I served in the military but received a less than honorable discharge, and I feel that my character of discharge was unfair. What can I do?

You have a few options. You may want to consider finding someone to advocate on your behalf, depending on the complexity of your case, such as a Veterans Service Organization (VSO). VSOs can collect and submit supporting documents for you at no charge. Find a County VSO in your area or you can call a lawyer for help.

Traditional Route: Discharge Upgrade

The strongest cases for discharge upgrade are those where you can show your discharge connects to any of these categories:

  • Mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Sexual assault or harassment during military service (at VA, this is called military sexual trauma or MST)
  • Sexual orientation (including under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy)

If none of the above apply to you, you are still entitled to apply for a Discharge Upgrade.

Another Option: Character of Discharge Review

Even with a less than honorable discharge, you may be able to access some VA benefits through the Character of Discharge review process.

When you apply for VA benefits, the VA will review your record to determine if your service was “honorable for VA purposes.” This review can take up to a year. You will need to provide the VA with documents supporting your case, the same way you would for a discharge upgrade.

Are you a Hillsborough County renter having housing problems? Help is available!

The Hillsborough County Housing Stability Program provides Hillsborough tenants the knowledge, resources, and services to effectively, efficiently, and amicably solve their disputes with their landlords outside the court system.

Man on porch

The Legal Information Center is a free program to provide information to people who are representing themselves in Family Law cases in Hillsborough County. Get the information you need to make an informed decision about your case.

Legal Information Center

Apply for Services

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

How do I apply? Am I eligible?