There are plenty of reasons why members of the military want an honorable discharge.
Society recognizes military service as respectable and of high-esteem, and an honorable discharge is the final piece of the military journey that says, "this person served with distinction." Receiving anything other than honorable discharge can damage a veteran's character and employability.
U.S. Army JAG Corps veteran Jonathan Crisp, an experienced military trial attorney and founder of Crisp and Associates, says that skeptics believe a veteran only wants to change their discharge status to collect health benefits. "Although options such as the GI Bill, access to Veteran Affairs hospitals, and the VA Home Loan program are certainly attractive benefits, there are deeper and more meaningful reasons for pursuing a discharge upgrade," Crisp says.
Most often, the veteran wants to reclaim their integrity and good name. Whether the military member was released with General Discharge, Under Honorable Conditions Discharge, Other than Honorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge, or Dishonorable Discharge, applying for a discharge upgrade is possible.
"When speaking with veterans, we are constantly hearing about how their unfavorable discharge has caused them to be prejudiced and looked down upon, and the veteran has decided to pursue the discharge upgrade so they can restore their honor and be able to speak proudly of their military service," Crisp says.
Plus, receiving an unfavorable discharge leaves the veteran without important recognition upon their death. This means the veteran is not eligible for meaningful gestures like being buried with military honors in a specific area of a cemetery reserved for veterans, having a flag placed on their grave, and having our country's flag folded neatly into a triangle and presented to their surviving family members.
An "urban legend" leads many veterans to believe that the military will automatically upgrade their discharge after six months, says Lieutenant Colonel Davis Younts, a trial attorney at Crisp and Associates. "It's untrue," Younts says. "You have to apply for an upgrade on your own."
And when applying for the update, it's crucial that you enlist the help of a professional.
"Statistically, less than 10 percent of veterans who apply for a discharge upgrade are successful in that effort," Younts says. "So, I think getting an attorney involved in that process is really, really important because you want to be part of that successful 10 percent.
And having an attorney that understands the process, knows the military process, and knows what they're looking for and knows the arguments that have been successful in the past, I think is critical."
Before a veteran accepts that they will not be entitled to the benefits and recognition they have earned, they need to speak with an attorney to discuss all options to regain their honor and restore their good name.
If you're a veteran who's interested in applying for a discharge upgrade, schedule a consultation with the military attorneys at Crisp and Associates by calling 888-835-7446 or visiting www.mymilitarylawyers.com.