Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The Army announced Tuesday that it will review the discharges of thousands of disabled veterans, which could result in an upgrade to their discharge status.
Per the agreement, the Army will change some of its administrative procedures for changes in discharge status in the future.
It will also review discharge information for some 3,500 veterans affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and other behavioral health conditions, automatically reconsider certain discharge-status-upgrade decisions and will expand reapplication rights for eligible applicants discharged in the first decade of this century.
"Veterans of the Army, including the National Guard and Reserve, who were discharged with a less-than-fully-honorable service characterizations while having a diagnosis of, or showed symptoms of, the conditions listed above may be eligible for relief. Discharge upgrades are not guaranteed and applications will be decided on a case-by-case basis," the Army's statement said.
The impending review is the result of a court settlement in the nationwide class-action suit Kennedy v. McCarthy, which was preliminarily settled in a federal court at the end of December.
The lawsuit was filed in 2017 by two Army veterans from Connecticut" Steve Kennedy, 34, and Alicia Carson, 32.
Kennedy was granted a discharge upgrade in 2018 after being denied twice before, and Carson had her discharge upgraded to honorable, after the lawsuit was filed, according to attorneys.
Under the settlement, the Army would automatically review thousands of cases of soldiers who displayed symptoms of -- or claimed to suffer from -- mental health and behavior disorders and soldiers who experienced sexual trauma on active duty.
"This lawsuit has challenged decades-long, systemic deficiencies in the Army Discharge Review Board," said Andrew DeGuglielmo, an attorney in the case, in November. "I'm confident this settlement will make the discharge upgrade process more accessible, just and fair for Army veterans who endure the invisible wounds of service."
There will be a video teleconference hearing on the settlement agreement in late March to determine whether to grant final approval to the settlement. Those affected by the settlement may submit written comments or appear through counsel and are encouraged to contact the Yale Veterans Legal Clinic.