DD Form 293August 17, 2020
A DD Form 293, available at this link, is the form used by Veterans to apply to each service's discharge review board. The form can be used to request a change to a Veteran's discharge characterization, narrative reason for separation, re-entry code, or separation code.
On the form, a Veteran can request that the discharge review board only conduct a documentary review or he/she can request an in-person hearing. If the Veteran selects a documentary review, the board will decide the Veteran's request by only reviewing the DD Form 293, the Veteran's military record, and any documents submitted with the form. If the Veteran selects an in-person hearing, the board will consider the same items as well as whatever is presented at the hearing.
There is a spot on the form for the Veteran to check if any of the following conditions are related to the request: PTSD, TBI, Other Mental Health, Sexual Assault/Harassment, DADT, Transgender, or Reprisal/Whistle blower. If a Veteran believes one of these conditions does apply to the request, he/she should be sure to check the appropriate box and attach supporting documentation. The boards are required to give applications related to these conditions favorable consideration.
There is a space on the form to write why a change is being requested. It is generally a good practice to write a brief summary followed by "see attached." The Veteran should provide a much more detailed explanation in a letter attached to the DD Form 293.
A Veteran can, and should, include supporting documents with the DD Form 293. At a minimum, a Veteran should include a letter explaining why they are requesting a change and their complete military record (instructions on how to request one's military record can be found at this link). Sending only a DD Form 293, without any supporting documentation, has a lower likelihood of success. Other supporting documents can include medical records, letters of support, military documents not included in a Veteran's military record, etc.
After completely filling out the DD Form 293 and signing/dating it, the Veteran has to mail the form to the appropriate discharge review board. Each service (with the Navy and Marine Corps combined) has a different address to mail the form to. The correct address can be found on the form at the bottom of page 2.
Once the complete application is mailed off to the board, a Veteran should expect to wait between 8-12 months before a decision is made. The decision will be mailed to the Veteran and his/her lawyer, if applicable.
If an adverse decision is made, the Veteran can either submit a request for reconsideration (with new evidence), request an in-person hearing (if not already requested), or apply to the Board of Corrections for Military Records for the appropriate Service. Applications to this higher board are sent using a DD Form 149, available at this link.
Veterans who are applying to the Discharge Review Board are best served by hiring a military lawyer to assist them. Not only will a lawyer put together a complete and well-written application, but he/she will able to review a Veteran's military record for any legal error.
This Article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry.