Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Costs of War

“Bad Papers”: The Invisible and Increasing Costs of War for Excluded Veterans

Ali R. Tayyeb and Jennifer Greenburg (2017)
Paper (pdf)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – A new report released this week examines the lives of war veterans who are issued “bad papers,” or Other Than Honorable discharges from the military, leaving them ineligible to receive veterans’ benefits and support. Compiled by the Costs of War Project based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the report speaks to current policy reforms aimed at these veterans, and contends that current policy proposals will not go far enough to tackle the issue. Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharges, while not the only type of “bad papers,” are the most common. They often result from minor forms of misconduct stemming from trauma sustained during military service, and they prevent veterans from receiving Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare, education and housing support, and other resources. The research, conducted by Ali R. Tayyeb, a Navy veteran and Jonas Veterans Healthcare Scholar, and Watson Institute postdoctoral fellow Jennifer Greenburg, notes that such discharges “have seen a sharp spike since 9/11, with almost six percent of the entire veteran population of this era excluded from care.”