Apply to board for changes to discharge
I would like to have my dishonorable discharge changed in order to receive VA health care benefits. How do I go about that?
Answer: Each of the military services maintains a discharge review board with authority to change, correct or modify discharges or dismissals not issued by a sentence of a general courts-martial. The board has no authority to address medical discharges. The veteran or, if the veteran is deceased or incompetent, the surviving spouse, next of kin or legal representative may apply for a review of discharge by writing to the military department concerned, using DD form 293, "Application for the Review of Discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States." This form may be obtained at the Honolulu VA regional office, from veterans organizational service officers or online at www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/ infomgt/forms/formsprogram. htm.
However, if the discharge was more than 15 years ago, a veteran must petition the appropriate service Board for Correction of Military Records using DD form 149, "Application for Correction of Military Record Under the Provisions of Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 1552." A discharge review is conducted by a review of an applicant's record and, if requested, by a hearing before the board.
Discharges awarded as a result of a continuous period of unauthorized absence in excess of 180 days make people ineligible for VA benefits regardless of action taken by discharge review boards, unless VA determines there were compelling circumstances for the absence. Boards for the Correction of Military Records also may consider such cases.
Veterans with disabilities incurred or aggravated during active duty may qualify for medical or related benefits regardless of separation and characterization of service. Veterans separated administratively under other than honorable conditions may request that their discharge be reviewed for possible recharacterization, provided they file their appeal within 15 years of the date of separation. Questions regarding the review of a discharge should be addressed to the appropriate discharge review board at the address listed on DOD Form 293.
Additional information can be obtained by calling the VA Honolulu Office at (800) 827-1000.
Q: Must I reapply for health-care benefits in subsequent years and will I receive an enrollment confirmation?
A: If you have previously enrolled, your enrollment will be reviewed annually without any action necessary on your part. Veterans who are required to update their financial information are still required to provide their income information on an annual basis using form VA 10-10EZR.
Depending on your priority group and the availability of funds for VA to provide medical benefits to all enrollees, your enrollment will be automatically renewed without any action on your part. Should there be any change to your enrollment status, you will be notified in writing.
For more information on enrolling for health-care benefits, contact the VA Medical Center at 433-0600.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.