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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 19090
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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I also received a discharge of 2B. I signed up years and

Customer Question

I also received a discharge of 2B. I signed up for 6 years and only did 4. As a result, I lost my GI Bill. I would like to get an upgrade so that I can receive my GI Bill for school. How do I write an appropriate letter to the board?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

You have to understand that this is exceptionally hard to do. Upgrades are not about telling a good story or making a compelling plea. To upgrade a discharge, though either the discharge upgrade board or the military records corrections board, you have to show that the discharge status that you received was given in error (meaning they made a mistake and wrote it down wrong) or it was an injustice at the time you got it.

Arguments about the difficulty of not getting the GI bill or about the positive route your life has taken since leaving the military are legally irrelevant. I think that soldiers are often told that they can get these upgraded fairly easily and that is just false. You have to have the right facts to even be considered for an upgrade and then you have to catch the right board (because the members change) willing to give that upgrade. Otherwise, these are not intended to be upgraded ever, as a natural process. There has to be some fact (which you haven't mentioned to this point) which will suggest that you shouldn't have gotten the General discharge.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would the documentation of exemplary work in my first two years, and the documentation of going through divorce, medical treatment for cervical dysphasia, bipolar diagnosis, alcohol treatment, and medication changes in my last two years, help to explain why I believe it was an injustice at the time? I also don't have documentation of the conversation, but I spoke to our unit commander prior to discharge and was given a choice to get out with an honorable discharge. I chose to get out and then they changed my discharge papers when it was time to sign. The medication I was placed on by the hospital made me tired and agreeable. As such, I agreed to sign. Would any of that help, or am I barking up the wrong tree?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The former service history is helpful, but not really something that would decide the issue. It'd just make them more interested in helping you.

The facts concerning your situation at that time, testimony about your conversation with the command, the changing of the discharge at the last minute and you're being on medication could certainly call into question the validity of the separation itself if it required your consent.

Again though, it would come down to whether or not the command had a reasonable basis to call it a General. There would have needed to be some underlying facts that would allow that characterization.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The information you're providing me is vague. I realize that you are not looking at my specific paperwork, but is there someone you can direct me to that can help me specifically?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry, but the information directly relates to the specificity of your questions, which are also vague. You asked about getting a discharge upgraded, a very general question, and as such received a very general response. When you got more specific, I got more specific. Law is a conversation, meaning I need to know what you want to give it to you because giving you too much, or information in the wrong direction of your interest, is just as useless as too much. Without more specific facts, I can't give you more specific responses and that is true with my face to face clients as well.

If you want an attorney to actually do this paperwork for you, I can't specifically recommend a person. I am not allowed to advertise for attorneys here. However, I would call your local state bar association and ask them for attorneys from their military law section. At least a few attorneys in the area used to be JAG's (most likely) and can assist. You can also try www.martindale.com, which can provide peer reviews for local attorneys and you can search by specialty area.

I am also very willing to answer more specific questions if you have them. I just can't be more specific without facts. Your case here will lean heavily on the facts...what led up to the General discharge, just how much stress you were under (can a doctor state you were not competent to make decisions?), etc. and no attorney can discern the strength of your case based on a few sentences.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.

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