Colorado Veterans May Get Discharge Upgrades
The Department of Defense has announced it will start proactively upgrading the discharge statuses of some veterans ousted from the military for their sexual orientation and denied benefits of having served. The DOD said the initiative will start with those who received less-than-honorable discharges under the old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that was in place from the early 1990s to 2011. A class action lawsuit filed in August 2023 sought this status upgrading and highlighted some of the harms LGBTQ+ military service members have experienced. Such as being denied DOD-sponsored health care through the VA. Since 2011, veterans who had been discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” have been directed to a lengthy review board process to get their discharge status upgraded. Reportedly only about 1,700 veterans have made it through that process, less than 5% of those impacted. Affected veterans are urged to apply for a status change individually because if their discharge was not correctly recorded, the DOD’s new proactive review might overlook them. This website offers additional details: https://www.defense.gov/Spotlights/Dont-Ask-Dont-Tell-Resources/.