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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 27117
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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What is a Medical Discharge Chapter 5-17 Does a Chapter

Customer Question

What is a Medical Discharge Chapter 5-17?
Does a Chapter 5-17 discharge qualify for disability payments or coverage after discharge?
Is a Chapter 5-17 Discharge considered a "black mark" on a Veteran's record?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 5 years ago.
I will post the regulation below.

This discharge is typically given for a disability that is not related to service. However, just because the service calls it not qualifying does not necessarily mean the VA will have the same take. The vet can still apply to the VA for treatment and the VA will decide if the condition is service related.


It not a "black mark", its simply a basis for discharge.


Here is the regulation



5–17. Other designated physical or mental conditions
a. Commanders specified in paragraph 1–19 may approve separation under this paragraph on the basis of other
physical or mental conditions not amounting to disability (AR 635–40) and excluding conditions appropriate for
separation processing under paragraph 5–11 or 5–13 that potentially interfere with assignment to or performance of
duty. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to—
(1) Chronic airsickness.
(2) Chronic seasickness.
(3) Enuresis.
(4) Sleepwalking.
(5) Dyslexia.
(6) Severe nightmares.
(7) Claustrophobia.
(8) Other disorders manifesting disturbances of perception, thinking, emotional control or behavior sufficiently
severe that the soldier’s ability to effectively perform military duties is significantly impaired.
b. When a commander determines that a soldier has a physical or mental condition that potentially interferes with
assignment to or performance of duty, the commander will refer the soldier for a medical examination and/or mental
status evaluation in accordance with AR 40–501. Command-directed mental status evaluations will comply with
paragraph 1–32e. A recommendation for separation must be supported by documentation confirming the existence of
the physical or mental condition.
54 AR 635–200 • 6 June 2005
c. Separation processing may not be initiated under this paragraph until the soldier has been counseled formally
concerning deficiencies and has been afforded ample opportunity to overcome those deficiencies as reflected in
appropriate counseling or personnel records. (See para 1–16.)
d. Nothing in this paragraph precludes separation of a soldier having a condition as described in a, above, under any
other provision of this regulation.
e. Prior to involuntary separation under this paragraph, the notification procedure in chapter 2, section I; or the
administrative board procedure in chapter 2, section II, will be utilized.
f. For characterization or description of service, see paragraph 5–1.
g. Commanders specified in paragraph 1–19 are authorized to order separation under this paragraph. See paragraph
1–11 for additional instructions for ARNGUS and USAR soldiers. The criteria in chapter 1, section VII, will govern
whether the soldier will be released from AD or ADT with transfer to the IRR, or discharged.

Unless the reason for separation requires a specific characterization, a soldier being separated for the convenience
of the Government will be awarded a character of service of honorable, under honorable conditions, or an uncharacterized
description of service if in entry-level status.
b. No soldier will be awarded a character of service under honorable conditions under this chapter unless the soldier
is notified of the specific factors in his/her service record that warrant such a characterization, using the notification
procedure. Such characterization is normally inappropriate for soldiers separated under the provisions of paragraphs
5–4, 5–11, 5–12, 5–15, 5–16, or 5–17
Source(s):
AR 635-200




Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the accept button, its the only way I get credit for my work.


P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 27117
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
P. Simmons and other Military Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This seems to be related to mental or psychological conditions. We specifically have a knee injury. Why would the Army offer a Chapter 5-17 discharge for a knee injury?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 5 years ago.
It can be used for physical conditions, note the regulation requires that a Medical Evaluation is required prior to discharge...if that med evaluation confirms, the commander can separate.

The key here is the Army's position is that the injury is not service related.


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Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.