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Military/Civilian Records, DEERS, and DOD ID Cards

Requests for Upgrade of Discharge Characterization

Published: 08/23/21 | Updated: 01/04/23

Veterans who believe the characterization of their discharge from military service was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade are encouraged to apply for a discharge upgrade or correction.

All branches of the military consider you to have a strong case for a discharge upgrade if you can show your discharge was connected to any of these categories:

  • Mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Sexual assault or harassment during military service
  • Sexual orientation (including discharges under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy)

The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs jointly operate an online tool to facilitate your application process.  By answering a series of questions, you will receive customized instructions on how to apply, and to which board to apply, for a discharge upgrade or correction.

Link:  https://www.va.gov/discharge-upgrade-instructions/

If you do not agree with a Service Board for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NR) decision, and have relevant evidence that was not considered with the previous application, you may submit a new DD Form 149 to your respective BCM/NR and apply for reconsideration of your case.

Service members with a separation date on or after December 20, 2019, who have exhausted all available administrative remedies for a discharge or dismissal characterization upgrade by their Service BCM/NR, may be eligible to apply to the DoD Discharge Appeal Review Board. To learn more about the DARB and how to apply for review, visit the DARB page located on the Air Force Review Board Agency website.