Veterans who were discharged from the military after December 20, 2019, with anything less than an honorable discharge now have a new opportunity to appeal their discharge characterization through the Discharge Appeal Review Board (DARB). The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act established this board.
Read on as the Norfolk military defense lawyers at Griffin Law Defense explain more.
Discharge Characterization and its Impact
The characterization of a discharge can have a significant impact on the benefits and opportunities available to veterans after they leave the military. This includes educational benefits and job prospects. Most veterans will leave the service with an honorable discharge. Still, some may receive a less favorable characterization of their service, such as a bad conduct discharge or a discharge under other than honorable conditions. These characterizations can limit a veteran's ability to access benefits and job opportunities.
Existing Avenues for Reconsidering Discharge Status
Before the DARB, veterans had the option to appeal their discharge status through their own military service's discharge review board (DRB) or the Board for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NR). However, these avenues for reconsidering a discharge status are managed by individual arms of the army and can lead to inconsistent outcomes for veterans. For example, a veteran from one service may receive a different outcome than a veteran from another service, even if their circumstances are similar.
The DARB: A Consistent Standard for Reviewing Discharge Status
The DARB operates independently of each arm of the military services, providing veterans with a review of their discharge status that adheres to a consistent standard. This ensures that veterans receive a fair, just, and equitable outcome across the services. If a veteran has already appealed their discharge status through their service's DRB and BCM/NR and is still dissatisfied with the outcome, they can now appeal to the DARB.
Reasons to Appeal Discharge Status
There are several reasons a veteran may believe their discharge status warrants a change, including:
a. Unjust or unfair treatment: If an individual believes that they were treated unjustly or unfairly during their discharge process, they may choose to appeal.
b. Improper classification: If an individual believes their discharge status was incorrectly classified (e.g., as dishonorable when it should have been honorable), they may appeal.
c. New evidence: If new evidence that was not considered during the original discharge process becomes available, an individual may choose to appeal.
d. PTSD or TBI: If an individual can prove that their discharge is related to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or TBI (traumatic brain injury), they may appeal and get a better status.
e. Administrative error: If an individual believes that an administrative error was made during the discharge process, they may choose to appeal.
Contact The Griffin Law Firm Today
If you are a veteran seeking to upgrade your discharge characterization, it is important to have the guidance and support of a reputable military law firm. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to helping veterans navigate the complex appeals process and achieve the best possible outcome. We understand veterans' unique challenges and have the knowledge and resources to guide you through the process. Don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your case and learn more about how we can assist you in upgrading your discharge characterization. Our team is here to support you every step of the way.