What You Need to Know if You Receive an Other Than Honorable Discharge


An Other Than Honorable discharge is one of the five types of administrative releases from the military. If you find yourself parting from the military under the category of an OTH discharge, you may be wondering what this means for your future. Let’s explore what you need to know if you receive an Other Than Honorable discharge.

Below you will find a list of Other Than Honorable discharge consequences. Each consequence leaves a different impact on your life. Keep reading to investigate some alternative solutions and learn how you might lessen the destruction.

  • The ability to apply for a VA Home Loan – Typically an OTH discharge means you are no longer eligible to apply for a VA home loan. Losing the benefits that come with a VA home loan might feel like a tragedy, but on the up side, applying for a traditional home loan is another perfectly acceptable way to buy a house.
  • Enjoying benefits from the GI Bill – Eligibility for the GI Bill is usually revoked following an Other Than Honorable discharge, however most schools keep an advisor on staff specifically for enrolling veterans. Seek assistance from these advisors to learn about existing alternative options for funding your education.
  • Receiving a retirement allowance –  Sadly, another benefit no longer attainable by an OTH discharge recipient is a pension plan from the military, but there are solutions available for this problem. Meet with an associate at your personal bank to learn about the choices you have available to fulfill your personal needs.
  • Trouble landing certain types of employment – Always be ready to explain circumstances if asked and consider pursuing jobs that don’t require a background check.
  • Complications with rental applications – Occasionally when taking applications for a rental agreement, landlords will want a background check on all the residents to be listed on the contract. It might be a good idea to speak up about an Other Than Honorable discharge before the background check is even run.  This takes away any element of surprise to the landlord and might save you time if it happens to be a deal breaker.
  • Disqualification of VA Health Benefits – Generally a veteran who was discharged in the OTH category loses all rights to VA health benefits. However, if a veteran can successfully petition for a positive decision concerning character of service, it is possible to receive health aid regarding service-related disabilities. When applying to receive these specific Other Than Honorable discharge benefits, all petitions for administrative conclusions concerning the character of service are to be made to the community VA Regional Office (VARO).

A couple other common questions that spring up when faced with this kind of discharge are: “Is it possible to change this?” and “What are my options for upgrading the status of the discharge?”

The short answer is, YES, it is possible to appeal for an Other Than Honorable discharge upgrade, however there are a number of stipulations:

  • Anyone within 15 years of separation from the military is able to apply to the corresponding branch of service Discharge Review Board in an attempt to receive an official discharge change / upgrade.
  • If the veteran can prove that the discharge characterization is either improper or inequitable, they might have a shot.
  • It may be important to note that the Discharge Review Board will be unable to upgrade discharges given by court-martial. Applying for an OTH discharge upgrade is a complex undertaking, and one might consider the counsel of an attorney to ensure the proper steps are followed, and that sufficient evidence is provided.

Any release from the military with anything other than an Honorable discharge will bring a halt to your plans as you once knew them, but it is important to remember that you have alternative choices, a variety of resources, and people out there who are ready and willing to help.

Additional References:

https://nvf.org/less-than-honorable-discharge/

https://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/character_of_discharge.asp

http://fortcampbellcourier.com/soldier_for_life/article_23c563ee-af90-11e7-a20d-23d22f71f9e2.html

https://work.chron.com/unemployment-after-otherthanhonorable-discharge-18835.html

https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/publications/IB10-448_other_than_honorable_discharges5_17.pdf


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