Delay and Exemption Boards

With the start of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of reservists and National Guard members have been ordered to perform involuntary extended active duty. In many cases, family, economic, or medical conditions may qualify a member for delay in reporting for active duty, or for exemption from active duty and discharge.

A member who is ordered to perform involuntary extended active duty may apply for a delay or exemption. The procedures for doing so vary according to the military department. Army reservists, who comprise the majority of reservists called to active duty, may apply to the Delay and Exemption Board at HRC-St. Louis. While the application process appears straight forward, there are many pitfalls to be avoided. A member must be very careful to document and explain all aspects of his or her claim for delay or exemption.

If a member's application for delay or exemption is denied, he or she may appeal the decision. Once again, great care must be exercised in preparing an appeal. A member considering requesting a delay or exemption is well advised to obtain qualified legal assistance before doing so.

Members of the Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and the National Guard also may apply for exemption from involuntary active duty or discharge. Application is made through the member's chain-of-command. The grounds for obtaining an exemption or discharge are similar to those for Army Reservists. Normally the member must demonstrate severe personal hardship and/or dependency or the existence of a medical or mental health condition preventing mobilization and deployment.

This is one of the most stressful areas of military law for a service member to be involved in. Mr. Sheldon will assist the member and his family at this most difficult time.