Other Than Honorable Conditions Discharge
This characterization of service is referred to as an “Other Than Honorable” or “OTH” discharge. An OTH is the worst administrative discharge available. It results in a significant loss of military service benefits and may cause hardships in post-service, civilian life.
First, a service-member with an OTH will almost certainly be barred from future enlistment in the armed forces. This is as much a factor of the characterization as it is the RE code.
Second, VA medical benefits are not guaranteed to a service member who receives this discharge. Additionally, an OTH may impact a service member’s employment opportunities even among civilian employers.
Generally, to receive VA benefits and services, the Veteran’s discharge characterization must be one that is not under other than honorable conditions (e.g., honorable, under honorable conditions, general). Often, individuals who receive Other Than Honorable, Bad Conduct or Dishonorable discharges, are barred from all benefits. While the rules for VA medical benefits have been relaxed in recent years to allow individuals with an OTH to receive medical treatment, the exception is narrow.
Can I change my discharge?
Yes. Each branch of the military offers administrative remedies to correct a negative service characterization. The remedies include upgrades to administrative discharges and punitive discharges resulting from a court-martial. There is also the possibility of applying for a medical retirement.
Correcting a service member’s discharge can be confusing because there are various administrative boards, and each has different authorities, time limits and jurisdictional limitations to correct specific information. These different boards also have differing legal standards and evidentiary restrictions that cause further confusion.
Service members are given a limited number of opportunities to appeal to these boards, so it is important to speak to a lawyer well-versed in the nuances of military administrative law to maximize the chance of successfully correcting a service member’s military records.
Will my discharge be upgraded automatically?
Veterans often have been misinformed and assume upgrades can be obtained easily or automatically after six months, neither of which is true. The military will not automatically upgrade your unfavorable discharge after your separation. Service members who do not have an Honorable discharge – and fail to apply for one – are forfeiting the opportunity to access post-service benefits.
To change your Other Than Honorable Discharge.
If you believe you have been discharged from the military unfairly or incorrectly, complete the contact form on this page or call Crisp and Associates, LLC today for a free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys with expertise in military record corrections.