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Pentagon Sued Over Failure to Release Discharge Records

Published on June 5th, 2020

If you have a less than honorable discharge from the military, you may have trouble accessing your veterans benefits. Fortunately, you can request that your discharge status be upgraded. Alternatively, you may be able to ask the VA to conduct a character of discharge review. If successful, either of these options can get you access to the benefits you deserve. The discharge review process is so important that a veterans group is now suing the pentagon to improve access to military discharge records.

To succeed, your disability claim application must meet several conditions. In addition to meeting appropriate discharge requirements, you also need a compensable medical condition and you must show that it was caused or made worse by your military service. If you are unable to access your benefits for any of these reasons, Jackson & MacNichol can help you appeal your case. Call us today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation with a veterans benefit lawyer.

The Department of Defense Is Being Sued For Withholding Discharge Records

The National Veterans Legal Services Program has sued the Department of Defense for its failure to release military discharge records that could help non-qualifying veterans receive a discharge upgrade. One of the most common strategies for obtaining a discharge update is to present a discharge record of someone who acted in a similar way as you, but who was granted an honorable discharge.

The only problem is that these discharge records can be hard to come by. Since they contain personal information, they need to be redacted prior to their release. The National Veterans Legal Services Program is claiming that the DoD is dragging its heels in redacting hundreds of thousands of discharge records that should be made available to veterans who want to challenge their own discharge status.

A federal district court judge dismissed the veterans’ case on the grounds that they failed to show a specific instance in which a veteran lost their discharge upgrade case because of these unavailable discharge records. But the judge is asking the impossible, since a veteran would only be able to prove how useful a discharge record would have been to their case if they were able to access it–and that lack of availability is why they are bringing suit in the first place.

The veterans will appeal this decision to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has the power to require the DoD to speed up the redacting process and release of its discharge records backlog. A ruling in favor of the veterans would potentially allow thousands of veterans to successfully challenge their discharge status.

A Veterans Benefit Lawyer Can Help Upgrade Your Discharge Status

More and more discharge upgrade cases are succeeding on the grounds that the behavior that caused the less-than honorable discharge was caused by post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). These conditions can cause significant behavioral changes that may be out of your control, and it is unfair for your benefits to be denied on this basis. If you believe this applies to you, call Jackson & MacNichol today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free case consultation.


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