Service men holding American Flag

Restoration of Honor Act

Overview

In 2019, the Restoration of Honor Act was signed into law in New York State. The Restoration of Honor Act authorizes the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services (NYS DVS) to restore access to State Veterans Benefits to Veterans who have an Other-Than-Honorable Discharge (OTH) or a General Under Honorable Conditions Discharge due to certain conditions.

    This determination does not change a Veteran’s official character of discharge on their discharge paperwork. This determination refers solely to a Veteran's character of discharge for the purposes of qualifying for specific New York State benefits for Veterans and their families.

    Eligibility

    Veterans who have an Other-Than-Honorable Discharge (OTH) or a General Under Honorable Conditions Discharge due to any of the following:

    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 
    • Military Sexual Trauma (MST) 
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Gender Identity

    Apply

    NYS DVS will assist Veterans in obtaining the Veteran’s complete and unredacted Official Military Personnel File, a review of which is necessary for NYS DVS to render a decision on the Veteran’s application.

    Once NYS DVS renders a decision, the Veteran will have the ability to file an appeal of the original decision. The appealed decision will be final.
     

    Application Package

    Mandatory Documents:

    Mandatory Documents:

    1. Restoration of State Veterans Benefits Application

    2. Complete Official Military Personnel File

    3. Personal statement (signed) describing precisely why your assigned character of service was unjust and why an upgrade to a higher character of service is appropriate.

    4. If applicable, an award letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs verifying that you have a service-connected rating for your disability.

    Only applicable for those demonstrating less-than-honorable discharge was caused by mental health condition (i.e. PTSD, TBI, MST) during service: 

    1. If symptoms of a disability incurred or aggravated during your military service (e.g., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma) caused you to act in a way that led directly to your less-than-honorable discharge, provide:

    (a) Evidence of the medical diagnosis of the disability (or disabilities) that led to these actions;

    (b) Evidence your disability originated or worsened during your military service;

    (c) Signed explanation by the Veteran of how the diagnosed medical disability (or disabilities) led to the less-than-honorable discharge;

    (d) If applicable, an award letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs verifying that you have a service-connected rating for your disability

    Applications should be sent to the following address or email:

    New York State Division of Veterans’ Services

    ATTN: Appellate Unit

    2 Empire State Plaza, 17th Fl

    Albany, NY 12223

    Email: [email protected]

    Legal questions regarding the application of benefits under the Restoration of Honor can be sent to: [email protected]