You Deserve Justice

The potential consequences of an “other than honorable” discharge

On Behalf of | May 18, 2024 | Military Law |

Anything other than an honorable discharge from the military can have negative consequences for the rest of a person’s life. Of course, most civilians know what a dishonorable discharge is. Fewer are familiar with “other than honorable” or OTH discharges. 

An OTH discharge is the most serious type of discharge that doesn’t involve a court martial. However, that doesn’t mean that a criminal offense may not be involved – civilian and/or military. They may also get an OTH discharge if they’ve been found guilty of some kind of military misconduct like acts of violence, security violations, disobeying an order or abuse of their position. Basically, it’s been determined that their conduct did not meet military standards.

What about VA benefits and future employment?

Often, a discharged servicemember’s immediate concerns involve their benefits. It’s possible to seek access to some benefits through a “Character of Discharge” review. In this review, a discharged servicemember can ask that the VA look the length and “character” of their record prior to whatever led to their discharge. 

The VA may also consider things like mental health and substance abuse issues. The review may determine that a servicemember’s discharge is “honorable for VA purposes.” 

A person with an OTH discharge typically can’t get a job with the government or re-enlist in the military. They can also experience problems getting a job in the private sector. While most employers don’t know exactly what an OTH discharge is, they know it’s not an honorable discharge. At the very least, they’ll want an explanation – if they even consider the person for a job.

Seeking a discharge upgrade

If extenuating circumstances led to the actions for which a person received an OTH discharge, it may be possible to get the discharge upgraded. This can include conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and traumatic brain injury, if they were caused by or happened during military service.

The best first step if you believe there are grounds for upgrading your OTH discharge is to seek experienced legal guidance. This can help you protect your future.