When you are released from the military, you are what they call ‘discharged.’ The state of your discharge is what determines if you are eligible for VA benefits after your discharge. Whether you left the military voluntarily or you were forced, there will be a condition of your discharge that you will need to know.
You can find your type of discharge on your VA Form DD-214. On this form, you’ll see one of the following types of discharge statuses.
This is the ‘best’ discharge you can receive. This is the one that you want if you plan to use your VA benefits, such as the VA mortgage loan. This means you had a good rating for your service and you left on good terms. You performed your service as you were told to do and you exceed the standards by which you were given.
When you receive general discharge, it means your performance was ‘satisfactory.’ It didn’t go above and beyond what was expected, but it was okay. You may have failed in a few areas, but were overall an honorable member of the military. You may also hear it called General Discharge under Honorable Conditions.
As long as you were discharged under Honorable Conditions, you may still be eligible for your VA loan benefits. If you were discharged under General Discharge, but not under honorable conditions, your eligibility for the VA loan may not be likely.
Either way, the reporting officer must give you ample reason or the General Discharge status and you must sign papers stating that you understand the circumstances.
Other Than Honorable Discharge
If you had any serious violations occur during your time in the military, it could lead to an Other Than Honorable Discharge. If this is the case, you will not be eligible for your VA loan benefits. A few examples of someone that could end up with an Other than Honorable Discharge include:
- Violent Offenses
- Breach of security
- Prison Sentences
Bad Conduct Discharge
If you spent time in military prison, you’ll likely leave the military with a Bad Conduct Discharge. As you probably guessed, Bad Conduct discharges do not leave you eligible for any VA benefits.
Dishonorable discharge is the worst type of discharge. If you committed a serious offense that would or did lead to prison time, you’ll likely receive a dishonorable discharge. You must be convicted by a general court-martial in order to receive this type of discharge. The discharge will likely be a part of the sentence handed down to you.
Entry Level Separation
If you joined the military, but it wasn’t the right place for you, they may give you an Entry Level Separation. This means that you didn’t do anything good or bad – you just were not suited for the military. This type of discharge occurs within the first 180 days of service and will leave you ineligible for VA Benefits.
The type of discharge you receive directly affects whether you can qualify for VA benefits. Pay close attention to your type of discharge and ask appropriate questions to make sure your discharge is suited to the type of service you provided.