Military Discharge Overview
The military discharges soldiers to release them from their obligations to serve in the armed forces. A military discharge can occur for many different reasons: expiration of term of service, reaching the maximum age limit, disability, hardship, mental or physical conditions, misconduct, and resignation, to name a few. The reason for discharge determines the type of discharge. Very few people know that there are many types beyond just honorable or dishonorable. In fact, there are six. Take a look at the meaning and circumstances behind each.
6 Types of Military Discharge
- Honorable discharge: To receive an honorable discharge, a service member must receive a good or excellent service rating by performing their duties honorably and displaying excellent personal conduct.
- Entry level separation or uncharacterized: This discharge is given to individuals who discontinue prior to completing 180 days of service, and this does not characterize service as either good or bad.
- General discharge: A general discharge is given to soldiers whose performance is satisfactory but does not meet standards of personal conduct. Failure to meet fitness or weight requirements, failure to progress in training, and minor discipline problems are some of the more common reasons for receiving a general discharge. This discharge can affect a veteran’s eligibility for certain benefits, including for the GI Bill and for VA home loans.
- Other than honorable discharge: This discharge is typically the result of negative actions that fall just short of requiring a court-martial. Such actions include but are not limited to being convicted of a crime in a civilian court, violating security, abuse of authority, using deliberate force to hurt another person, or displaying other behavioral problems. This type of discharge can also affect eligibility benefits.
- Bad conduct discharge: This discharge is given by a court-martial to enlisted service members due to bad conduct. It can also be preceded by time in military prison. All veteran benefits are forfeited with a bad conduct discharge.
- Dishonorable discharge: This discharge is also given by a court-martial when actions of a service member are considered reprehensible, and this is the worse discharge a soldier can receive. All benefits and other rights, such as owning a gun, are lost.
Military Discharge Papers and Why They Matter
The type of military discharge papers a veteran receives has a big effect on their life after service. Nearly 77 percent of discharges are honorable, which leaves 33 percent ineligible for many, if not all, veteran benefits. For example, only veterans that received an honorable discharge are eligible to obtain a VA guaranteed home loan. The type of discharge will be listed on form DD-214 of the discharge paperwork. It is sometimes possible for veterans to do a military discharge upgrade. This allows veterans to receive a higher rating by completing DD Form 293, which is an application to review dismissal. An upgrade is not automatic and is, of course, subject to review.
If you are a veteran and have received an honorable discharge from service, you are entitled to some amazing benefits. Contact us at Low VA Rates, so we can help you understand what your VA home loan benefits are.