If you are getting back to civilian life or planning to look for a job, learning about your discharge status is imperative. Most employers will request you to provide reasons why you left the military, so you might need to go through the military status verification process. If you have left your military post for honorable reasons, it can give you an edge when it comes to an employer who prefers to hire veterans.
Military departments classify discharge status based on the behavior and performance of someone for the time he served as a soldier. Those whose behavior and performance are not in question are rewarded with an honorable discharge. Most military professionals receive an honorable discharge.
If you didn’t perform well and there were abnormal behaviors noted, then you don’t qualify for an honorable discharge, but instead, you’re awarded a dishonorable discharge or a bad conduct discharge. Veterans who receive honorable discharge are entitled to various military benefits, such as the use of VA medical services. Discharge status as a soldier is essential, and thus the need to receive an honorable discharge.
In the civilian world, your discharge status can ruin or enhance your possibilities of getting a job. For instance, some employers only hire honorably discharged veterans leaving out those with a dishonorable discharge. Additionally, other employers will deny you the job opportunity once they discover your discharge was dishonorable.
If you have forgotten your discharge status, try to find out before you start looking for a job. This is because most job application forms demand veterans to fill in their discharge status, and you don’t want guesswork. Moreover, you can apply for a reconsideration of your status, which could result in an upgrade of the status, making you eligible for the military benefits and boosting your chances of finding a new job.
Military status verification
Upon leaving the military service, one is issued with separation documents containing the discharge status. If these documents are untraceable, you can contact the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Based on your preferential platform, NARA can send you these documents via email or fax.
Online: Veterans can request access to these records via online platforms. This is also applicable for the next of kin veterans who are deceased.
Mail or fax: Writing a letter requesting your records is a straightforward task, but keep in mind to provide detailed information to help the staff processing your request to trace the actual documents.
Changing Discharge Status
If you are not satisfied with your discharge status, it is possible to have it changed. This can be achieved by formally writing to the service branch discharge board requesting the upgrade. Once the application requesting the review of the discharge status has been received, the board will relate your performance and behavior to your status and decide on whether to upgrade you or not. If they recommend an upgrade for your discharge status, then this will make you eligible for the military benefits and boost your chances of securing a new job.