Veterans Law: Applying for discharge upgrades and appealing negative DOD board decisions
Live Video-Broadcast: November 16, 2023
10 AM – 12:10 PM EST | 9 – 11:10 AM CST | 8 – 10:10 AM MST | 7 – 9:10 AM PST
Since World War II, the number of veterans receiving less than honorable discharges has increased dramatically. These “bad paper” discharges often involve underlying mental health conditions such as PTSD from combat or military sexual trauma; discrimination based on race, sexual orientation or gender identity; or unjust or improper command discretion. And the ramifications are severe: the discharges often preclude veterans from state and federal benefits including VA healthcare, service connection compensation for injuries, and access to housing and employment opportunities. Veterans with bad papers suffer from higher rates of homelessness, incarceration, unemployment, and suicide. Fortunately, with proper legal assistance, veterans can obtain discharge upgrades, opening the door to life-transforming benefits.
This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.
Key topics to be discussed:
- What is a discharge status and why it matters
- The basics of discharge upgrade law
- How to apply for a discharge upgrade
- Appealing negative DOD board decisions to federal court
Date / Time: November 16, 2023
- 10:00 am – 12:10 pm Eastern
- 9:00 am – 11:10 am Central
- 8:00 am – 10:10 am Mountain
- 7:00 am – 9:10 am Pacicic
- What is discharge status and why it matters | 10:00am – 10:30am
- The basics of discharge upgrade law | 10:30am – 11:00am
Break | 11:00am – 11:10am
- How to apply for a discharge upgrade | 11:10pm – 11:40pm
- Appealing negative DOD board decisions to federal court | 11:40am – 12:10pm
Margaret Kuzma is an attorney in the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School and an author and editor of the Military Discharge Upgrade Legal Practice Manual (ABA, 2021). Previously, she directed the Veterans Inclusion Project and the Discharge Upgrade Practice at the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center. She has been a Visiting Clinical Lecturer with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School, and she co-founded the Veterans Law Project at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Prior to becoming a public interest attorney, Margaret ran the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program for Fort Moore and U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder.
Dana Montalto is a Senior Clinical Instructor and Lecturer-on-Law in the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. She represents veterans with less-than-honorable discharges in seeking military discharge upgrades and federal and state veteran benefits. Dana founded the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership, which connects veterans who wrongfully received less-than-honorable discharges with pro bono attorneys seeking to give back to those who served. She is one of the authors and editors of the Military Discharge Upgrade Legal Practice Manual, and she co-authored With Malice Toward None: Revisiting the Historical & Legal Basis for Excluding Veterans from “Veteran” Services, 122 Penn. St. L. Rev. 69 (2017). Dana is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School.