Vol. 4, Issue 3: Jan-Feb 2021
Sometimes the veterans we serve will indicate that they have previously applied for benefits but were found ineligible. In these cases it may be due to "bad paper" which the veteran may not want to disclose. Typically veterans with other-than-honorable, bad conduct or dishonorable discharges are not able to access most veteran benefits. It is helpful for veteran benefit coaches to stay up-to-date with discharge upgrades.
Discharge upgrades have come a long way in the last several years. For example, some veterans who were discharged under other-than-honorable conditions can apply to have their discharge upgraded if it was due to PTSD. PTSD was not a recognized as a diagnosis in some past conflicts.
Traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, sexual orientation, or other mental health conditions may also qualify a veteran to have their discharge upgraded.
According to Stars and Stripes, “Discharges that are other-than- honorable, including general discharges, are given for misconduct ranging from alcohol abuse, drug use and insubordination, but those infractions rarely result in courts- martial, meaning the service member never has their day in court and never gets due process. Those discharges are referred to as “bad paper” because of the negative consequences they have and the stigma they can carry.”
More info here: https://www.va.gov/discharge-upgrade-instructions
Some veterans may indicate that the time limit for applying for a discharge upgrade has passed. Here is what one military blog indicates:
“Are There Exceptions To The Time Limits?
"There are notable exceptions including cases that involve PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and other issues. Do not assume you have run out of time to apply for correction and upgrades- there may be circumstances that work in your favor including regulatory changes, new evidence, and alterations to DoD policy. You may discover that old rules governing application procedures and deadlines have been extended, modified, or have had exceptions added. You will need to contact the boards directly to learn what current requirements and deadlines might be.”
TIP: Never indicate that a veteran can get their discharge status changed, only that they may be able to upgrade their discharge status. Sometimes these veterans have already been disillustioned by their past experience with the VA and will not be helped by false hope.
JST is the academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) which validates a service member's military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations. This gives veterans a way to apply for college credits through earned life experience. Awarded college credits mean less time spent in school and less paid in tuition. It may also be used for some civilian job certifications.
The JST document explains one's military schooling and work history in civilian language, making it useful for preparing resumes for civilian employers. It is also useful when working with academic and career counselors. There is no cost for JST transcripts.
Eligibility: All enlisted, officers and warrant officers, both active and veterans from all Army components, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Air Force personnel should contact CCAF to receive transcripts (URL: www.au.af.mil/au/ccaf/transcripts.asp).
Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 12:00 PM
Kristen Mulvihill, army veteran, librarian, and author of "Serving Those Who Served: Librarian's Guide to Working with Veteran and Military Communities," will present this not-to-be-missed webinar. "Starting a conversation with a veteran can be difficult, however, if we don’t know who they are. And sometimes veterans don’t even know who they are. Others don’t think they have the right to ask for resources. Others just don’t want to talk about their past."
This webinar will be archived for later viewing. More info: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=952&reset=1
Thanks to State Librarian, Greg Lucas, emergency federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds were applied for a two-year statewide subscription to the JobNow and VetNow platforms from Brainfuse for all California public libraries. Access includes all library users in their jurisdiction. Many more veterans and veteran family members can be reached to learn about their benefits, use job search tools, and more, even while our libraries remain closed.
We want to remind you how important it is to continue to promote this robust product. Brainfuse continues to update their toolkit available here: https://calibrariesforveterans.org/prtoolkit.html Click on the link under the Brainfuse heading. There you will find documents, social media and web icons, Spanish language materials, and film clips to promote Brainfuse. All Veterans Connect @ the Library sites have $200 to purchase social media to promote VetNow.
These funds should be used by April 15, 2021. Please contact Karen Bosch Cobb at email@example.com if you have questions.
Editor's note: As always, we welcome your comments, ideas for articles as well as any events or success stories that you want to share. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org by early January for consideration in the next newsletter.
©2019-20 2020-2021 Veterans Connect @ the Library. All rights reserved. This project is supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library should be inferred. Grant Number 40-9055.