Discharge Issues

Information on Upgrading or Changing Military Discharge

For veterans who have served in uniform and received a less than honorable discharge, the impact on their post-service lives can be dramatic. While the process is not simple and the results not guaranteed, there is a way to appeal the discharge classification.

All veterans are eligible to apply to the Discharge Review Board for an upgrade of their discharge characterization or a change of the reason given for their discharge. To receive a discharge upgrade or a change in the discharge reason, an individual must prove to the appropriate Discharge Review Board that his or her discharge reason or characterization was “inequitable” or “improper.”

Inequitable means the reason or characterization of the discharge is not consistent with the policies and traditions of the service.

Improper means that the reason or characterization of the discharge is in error (i.e., is false, or violates a regulation or law).

The following sites, provide information on changing, correcting, or modifying discharges or dismissals.


Resources for Discharge Upgrade

San Diego County Veterans Services
Oceanside: 1300 Rancho del Oro,
Oceanside, CA 92056:
(760) 643-2049
San Diego: 5560 Overland Avenue, Suite 310,
San Diego, CA 92123:
(858) 694-3222

Offers assistance in filing for numerous benefits, including discharge upgrades and correction of military records.

Swords to Plowshares
1060 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-4788

Swords’ Legal Team is unique in that it provides attorney representation and consultation to veterans of any era and discharge status. Swords is one of the few organizations in the country that provides free attorney representation in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and military discharge upgrade cases.

Army Discharge Review Board
1901 South Bell Street 2nd Floor
Arlington, VA 22202

Reviews discharges of former soldiers. Purpose of the review is to determine if the discharge was granted in a proper manner, i.e. in accordance with regulatory procedures in effect at the time, and that it was equitable, i.e. giving consideration to current policy, mitigating facts, and the total record.

Navy/Marine Corps Discharge Review Board
Secretary of the Navy, Council of Review Boards
ATTN: Naval Discharge Review Board
720 Kennon Ave S.E., Suite 309
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5023
(202) 685-6600

Determines whether discharges were granted in a proper manner, and whether the discharge was fair and equitable considering the regulations in effect at the time of discharge.

Air Force Discharge Review Board
1535 Command Drive, EE Wing, 3rd Floor
Andrews AFB, MD 20762
(240) 857-6044

Reviews applicant’s administrative discharges based on standards of equity, propriety and/or to change the reason for discharge.

Coast Guard Board for Correction of Military Records
245 Murray Lane
Washington, DC 20528
(202) 447-4099

Review and corrects the personnel records of current and former members of the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve. Such records include, but are not limited to, records regarding discharges, reenlistment codes, disciplinary matters, performance evaluations, selection for promotion, advancement, retirement, dates of service, disability ratings, medals, and various bonuses and benefits.