The Mayer Law Blog

Upgrading Your Military Discharge – Beyond DD Form 293

With all the “how to upgrade your own discharge” misinformation floating around the internet, it’s not surprising that one of the most frequent emails our discharge upgrade lawyers receive is “I tried to upgrade my own discharge but was denied. What can I do now?” Many of these people go on to say that they have filled out the DD 293 form, submitted it, and thought they would receive an automatic upgrade. We also sometimes receive requests from folks who want to hire a lawyer to fill out the DD Form 293 for them, expect to pay a few bucks, and think they’ll receive an upgrade in a few weeks. Unfortunately, that’s not how a successful discharge upgrade happens.

To successfully upgrade your discharge, you or your lawyer has to convince the discharge review board that you deserve an upgrade. Maybe PTSD or a TBI contributed to the reason for your discharge, or you were sexually assaulted, or you were discharged for being gay during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Maybe you were discharged for having a personality disorder that you don’t actually have. Or maybe you were discharged for minor incidents and your discharge did not overall reflect the totality of your service record. Whatever the reason you feel you deserve a discharge upgrade, you’ll need to convince a board that you do.

This is where a discharge upgrade attorney can be helpful, because they can review your records and formulate an argument on your behalf. They have the experience to know what type of arguments work with the board and which ones don’t. They know how to present you and your argument in a way that will make your request for an upgrade more sympathetic with the board. They also know that this process is not simple or a quick fix.

Beyond filling out a DD form 293, discharge upgrade lawyers spend time requesting and reviewing your records, conducting research, helping formulate a timeline that accurately reflects your time in the military and since your discharge, obtaining character reference letters on your behalf, composing a written statement in support of your discharge upgrade request, and/or preparing you for your hearing before the board. While filling out the DD 293 usually takes less than half an hour, the rest of your case can take more than ten hours of an attorney’s time.

If you plan to try to upgrade your own discharge without a lawyer, be prepared to spend adequate time on the process to better your chances of an upgrade. If you would like to consult with a discharge upgrade lawyer, you can schedule a phone conference through our website.

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