If you suffer from PTSD a TBI, or a mental health condition, or were the victim of sexual assault or harassment and were discharged from the military, there are special rules the Discharge Review Boards (DRB) and Boards of Correction for Military and Naval Records (BCMR and BCNR) are required follow if your discharge was related to these conditions.  These rules GREATLY FAVOR your application but you need to know about them to succeed.   a GOOD LAWYER can assist you.  The rules require the DRB and BCMR/BCNR to expedite your request and also to liberally consider your argument and evidence.  It is KEY to know the rules and submit the right arguments that apply to your situation.

The Department of Defense issued the HAGEL MEMO in 2014.  It covers  PTSD and related conditions such as TBI. Boards must give “liberal consideration” to upgrade requests based on these conditions.  The key here is to submit evidence of your diagnosis from a clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist, health records, and detailed evidence in your service record that you experienced an event that might have caused your condition. The board reviews the medical evidence and if they find your condition is related to your service, it THEN considers whether your condition excuses the misconduct that led to your discharge.  A GOOD LAWYER IS VITAL to making the connection between the medical record, service time, and misconduct.

A second memo known as the CARSON MEMO provides further guidance.

The Hagel Memo can be read here:

http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/documents/SECDEF Guidance to BCMRs re Vets Claiming PTSD.pdf

The Carson Memo can be read here:


The Hagel Memo is also the law.  This law, 10 U.S.C. 1553, can be read here:


More recently, the KURTA MEMO has more guidance and makes success n these cases even more likely.  It states boards MUST sympathetically consider applications based on all mental health conditions (including PTSD), TBI, and also those based on sexual assault/harassment. It also mandated the expanded rights to cover issues of substance abuse.  If your discharge was based on substance abuse that was in actuality elf medication for a covered condition this is applicable.   If the substance that led to your discharge was minor under today’s standards, such as marijuana, this is highly relevant particularly if you were discharged a long time ago, when marijuana was considered to be a more serious substance than it generally is today. the Kurta memo also broadens what is considered relevant evidence.  Prior to this change, things like statements from family members, co-workers, shipmates, fellow servicemembers detailing your suffering and condition, and experience were not considered.  The keys to any successful petition are the four questions set out in the memo.  1. Did the veteran have a condition or experience that may excuse or mitigate the discharge? 2. Did that condition exist/experience occur during military service? 3. Does that condition or experience actually excuse or mitigate the discharge? 4. Does that condition or experience outweigh the discharge?

The Kurta Memo can be read in here:



DO NOT GO IT ALONE. Even if you have been previously denied relief CALL JAGDEFENDERS for a FREE consultation.  The system is difficult to navigate and you may be missing out on YEARS of benefits you have earned.  The attorneys at JAGDEFENDERS have been HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL in getting petitions granted.  Call for your FREE consultation today.