As the following June 22, 2015 news article documents, Vietnam veteran Conley Monk’s discharge was upgraded from a Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharge to a General Under Honorable Condition (General) by the Board for Correction of Naval Records [hereinafter “BCNR”]. It appears four other Vietnam veterans were granted similar upgrades. The article can be accessed at Hartford Courant.
As we have previously blogged about, Mr. Monk is represented by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Clinic in relation to a variety of both administrative and judicial actions. Mr. Monk was denied veteran benefits under Title 38, and successful resolution of his application for upgrade of discharge before the BCNR was one predicate for “veteran” status before the Department of Veterans Affairs.
What’s next for Mr. Monk? His claim for VA disability compensation was previously denied and subject to appeal. The Yale Law Clinic filed a writ of mandamus before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), asserting delay in processing appeals. I can guarantee that the Yale Veterans Clinic will immediately file copy of the BCNR decision before the VA. Under 38 C.F.R. § 3.12(e), the BCNR decision is “final and conclusive on the Department of Veterans Affairs” and will remove any statutory or regulatory bars to benefits under Title 38. If so and the VA acts quickly, the Yale Veterans Clinic can withdraw its petition under the All Writs Act, Mr. Monk can obtain the status and compensation he long fought to obtain, and Yale Veterans Clinic can continue its good work on behalf of other veterans.