The military demands a lot from its members and is known for requiring a lot of physical and mental toughness. But unfortunately, the military also exposes many of its members to tough practices and traumatic combat situations resulting in serious mental struggles.
For years, the Army has served many of its members other-than-honorable (bad paper) discharges or demotions due to psychiatric illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brain injury, or trauma due to sexual assault.
In 2016, the Department of Defense announced that it would try to increase awareness that veterans could request a review and an upgrade of their discharges. However, it was still subsequently accused of failing to adhere to its own new policy, instead of ignoring it altogether.
Reaching a Settlement
In January, due to a class-action lawsuit that began in 2018, the Army announced that it would review all other-than-honorable discharges that have occurred since April 17, 2011, for eligible service members. This includes about 3,500 troops. Under the settlement that was reached, the Army agreed to notify soldiers who received other-than-honorable discharges.
Also under the settlement, the Army will increase training for members of the Army Discharge Review Board and allow for soldiers to attend their review board hearings by phone to argue their cases, rather than only in person.
In an effort to ensure the court that the Army is adhering to these new policies it also agreed to update the court every six months concerning the number of cases that have been reconsidered and decided as well as the numbers surrounding new hearings by telephone.
Bad Paper Discharges Negatively Impact Soldiers’ Future
Other-than-honorable discharges, commonly referred to as “bad paper” discharges, affect more than just soldiers’ pride. They actually limit veterans’ ability to access VA benefits. This includes everything from education benefits and disability compensation to medical services. Without the ability to receive adequate medical care, those already suffering from psychiatric illnesses will only continue to struggle further.
Additionally, bad paper discharges can impact a veteran’s long-term earning power since their bad paper discharge may discourage employers from hiring them.
A similar case has been filed against the Navy for the decisions of the Navy Discharge Review Board, which also oversees discharges for the Marine Corps.
The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Received Other-than-Honorable Discharges
Unfortunately, many military veterans have wrongfully received an other-than-honorable discharge. Since this can have such a negative impact on your life, it’s important that those who believe that they have wrongfully received their bad paper discharge take action to request a review and an upgrade of such. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible.
Though there are no guarantees as to how your case will turn out, hiring a qualified military attorney can be your best chance for upgrading your discharge.
If you are a military service member and have wrongfully received a bad paper discharge, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!