FactsHow To Get A General Discharge From The Army

How To Get A General Discharge From The Army


List Of The Cons Of A General Discharge


1. It prevents future service. Individuals who receive a General Discharge, Under Honorable Conditions are not allowed to re-enlist once the dismissal has been completed. The discharge type prevents individuals from entering a different service of the armed forces as well. Receiving this discharge virtually guarantees life as a civilian from the moment is has been completed.

2. It is often viewed as a dishonorable discharge. People who are not aware of the various discharge types often view any discharge type that is not an Honorable Discharge as a Dishonorable Discharge. Because the latter type is reserved for severe violations of military code, including criminal conduct such as domestic violence or sexual assault, receiving a General Discharge, Under Honorable Conditions can make people think youre a bad person. It is a misconception, but for many people, their perception becomes reality.

3. Minor issues can create this discharge type. Something minor can be enough to trigger a General Discharge, Under Honorable Conditions instead of an Honorable Discharge. A Chapter 13 for failing to attend a specific responsibility, being overweight, or being under-strength are three common reasons for this administrative discharge to be used. The conditions are still viewed as being honorable, but the discharge type is reflective of evidence that one could not fulfill their complete obligation to the military.

Discharge Review Board Hearing

On your application, you have a choice about whether to ask for a DRB hearing or ask the DRB to make a decision based on your application. If you ask the DRB to just review your records without a hearing, and they deny your application, you can then submit a request for a hearing. This gives you two chances to get a favorable decision.

Sometimes it helps to present yourself at a hearing where you may be able to establish a personal rapport with the DRB. However, hearings often take place in Washington, D.C. and you will not be reimbursed for any of your expenses.

A disability lawyer may be able to help you decide which course of action is best for you.

A List Of Military Discharges

  • Honorable Discharge
  • General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions
  • Other Than Honorable Discharge
  • Bad Conduct discharge
  • Dishonorable Discharge
  • Medical Separation

Branches of the United States military may have terms for these discharges that are unique to that service, whether used formally or informally.

In the Air Force, for example, the Administrative Separation process for military discharges that do not require a court-martial is sometimes referred to shorthand-style as an Admin Sep. Some may refer to entry-level separations as Basic Training separations or a Basic Training discharge.

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How To Apply To A Discharge Review Board

Discharge Review Board. Complete an Application for Review of Discharge From the Armed Services of the United States. You can complete it online, or get it from a local Department of Defense installation or the regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs . Either submit the application online or mail it to the address below for your branch of the service. Be very thorough in your application about all the reasons you believe you are entitled to an upgrade. Any issues you neglect to list will not be considered by the board, even if you or your lawyer raise them later on.


Attn: Office of Military PersonnelUS Coast Guard2100 2nd Street S.W., Stop 7801Washington, DC 20593-7801

Miscellaneous Types Of Military Discharge

Military discharge

Although rarely used, you may find yourself subject to a military discharge for the convenience of the government. The branch of service involved with this type of military discharge determines what constitutes grounds for dismissal and completes the action as discretely as possible.

If you receive a medical discharge, it means that you have an illness or injury significant enough to prevent you from completing your military service. The disabling condition need not be related to military service. Medical discharges from military service are often long and complex. You may or may not have the ability to appeal a medical discharge decision depending on several factors unique to your branch of service.

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Can I Get Disability Compensation Or Other Benefits From Va

You can’t get compensation for the traumatic event itself. But you may be able to get disability compensation for conditions resulting from MSTlike PTSD .

Or get help applying for disability compensation by:

  • Reading our fact sheet on disability compensation for conditions related to MST.
  • Talking to the MST coordinator at your nearest VA regional office. Find an MST coordinator near you

Can A Person Contest The Type Of Discharge They Received

There is a process that allows veterans to appeal their discharge status in the hope of having it upgraded to an honorable discharge. This is through the Discharge Review Board. Every branch of the military has its own Discharge Review Board. The petitioning veteran must compile evidence, document the reasons for upgrading the discharge, and submit an application packet to the review board. Nothing is automatic. The veteran must support their case and explain why the current discharge is unjust.

There are some specific instances where special consideration is warranted toward upgrading the discharge. Perhaps, the veteran can show evidence of PTSD being a factor in the disruptive or criminal behavior that resulted in the unfavorable discharge. There have been instances where the victim of a sexual assault experienced PTSD that ended in unfavorable discharge that have been contested.

