Military/Civilian Records, DEERS, and DOD ID Cards

Requests for Upgrade of Discharge Characterization

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

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, or PTSD
  • Traumatic brain injury, or TBI
  • Sexual assault or harassment during military service
  • Sexual orientation (including under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy)

The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs jointly operate an online tool to easily submit your application. By answering a series of questions you will receive customized step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a discharge upgrade or correction.

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

If you received a decision from the review board and you do not agree with it, please write the board and explain your reasoning. The correction board will assist you with information on how to appeal decisions.

For service members with separation dates on or after December 20, 2019, the Discharge Appeal Review Board will provide a final review of discharge or dismissal characterization upgrade requests when petitioners have exhausted all available administrative remedies. To learn more about the DARB and how to apply for review, visit the Air Force Review Board Agency Portal.