Discharge Upgrade Program, Sponsored by DAV Charitable Service Trust

The Veterans Consortium's Discharge Upgrade Program provides free nationwide legal representation to veterans with Other Than Honorable discharges due to conduct related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other mental health conditions.

What is an Other Than Honorable discharge?
An Other Than Honorable discharge means the veteran was separated under conditions less than honorable. This discharge characterization deprives veterans of VA benefits, including physical and mental health treatment; limits their job prospects; damages reputations; and destroys self–esteem. PTSD, MST and TBI resulting from military service should not preclude veterans from receiving the care, benefits, and respect they deserve.

Why are attorneys necessary?
Professional legal representation is key as these veterans persuade Department of Defense boards to remedy the injustice. Pro bono attorneys will assist with the discharge upgrade applications to secure benefits eligibility for the veterans and restore dignity to our country’s warriors.

What does the training consist of?
The training can include either an e-learning or a 2-hour live training, and a review of the corresponding training manual. Once an attorney completes the training, they are eligible to take a case. With each case package, the attorney will receive the veteran’s service personnel and medical records and a skeleton brief outlining the main arguments.

What is the pro bono commitment?
Each case takes about 20-40 hours. The attorney will be responsible for maintaining contact with the veteran, obtaining additional evidence, and writing a brief in support of the application.

What are the deadlines?
Attorneys are expected to provide a draft brief within 60 days, this can be extended for evidence gathering purposes.

Do I get a mentor?
Yes, each attorney will receive an experienced mentor to help them with all stages of the process.

 

Questions? Contact Danica Gonzalves at 202-733-3324 or danica.gonzalves@vetsprobono.org