Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

DD-214 Upgrades

DD 214 Upgrades

The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs has started a new program to assist veterans in seeking an upgrade to their discharge paperwork, including the discharge characterization.  The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs has partnered with a number of community organizations to provide free legal representation to veterans who were involuntarily separated from the military and received a less than honorable discharge. 

Having a less than honorable discharge can prevent a veteran from accessing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and services including health care and other social services as well as District level programs and benefits.  The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs is dedicated to ensuring that the service of our veterans is reflected in their military records so that they may be able to fully access the services and benefits they have earned.

All branches of the military consider you to have a strong case for a discharge upgrade if you can show your discharge was connected to any of these categories:

  • Mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

  • Sexual assault or harassment during military service

  • Sexual orientation (including under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy)

More information on this process is available at https://www.vets.gov/discharge-upgrade-instructions/


The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs regularly holds DD-214 Upgrade Clinics to provide free initial consultations with our partner organizations.  Please contact MOVA at 202-724-5454 to register for our next clinic. 


Our partner organizations include:

The Veterans Pro Bono Consortium


The Veterans Pro Bono Consortium can review your case, and provide you with a free lawyer, if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You received an Other than Honorable discharge from the Armed Forces
  • You have a diagnosis of, or exhibit symptoms of, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), or other mental health condition
  • We find at least one meritorious argument to present to the Discharge Board

The National Veterans Legal Services Program

NVLSP will provide eligible veterans free representation before military Discharge Review Boards (DRB) and Boards for Correction of Military Records (BCMR). NVLSP’s expert assistance includes the drafting of a brief in support of an application to either a DRB or BCMR and/or appearing before the board to present the case at live hearing.

All veterans who suffered from a mental disorder (such as PTSD or depression) in service that contributed to misconduct that resulted in an administrative separation with a less than fully honorable discharge are eligible for assistance from NVLSP.


OutServe-SLDN remains committed to providing quality legal services and assistance to LGB veterans affected by Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) or the prior Department of Defense policy.  Service members who were discharged because of DADT or the prior policies regarding gays and lesbians in the armed forces might want to have certain changes made in the discharge paperwork.  In addition, transgender veterans may wish to change the name on their DD-214 so that it is consistent with other identity documents.

OutServe-SLDN can assist with:

  • Upgrading discharge characterizations
  • Changing re-enlist codes and narrative reasons for discharge
  • Name changes
Contact TTY: