On the heels of DoD Secretary Hagel and DA Secretary McHugh’s recent guidance concerning applications for discharge upgrades when there is an underlying issue concerning post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Army Review Boards Agency (ARBA) has launched a new website devoted to the issue. The webpage can be accessed at ARBA Discharge Upgrade/PTSD.
The above webpage explains both how to apply for an upgrade of discharge and how ARBA (Army Board of Correction of Military Records and Army Discharge Review Board) will apply the “liberal” consideration when there is evidence that PTSD may have caused the underlying misconduct.
The ARBA webpage explains that the “liberal” consideration will only apply to veterans who received an other than honorable (OTH) discharge. As I commented in a prior blog (accessible at http://blog.finkrosnerershow-levenberg.com/va-benefits-news/sec-hagels-guidance-bcmnr-ptsd/), it was unclear to me whether Secretary Hagel’s September 3, 2014 guidance was directed exclusively towards OTH discharges or more broadly towards any unfavorable discharge. Certain language in the September 3, 2014 guidance clearly referenced “punitive” legal actions, however other language appeared to limit the guidance to OTH discharges.
If ARBA is limiting “liberal” consideration for exclusively OTH discharges, than this guidance would not apply to General (Under Honorable Condition), which is a less onerous form of administrative discharge than an OTH, and punitive judicial discharges (to include bad-conduct discharges (BCD)). I look forward to seeing guidance from the other service branches to see if Secretary Hagel’s guidance is interpreted consistently throughout all branches.