel to the board’s location to appear in their hearing room. However, this process has evolved since COVID, with most boards adopting video teleconferencing and telephonic hearings. Be prepared for this.
  • Record Requests. Requesting records at Archives.gov continues to evolve. Unfortunately, we are still seeing long waits for records.
  • PTSD and other mental health issues. While the boards liberally consider any conditions which may have been affecting a service member at the time of discharge processing, please remember that there is no such thing as an automatic upgrade. The applicant still bears the burden of proving that the mental health condition was a significant contributing factor.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) cannot change discharge characterizations. While the VA, in certain circumstances, may choose to regard a veteran’s service as “Honorable for VA purposes.” However, this does not change the characterization.
  • How much time does it take to upgrade a discharge. This has normalized a bit. For record reviews, it appears that the old standard of 12-18 months has returned. For personal appearance hearings, it appears that the timeline is closer to 24 months. Of course, this may vary depending on the complexity of your case.


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