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Navy to Review Thousands of Discharge Upgrade Applications

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Navy to Review Thousands of Discharge Upgrade Applications

The Naval Discharge Review Board will now be reviewing decisions dating back to March 2012.

A recent decision by a federal judge determined that the Navy should reevaluate discharge upgrade applications for sailors and Marines diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, military sexual trauma, and other mental health or related conditions.

The decision stemmed from a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit, originally filed by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic in 2018, Manker v. Del Toro, alleged that thousands of sailors and Marines received other-than-honorable discharges due to behavior connected with the aforementioned conditions.

The Naval Discharge Review Board will now be reviewing decisions spanning from March of 2012 to the date of this settlement. Every applicant that received an other-than-honorable discharge will be reviewed automatically if they might have been affected by conditions related to PTSD, TBI, military sexual trauma, and other mental health issues. These applicants will be eligible for an upgrade to honorable discharge. 

Eligible candidates for a Naval Discharge Review Board review will be contacted by the Navy to provide further evidence, along with referral information.

In addition, those who have applied for upgrades prior to the March 2012 starting point will be able to reapply for an upgrade to honorable, provided that their original decisions were issued on or after October 7th, 2001. Beyond this date, applicants must go to the Board for Correction of Naval Records to reapply.

The recent ruling is significant due to the implications it could have on a given applicant’s benefits eligibility. This could include education, health care, financial assistance, and job training. Veterans with other-than-honorable discharges are denied these benefits. This is an opportunity for thousands to receive what they might rightfully deserve. It should be noted that the ruling does not apply to veterans who faced uncharacterized, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharges or dismissals.

The process for requesting personal appearance hearings will also be revamped to include video-teleconference hearings. This will make it easier for veterans to get in front of the decision-makers if they cannot do so in person. Additionally, there will now be annual training of the members and staff of the Naval Discharge Review Board concerning the review process of sailors or Marines that have evidence related to these conditions.

Do you have any questions about discharge upgrade applications or disability benefits eligibility? Our team is proud to assist veterans with this information. Call us at 855-905-4452 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve New York locations: Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.

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