Discharges related to sexual orientation are also considered. Since World War II, over 100,000 service members had been discharged for their sexual orientation. When Dont Ask, Dont Tell was repealed in 2011, the Secretary of Defense directed all the Military Discharge Review Boards to consider cases where the discharge was less than honorable because of sexual orientation. Since that time, many LBGT veterans have applied and had their discharges upgraded to honorable. Upgrade packets and instructions are available on Vets.gov –

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Is An Other Than Honorable Discharge Considered Bad

An Other Than Honorable discharge is administrative in nature but does come with some restrictions on veterans benefits.

It is the most serious type of administrative discharge.

While it may not come with jail or prison time, it is considered bad within the military and may be viewed similarly by potential employers.

Because it is often the result of misconduct on the part of the service member, they should be prepared to explain what led to their separation from the military under an Other Than Honorable discharge.

This is particularly true for federal employment, as potential employers will ask for their DD-214.

What Are The Benefits Of An Honorable Discharge

How I upgraded my military discharge from General to Honerable and changed the narrative reason.

Those who separate or retire under an honorable discharge will receive all of the benefits available to veterans.

Depending on their length of service, this can include retirement pay, GI bill benefits, medical and dental coverage, and home loan assistance.

Other benefits include disability compensation , employment assistance, and federal hiring preferences.

There are also numerous private organizations that offer assistance to veterans with an honorable discharge.

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Can Veterans Get Medical Discharge Benefits When Medically Discharged From The Military

If youre dealing with a military medical discharge, you might think that could prevent you from receiving an honorable discharge. You might also believe that you wont be entitled to any VA benefits. But despite the myths and rumors you may have heard about a military medical discharge, youve earned your veterans benefits even if you suffered medical injuries or an illness while on active dutyno matter how long you served.

In this blog, were going to answer questions about medical discharge benefitswhat VA benefits and compensation youre entitled to, and how you can apply for them while still on active duty or after youve been medically discharged.


Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced Team Member. Learn what youve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation youve earned for your service.

Some Veterans Are Able To Access Va Benefits Immediately People With Honorable And General Discharges Are Typically Able To Access Va Benefits Without A Problem If You Have A Different Discharge Characterization Other Than Honorable Undesirable Or Bad Conduct Then It Will Be Harder But It Might Be Possible

This guide will show you how.

There is a lot of bad information about this topic. You may have heard from your chain of command, from other veterans, or even from VA employees, that your discharge makes you ineligible for VA benefits. You may have been told that the only way to get eligibility for VA services is to get a discharge upgrade from the military. For most people, this just isnât true.

The truth is that many people with âbad paperâ might be able to receive most VA benefits, even without a discharge upgrade. The VA is allowed to grant eligibility to most people in this situation, for all benefits except the GI Bill. This happens if the VA looks at your overall service and decides that it wasnât âunder dishonorable conditions.â This is called a Character of Discharge review. This doesnât change your discharge , it just changes how the VA treats you. But most people donât ever receive a Character of Discharge review because they donât ask the right way.

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How Do You Get A Dishonorable Discharge

A dishonorable discharge is given in the most serious circumstances. It is another type of punitive discharge, meaning that it is the result of misconduct of the military member.

Examples of crimes that warrant a dishonorable discharge include:

  • Murder

A dishonorable discharge is given after a General Court-Martial.

I’ve Heard That If I Go Awol And Wait 30 Days Then I Can Turn Myself In And Get A Quick Discharge Is That True

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It’s not easy to say what is true about going AWOL in general, because each case depends on a number of factors and the situation keeps changing, but the majority of rumors we have heard are either not true or they only apply to people in a special category. To find out what might be true in your case call the GI Rights Hotline . Our counselors keep up with the latest information about the consequences of going AWOL .

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How Do I Prepare For A Military Medical Discharge

There are things you can do before youre discharged to make sure that you can get all of the veterans benefits that you are entitled to.

Follow these steps to make your claim as easy and as timely as possible:

1. Get multiple copies of your DD-214 and make sure that you have the proper discharge code upon medical separation.

2. Make sure to have your active duty medical records electronically copied before separation.

3. Make any and all appointments to see medical professionals as needed, and have them document any injuries, illness, and mental illness.

4. Check with your admin or pay office to see what military medical discharge you may be entitled to, and if you are eligible to be medically retired.

