Will The Military Automatically Upgrade My Discharge?

Are you worried about your dishonorable discharge from the military? Don’t worry! It is not impossible to get the bad paper discharge upgraded. The upgrades may help you find civilian employment. However, many employers are hesitant to hire people with dishonorable discharges on their records. So, it is important for you to apply for an upgrade.

But before you apply for an upgrade, it’s essential to understand what your options are. Also, how to go about applying an upgrade request. This ultimate guide will give you all the information about military discharge upgrades to get started on the right foot.

What are Military Discharges?

A military discharge is a service sentence in the United States Armed Forces. You are discharged when released from active or reserve duty or leave an active-duty Reserve Corps. The military will permanently remove the type of discharge that most accurately reflects your service time.  

You could request an upgrade to something other than honorable if mitigating circumstances were during your time on active duty. 

The upgradation decision will be made by a Court Martial Lawyer or UCMJ Attorney and needs to be reviewed before it’s submitted to the Judge Advocate General’s Office for consideration.

Types of Military Discharges

There are many reasons military members might need to upgrade their discharge. Some of these include converting a dishonorable discharge to honorable and upgrading a bad conduct discharge. 

All these things would require applying for a Military Discharge Upgrades and then awaiting approval from your branch of service. However, the most common types of discharge are:

1. Honorable Discharge

An honorable discharge is granted to service members who have received no disciplinary action and have sufficiently fulfilled their contractual obligations. An honorable discharge can be awarded in place of general or under honorable conditions. It may also impact your ability to receive benefits for medical care.

2. Under Honourable Conditions 

You may not qualify for some VA benefits if you are discharged under honorable conditions but with limitations. If this applies to you and you want to find out more about your options. Speak with a Court Martial Lawyer or UCMJ Attorney before taking other steps.

3. Other Than Honourable (OTH)

If you are given an Other Than Honourable discharge from the military. You may be eligible for a variety of social security benefits. In addition to claiming veteran status and receiving benefits from VA hospitals. An OTH discharge can make your job prospects less favorable in some cases. 

4. Bad-Conduct, Dishonourable, or Dismissals

These discharges will affect your getting into specific career fields. For example, if you had a bad-conduct discharge, the Department of Defence (DoD) will only allow civilian employment opportunities related to security guards or law enforcement. 

The same goes for dishonorable or dismissal discharges where it’s possible you could only get jobs as civilians as far away from firearms as possible. 

5. Uncharacterized/Entry-Level Separation

If you’re discharged as an uncharacterized entry-level separation, you’ll not be able to claim veteran status. However, you will still be eligible for some Social Security Benefits such as Disability Insurance and Medicare Part A after 24 months of living outside the United States.

Social Security Benefits for Military

You may wonder if you’re eligible for social security benefits if you’re a military member. The answer is yes. Social security benefits are available to military members just like anyone else.

There are a few things to remember regarding military members’ social security benefits. 

  • First, your benefits will be based on your earnings history. If you have a long military career, you may have high earnings and, thus, higher benefits. 
  • Second, if you’re receiving a pension from the military, this may affect the number of your social security benefits.

Why Upgrade My Discharge?

The military offers several reasons why someone might want to upgrade their discharge. The first and most obvious reason is to improve your employment prospects. A better discharge means you will have an easier time finding a job, especially if you’re looking for a career in the civilian world that requires a security clearance. 

Another reason to upgrade your discharge is to improve your benefits. Veterans with higher discharges are eligible for more healthcare and education benefits. 

Finally, upgrading your discharge can be a way of putting the past behind you. If you had a less-than-honorable discharge, upgrading it can help you move on from that part of your life and start fresh.

What is the Procedure for Obtaining an Upgrade?

If you think your military discharge was wrong or unfair, you can try to get it upgraded. The process for upgrading a discharge is long and complicated, and success is far from guaranteed. Still, it’s worth pursuing if you believe you were treated unjustly.

The first step is to contact your branch of the service and request an upgrade review board hearing. You’ll need to provide evidence that your discharge was improper. The review board will then decide whether or not to grant you a hearing.

If the review board decides in your favor, you’ll be given a chance to present your case before a panel of military officers. You can bring witnesses and evidence to support your claim. The conference will then recommend to the relevant authority, who will ultimately decide whether or not to upgrade your discharge.

The whole process can take months or even years, so patience is essential. It’s also important to note that there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed in upgrading your discharge. Still, it’s worth pursuing if you believe you were mistreated.

Can a Military Discharge Be Upgraded?

If you were given a less than honorable discharge from the military, you might be wondering if there’s any way to get that upgraded. The good news is that it is possible to get your discharge upgraded. But the process can be complicated, and upgrading it to an honorable discharge may not be possible. However, it’s worth looking into it and seeing if it’s possible for you.


The military will not automatically upgrade your discharge, and it is up to you to request the upgrade. Many factors contribute to your eligibility, including the reason for discharge, length of service, the character of service, and contributions in combat zones. And any other circumstances such as financial hardships or honorable conduct.