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When My General Discharge Is Upgraded to Honorable, Will I Be Able to Use My GI BIll Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Ok I’m getting chaptered out under General discharge but it will change to Honorable after six months. Do I still get to keep my GI Bill?

A: There is that nasty untrue rumor popping up again about unfavorable discharges automatically getting upgraded to Honorable after six months. The truth of the matter is you just got screwed out of your GI Bill benefits and your unit didn’t have the guts to tell you, so they used the phony upgrade-in-six-months story.

Actually you never “lost” your GI Bill benefits – you just can’t use them as long as you have a discharge that is anything but fully Honorable.

The only possible chance of your current discharge getting upgraded to Honorable is if you have the supporting evidence and documentation that your current discharge is wrong and you want to pursue an upgrade.

If so, then fill out DD Form 293 and submit it to your military branch’s Discharge Review Board. Just know going in that there isn’t any guarantees and it can take up to a year to reach a decision, but if you can support an upgrade request, it is the only option you have. The Board goes into the proceedings assuming your discharge is correct; it is your job to convince them it isn’t.

You can either just let your DD 293 and supporting documentation do the work for you, or you can either represent yourself personally at the board or hire a lawyer to represent you. Regardless of the outcome, you have to pay for your lawyer yourself.

Only about 41% of the requests actually result in an upgrade to Honorable. Good Luck!

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