Military bureaucracy sometimes makes errors, even when the veterans are glad to have served. Thus, we have a correction of military records.
Errors in service records might influence pay, security clearances, and veterans’ memories. Incorrect documentation can lead to promotions or demotions, counseling, reprimand, dismissal, or court-martial. That’s why for the proper correction of military records, you might need some legal help.
Each military service has a Board for the Review of Discharges (BRD) and BCMR to correct errors. When all else fails, military personnel may turn to these Boards.
These Boards hear appeals from servicemembers with inaccurate military records. These could be bad performance ratings or a Dishonorable Discharge following an unjust court-martial. The Board may revise a court-martial discharge, but not a punitive one.
The Board for Correction of Military Records
The Discharge Review Board and Board for Correction of Military and Naval Records review discharges.
Discharge Review Boards (DRB)
The DRB can change a discharge’s category and justification. They can’t change a discharge to a disabled one or improve General Court Martial discharges. Consulting a credible court martial lawyer here will be the smart move.
DRB applications are due no later than 15 years from the discharge date. First, DRBs consider fairness or justice, then propriety, such as legal error.
Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR)
A DRB cannot modify a military record, but a BCMR will go through the details of your Military records. For a better outcome, perform your military record corrections with the assistance of military defense attorneys as early as possible. It is also required for people who want to apply for early retirement or social security benefits.
Applicants have three years to apply to BCMR/BCNR after discovering a mistake or injustice, with exceptions. BCMR and BCNR require applicants to first attempt other administrative routes.
All military branches have a Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR) that can edit files. Instances of this kind include the following, which are among the most typical:
- Military retirement and medical discharges can be changed back and forth.
- An improved court-martial discharge will happen. A court martial lawyer will know details about it.
- The re-enlistment code must be modified for the service member to re-enlist.
- Put back in place the actual ranks and dates of promotions.
- Analyze and change the verdicts of the Discharge Review Board.
- Command the re-enlistment of a service-disabled veteran.
The DRB has more leeway than the BCMR to revise an honorable, general, or extraordinary court-martial discharge. A service member can apply to either the DRB or the BCMR.
Discharges older than fifteen years are outside the jurisdiction of DRB. In such cases, service members must use BCMR.
Guidelines for Requesting a Correction to Your Record
Federal law permits military department secretaries to address errors or injustices. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard troops may update their service records. By submitting a DD Form 149, a veteran or close relative may request an update to their military file.
A skilled UCMJ attorney can examine a case and find legal and procedural errors in the record. The expert will use legal precedent to rectify the mistake or injustice. They want to provide their client the best chance of succeeding before either Board.
Note that your initial application is your most excellent opportunity to change your history. If you submit several applications, the Board’s assessment criteria will change. Your application and statement must include all the facts and explain why an error or injustice occurred the first time.
Veteran service organizations assist individuals in petitioning for a better discharge. But they won’t help with the paperwork unless you ask.
Veterans who noticed the applicant’s error or unfairness might file concerns to the Boards. An attorney may submit evidence of a veteran’s good conduct (during and after service) and services to society. If this data is presented well, it may sway a Board in a significant way.
A candidate’s work, education, self-improvement, and civic engagement may convince the Board. As soon as you submit information to the BCMR, it will be included in your permanent military record. This is another reason for you to seek legal representation or the help of a court martial lawyer.
Essential Things to Remember Regarding the Correction of Military Records
- If it has been more than three years after an error was identified in a service member’s file, the BCMR is not required to make any corrections.
- There will be circumstances when a late filing will serve the interests of justice. However, boards are usually willing to consider such applications. One way to have the matter heard by the Board is to show that it has merit.
- The applicant may ask the Board to review its decision to deny a request to amend the applicant’s military record. You can only do this once; if it doesn’t work, you will have to take the matter to federal court. A lawyer should be retained in any scenario to manage the appeal.
Vets without an honorable discharge may appeal in several ways. Members may appeal to a discharge review board or a military records board. The details about your discharge will be in your correction of military records.
Below are the types of discharge:
An honorable discharge is the most acceptable kind of release. A veteran is eligible for all federal and state benefits after receiving an honorable discharge.
A general discharge is the second-best. While a veteran receiving a general discharge is still eligible for many military benefits, others, such as those provided by the GI Bill, cannot be claimed.
Other Than Honorable Discharge
Discharge with less than the highest honors is “other than honorable” (OTH). It is given to veterans who breached the law while serving because they couldn’t complete their duties. Some veterans’ benefits may be accessible to people with an OTH discharge, but it’s rare.
Bad Conduct Discharge
Those who repeatedly misbehave while serving in the military are given a poor conduct discharge. Those who were given a dishonorable discharge for serious misconduct are not qualified for most veteran benefits.
The worst possible discharge, a dishonorable discharge, is a severe matter. Those with poor military reviews go to prison following a court martial conviction.
A court martial lawyer will keep you informed on things like how discharged soldiers can’t vote or own firearms. In addition, they are not qualified to receive any veteran’s benefits.
How to Apply for Discharge Improvement?
Include a variety of evidence in your application if you desire a discharge improvement. The applicant’s statement should be thorough and include military documents like:
- Good performance reviews
- Awards and degrees earned
- Testimony from those who served with the applicant
- Military members who can attest to the candidate’s conduct
A military law attorney can a candidate build a convincing case for a discharge upgrade. Any issue about a promotion or dismissal of a service member requires a military law counsel.
If you are ever in need of a military record correction, there is nothing to worry about. The information we’ve gathered is meant to be useful. Make sure to take the advice and help of a legal professional before taking any action.