The secretary of a military branch, acting through a board for correction of military records (BCMR), has authority to change any military record when necessary to correct an error or remove an injustice. A correction board may consider applications for the following:
- change reenlistment codes
- upgrade a discharge
- change your discharge to or from military retirement or medical discharge
- make other changes to military records
- review a Discharge Review Board decision, and
- reinstate a veteran into the military (this is hardly ever done).
Basically, BCMRs can do anything to alter your records except overturn a general court-martial conviction.
The veteran, survivor or legal representative generally must file a request for correction within three years after the discovery of an alleged error or injustice. The board may and often does excuse failure to file within the prescribed time, however, if it finds it would be in the interest of justice to do so. It is an applicant’s responsibility to show why the filing of the application was delayed and why it would be in the interest of justice for the board to consider it despite the delay.
How to Apply to Your BCMR
To justify any correction, it is necessary to show to the satisfaction of the board that the alleged entry or omission in the records was in error or unjust. Applications should include all available evidence, supporting the requested correction. Many requests for a record correction are denied based on a finding that there was not sufficient evidence to support the correction. Before requesting a records correction you should consider speaking with an experienced attorney who understands the legal requirements and applicable laws and regulation.
The Department of Defense recognizes that many veterans have been discharged unjustly or inappropriately. According to a press release, “The department is reviewing and consolidating all of the related policies to reinforce the department’s commitment to ensuring fair and equitable review of separations for all veterans.” If you believe you have been discharged from the military unfairly or incorrectly, call Crisp and Associates Military Law today to speak with one of our attorneys with expertise in records correction.