In the January article we talked about the DD 214 or standard separation documents releasing service members from the military. The next two articles will address the challenges military personnel face while on active duty and the value of an honorable discharge. This could be a lengthy subject so I am breaking it up into two parts.
An honorable discharge from the military opens up a lot of doors for former service members and authorizes access to VA benefits and other services we wouldn’t ordinarily have.
Most of us who served on active duty understand how difficult this lifestyle is and how important military values are in order to maintain honorable service under pressures civilians generally don’t face. It certainly isn’t a lifestyle for everyone and although I served over 24 years active, I never judge anyone who received an early release for any reason.
Today our soldiers face many challenges, long separations from family and friends and multiple deployments overseas to an active combat environment. Newly enlisted soldiers are as young as 18 and still maturing, so these challenges can be extremely difficult even with assignments that do not involve combat.
Sadly, some find themselves in trouble for one reason or another which could put that coveted honorable discharge at risk. Less than honorable service can limit government job opportunities and private sector employers may not look as favorably upon these discharges and when comparing several job applicants of equal experience.
Some VA benefits are also unavailable but the VA may consider “Other Than Honorable” discharges for disability and medical care on a case by case basis.
Often I hear service members were told they can easily get an upgrade when they get out of the service but unfortunately this not always the case. The Board of Correction of Military Records will entertain only those cases where there is an obvious injustice or administrative error and in the end, the burden of proof is on the service member.
I encourage all veterans to contact me if you have questions regardless of your character of service. We will review your personnel records and discuss your options. If you have any honorable service at all during your tour of active duty and were injured during that time, we can request an administrative review of your records through the VA so they may consider your case.
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