Military Discharge Upgrade: Quick Tips

Folks ask me frequently, “how can I upgrade my discharge?” or “will my discharge be upgraded automatically?”  The answer is: no and it takes hard work, it will not be upgraded unless you demonstrate why you deserve it. Here are my quick tips:

  1. Prove your case: Do not simply send in a DD Form 293 and hope for the best. It is on the Veteran to demonstrate the error, injustice or inequity. Gather up statements, military records, or any evidence that supports your case. The board presumes regularity of your discharge so it is on you to prove otherwise.
  2. Seek Representation: Many service organizations provide this service for free!! You, of course, can hire a lawyer as well. You should first seek free help because your issue may be straight forward. Maybe if your issue is more complicated you might need to pay an attorney. Always try a service organization first.
  3. Check the rules: Each service provides the rules and guidance online. It helps to show the board that you took the time to read the rules and provided only relevant information.
  4. Only ask the board for what it can approve. A discharge review board has limitations. For example, a discharge review board cannot return you to Active Duty. It has substantial powers so be sure to check the board’s website before applying.
  5. For more information: Click on the following links below.


Navy and Marine Corps:

Air Force:

Coast Guard:

Each service website provides extensive information.  Good luck and thank you for your service!



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