5. Attend the Transition Assistance Program . This program provides you with information, resources, and tools you and your loved ones may use to help prepare for the move from military to civilian life. You can begin TAP one year prior to separation or two years prior to retiring.

6. Make sure right before transitioning out of the military that you enter the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program. This way, you can apply for disability benefits before separation.

7. Maintain and keep a positive mindset for the new chapter youre about to embark onbecoming a civilian again.

What Is An Other Than Honorable Discharge

An Other Than Honorable Discharge is not as favorable.

Typically, this type of discharge means you struggled to meet expectations for conduct and performance and show a pattern of behavior that is not in line with a service members expectations.

Generally, this administrative discharge is due to the following problems:

  • Abuse of power
  • A pattern of continued abuse of power or misconduct
  • Fraternization

To receive VA benefits, the character of your discharge matters.

If you have a general discharge, you qualify for several benefits.

VA Compensation benefits include disability, dependency and indemnity compensation, and special monthly compensation.

Also, those with this type of discharge qualify for a pension, home loan, and insurance benefits.

Although, if you want education benefits, you must have an honorable discharge.

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Regulatory Bars To Benefits

In addition to the statutory bars, there are also regulatory bars found under 38 CFR § 3.12. Individuals character of discharge is considered to have been issued under dishonorable conditions if they were released under any of the following circumstances:

  • Acceptance of an undesirable discharge to escape trial by general court-martial
  • Mutiny or spying
  • An offense involving moral turpitude
  • Willful and persistent misconduct, or
  • Homosexual acts involving aggravating circumstances or factors affecting the performance of duty (e.g., child molestation, homosexual prostitution, homosexual acts or conduct accompanied by coercion or assault, and homosexual acts or conduct when a service member has taken advantage of his or her superior rank, grade, or status

Military Discharge And Veterans Benefits


The most resonating consequence of a military discharge is its effect on veterans benefits. Basically, anything other than an honorable or general discharge puts Department of Veterans Affairs benefits at risk. The VA says that most veterans with discharges that are not “honorable” are usually not eligible for some, if not all veterans benefits.

Eligibility to VA benefits based on type of discharge:

  • Medical Benefits — Only veterans with anything other than a dishonorable discharge are eligible for VA health care.
  • Disability Compensation — Only veterans with anything other than a dishonorable discharge are eligible..
  • GI Bill — The Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill require an honorable or general discharge all other education benefits require an “other than dishonorable” discharge.
  • Home Loan — Only those with anything other than a dishonorable discharge are eligible.

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What Is An Other

The VA uses the term “other than dishonorable” in determining eligibility to benefits however, that is not a type of discharge that is issued by the Defense Department. Specifically, the BCD and dishonorable discharges are the only types that can be considered dishonorable..

The law that governs veterans benefits specifically says anyone with an other-than-honorable discharge or worse is not legally considered a veteran by the federal government. Since they aren’t considered veterans, they aren’t eligible for any veterans benefits. This applies to all federal and many state benefits.

Related: State Veterans Benefits

Service members being separated with an “other than honorable” discharge must be informed in writing that they may ask the VA to review their service record to determine eligibility for veteran’s benefits.

The VA will review the member’s service record to determine the specific cause for the discharge. There are some crimes, like desertion or spying that are permanent bars to benefits,

When a veteran with a less-than-honorable discharge applies for benefits or requests a review, the VA will examine the service information and make a character of discharge determination. If the VA makes a positive determination, the veteran becomes eligible for benefits. If there is a negative determination, the veteran may request to have their discharge changed by the military.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is The Military Wallet’s founder. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over six years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the Illinois Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan’s writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine , Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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Changing Upgrading Military Discharge Status

Again, a character of service determination is what VA is going to consider when determining whether you are eligible to receive benefits or not. However, many people want to actually change the discharge status itself. There are two bodies that you can do this with depending on your case: the Discharge Review Board or the Board of Corrections of Military Records. Each has different jurisdictional limitations of what they can look at:

How Do I Access Va Services For Mst

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If you’re a Veteran who has experienced MST, you can get help through VA. You don’t need to have a service-connected disability rating, and you may be able to get MST-related care even if you don’t qualify for other VA services. You also don’t need to have reported the MST or have other proof that it happened.

Here’s how to access VA services for MST:

You can also call the VA general information hotline at 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

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