How can I change “bad paper” to get my VA benefits?

Veterans who received a less than fully-honorable discharge may be denied VA benefits. If you were given “bad paper” upon your release from the service, you can change the character determination by applying for a discharge upgrade through the Discharge Review Board (DRB).

In addition to completing an application for a discharge upgrade, you will also be asked to submit a written statement detailing the reasons why you disagree with your discharge decision and should be entitled to an upgrade. Because the board will only consider information in your case that you have included in your application, it is best to be as thorough as possible.

The following evidence may be helpful in obtaining a favorable decision from the DRB:

  • Your written statement
  • Supporting statements from fellow service members or commanders
  • Character references (from employers, landlords, or family members)
  • Post-service educational records
  • Post-service employment and credit histories
  • Supporting information that shows good conduct after service

In addition to these documents, you may wish to include medical information that could have affected the original discharge decision. For example, if you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a doctor’s diagnosis could be helpful in establishing that your poor conduct was caused by trauma during service.

Our VA Attorneys Can Help You Get the Benefits You Deserve

At Cuddigan Law, we do not collect any fees from our clients unless we win their cases. Call us today at 402-933-5405 to get help with your case, or order our free book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims, to learn what to do next.


Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska