Thousands of soldiers who received less-than-honorable discharges in the past decade could have their discharge status reviewed under a recent lawsuit settlement.
The settlement covers members of the active duty Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard who were discharged between April 17, 2011, and Nov. 17, 2020, under general or other-than-honorable conditions and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress (PTS) or PTS-related conditions related to service at the time of the discharge. The settlement will lead to an automatic review of more than 3,500 so-called “bad paper” discharges, per a Military.com report.
The suit, originally filed by two soldiers but expanded to a class action, alleged the Army gave these soldiers less-than-honorable discharges for behaviors attributable to PTS, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, or other behavioral health conditions. It also alleged soldiers who attempted to upgrade their discharges via the Army Discharge Review Board (ADRB) were denied these upgrades unfairly.
The Army denied these allegations as part of the settlement. The service also must notify soldiers who applied for a discharge upgrade between Oct. 7, 2001, and April 16, 2011, and were denied that they can reapply. In addition to those whose discharges will be reviewed automatically, between 50,000 and 100,000 veterans could request a review, per the Military.com report.
If you fall into the above categories, consult these links for further details and contact information.
- The ADRB website includes links to the settlement and instructions on how to apply for a discharge upgrade.
- Questions about eligibility and details on the case are available at this frequently asked questions page.
- The full class notification document is available here, which includes a summary of settlement terms and details on reapplication rights.
Veterans whose appeals are granted would have access to many benefits unavailable to those with other-than-honorable discharges, to include education benefits and some health care services.
A similar lawsuit relating to “bad paper” discharges issued by the Navy and Marine Corps is ongoing.