The Serious Consequences of Mistakes in Military Records

Regrettably, the military occasionally commits grave errors in maintaining records. This outcome is predictable, given that it is a characteristic of sizable bureaucracies alike. Although it is to be expected that certain errors may arise, it is critical to acknowledge the magnitude of the issue at hand. 

Upon discovering an error in their records, active or former military personnel are required to take prompt action. According to military attorney Sean Mangan, Inaccurate information in your records may cost you:

  • healthcare benefits;
  • financial benefits;
  • eligibility for the military retirement benefits;
  • eligibility for the civil service;
  • VA compensation;
  • and employment eligibility.

What Causes Errors in Military Documents?

Errors in military records may transpire due to an extensive array of factors. Furthermore, these errors may manifest in a boundless variety of ways. Errors can vary significantly in magnitude, affecting the affected party in a manner that is considerably detrimental at times. Poor service ratings or other papers, sometimes made by unqualified people, may contain errors. There may be instances where the evaluation contains defects that are completely erasable.

Seeking Redress for Injustices Is Another Option

Certain errors manifest due to human fallibility during the data entry process into your records. However, this does not exhaust the range of ‘errors’ that can be rectified via an appeal. Additionally, you are entitled to pursue redress for an “injustice.” In the same manner as errors, injustices can manifest in a variety of ways. Imagine being dishonorably discharged from a service branch two years ago. 

You might be capable of undertaking measures to challenge the discharge. The procedure for correcting records permits the pursuit of redress if unjust actions are committed. If you were discharged but can demonstrate that the penalty was excessively severe to be deemed fair and just, it is possible that you could have your records amended.  

Proportional Authority to Issue Corrections Relies on the Board of Corrections

The BCMR can change much of your military records. Indeed, the Board of Corrections is limited to one powerless action: the inability to vacate a court-martial conviction. Nevertheless, the council possesses the jurisdiction to:

  • Evaluate and modify your discharge, encompassing discharges resulting from medical disability or poor conduct.
  • Modify codes for re-enlistment;
  • Eliminate disciplinary reports and actions;
  • Eliminate negative performance evaluations;
  • Restore the status quo; and
  • Modify any additional personnel and performance records.

If an error has been made in your records or you have been subjected to an injustice, you do possess legal recourse to rectify the situation. Failure to take action may result in the forfeiture of potential benefits.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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