The Department of Defense wants to make sure its veterans know they can correct inaccuracies or injustices in their military records, including increasing the layoff, officials at the DOD’s Legal Policy Bureau said.
“Veterans who believe they have suffered an injustice or injustice that warrants a correction of their service record, or who believe that their dismissal was unjust, inaccurate or warranted upgrading, are encouraged to file an application,” said Christa Specht, Director of the Office of Legal Policy.
For example, veterans who have received less-than-honorable layoffs may apply to have their military records changed so long as they provide legitimate additional information for approval by the Board for Correction of Military / Naval Records or their military division’s Discharge Review Board.
In addition, motions to a Military Department review panel alleging a veteran suffered from mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault, or sexual harassment while on duty are made according to a standard of the “Liberal balancing” checked, according to a memorandum dated May 26 by the incumbent Secretary of State for Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
In addition, on February 19, 2021, the department instructed the secretaries of the military departments to identify and investigate the records of any service member who was involuntarily separated, dismissed, or refused to be recalled or continued in accordance with prior administration guidelines to gender identity. The military departments have issued supplementary guidance to their respective military / naval record correction committees to review military records so that individuals who meet current enrollment standards and are otherwise eligible may have the opportunity to rejoin the military.
Panels may also grant discharge on a grace basis, Specht said, noting that those who retired from the military with a less than honorable discharge may still have positive accomplishments or evidence of good behavior to one Provide a review body to support an upgrade. These can be signs of rehabilitation, such as a long professional career, the lack of additional misconduct, character references or evidence of extensive voluntary work.
One incentive for veterans to apply for a top-up on their layoffs is that they can qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits such as the GI Bill and VA Mortgages, said Margarete Ashmore, assistant director of the DOD’s legal department.
How to request a change
Veterans wishing to request discharge upgrades, reviews of previously denied upgrades, or corrections to other military records should complete the appropriate form and return it to their service’s review committee at the address provided on the form. Links to the forms can be found at the end of this article.
- For layoffs less than 15 years ago, veterans should complete DD Form 293.
- For discharges more than 15 years ago or in cases already considered for upgrade and rejected by a Discharge Review Committee of the Military Department, Veterans should fill out DD Form 149.
- Veterans should complete DD Form 149 for corrections to records other than discharges.
If a veteran is unsure how or where to apply for a discharge improvement or correction, the VA, in collaboration with the DOD, provides resources to assist with the application and provide personal directions in response to some questions on the public website can .
Essential Information for Applications Application
Veterans should include the following information:
- Explain why the dismissal or other record was unfair or inaccurate: How is it related to unfair politics, physical or mental health related to military service, or other explainable or justifiable circumstance?
- If necessary, support important facts. For example, if a veteran has a relevant medical diagnosis, it would be helpful to include medical records reflecting that diagnosis.
- Send copies of the appropriate service records.
Specht stressed that the more information a veteran provided, the easier it was for the panels of experts to understand the circumstances of the requested correction.
Personnel records for veterans who served after 1997 should be accessible online and are typically available within hours of a request through the Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (DPRIS). To obtain a DPRIS personnel file, visit the website, select “Individual Veteran Access” on the left and follow the instructions. Veterans must register for access and verify their mailing address before requesting records.
Individuals who served prior to 1997 or for whom electronic records are not available from DPRIS can request their records through the National Personnel File Center of the National Archives eVetRecs website.
For more information, see: