The Navy has begun reevaluating discharge upgrade applications of Sailors and Marines who were diagnosed with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, military sexual trauma, and other mental health or behavioral conditions. This reexamination stems from a preliminary settlement that a federal judge approved recently regarding a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that thousands of Sailors and Marines were discharged with other than honorable or general characterizations of service due to behavior connected to conditions like PTSD.
As a result of the pending settlement agreement, discharge-status-upgrade decisions from the Naval Discharge Review Board during the period of March 2, 2012 to the effective date of the settlement will automatically be reviewed in situations where the applicant did not receive an upgrade to honorable discharge and were affected by or displayed evidence of the previously mentioned conditions. Those who fit these criteria will be contacted by the Navy to provide further evidence along with referral information, potentially free legal representation, and medication services. Veterans whose decisions were issued either before March 2, 2012 or dating back to October 7, 2001 are eligible to reapply for an upgrade to an honorable discharge.
This settlement is significant because Veterans with other-than-honorable discharges may be barred from receiving certain benefits available as a result of their discharge status. The settlement does not apply to Veterans who faced uncharacterized bad conduct or dishonorable discharges or dismissals. A similar settlement was reached with the Army in 2020 and a case is currently pending for Veterans who were members of the Air Force.
If you have questions about this updated discharge reevaluation process or any other questions regarding VA disability benefits, please contact the experienced Veterans’ disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly serves Veterans across the United States from their home office in Mobile, Alabama.