GI Rights Hotline

Military Discharges and Military Counseling

Call 1-877-447-4487

How does someone get out of the Delayed Entry Program?

One easy way to get out of the DEP is to do nothing. Simply not reporting on the day the person is scheduled to ship outsends the strongest signal to recruiters and military personnel that the person is no longer willing to become a member of the armed forces. If you are planning not to report on the ship date, it is not necessary to notify the military ahead of timeof that decision. People are separated for not reporting whether or not they have given prior notice.This is the most commonly chosen way of getting out of the DEP.

Some people feel more comfortable contacting recruiters and asking to be released from the DEP before their ship date comes. Many feel that they owe the recruiter the courtesy of notifying them that they have changed their mind so that the recruiter can spend his or her time elsewhere. Some people feel it is more official to send a formal letter asking to be discharged.

It is not necessary to write a letter or give an explanation for the change in mind.

For those who choose to write a letter, be aware that notifying the recruiter signals to them that it is time to step up their pressure.If you tell them you changed your mind, the recruiter and/or their commander are instructed to try to resell you on enlistment. Many people report seeing a less friendly side of recruiters after informing them they have changed their plans.

Again, giving a reason is unecessary. If you explain why you have changed your mind, recruiters will often say that the particular reason you have given, whatever it is, is not a valid one anyway. Many people also have reported recruiters using threats, dishonesty, and intimidation tactics to scare people into staying in. All this can create a false impression that a person cannot get out of the military or that getting out will lead to a bad discharge.

While many people choose to notify the military in advance, it is important to keep in mind that a person does not need the military's prior permission to get out. Seeking permission can lead to a great deal of frustration because recruiters rarely ever give anyone clear permission to not show up on the ship date. While recruiters know that people who don't show up are released, they rarely admit this reality. (A person can be in the DEP for up to a year, and many recruiters consequently will not take action to separaterecruits until that year is up.) So whether or not a person has formally or informally asked to get out of the DEP, most DEP members who change their minds will still find themselves having to decide whether or not to report on the ship date. Choosing not to report on the ship date has led to uncharacterized dishcarges in all known cases, whereas reporting to boot camp makes getting out a much more complicated process with potentially far more serious ramifications.

 Sometimes recruiters will insist that a person who wants to get out come to their office to fill out forms or paperwork Often, this is just a tactic to get the recuit into the office to resell them on enlisment. Sometimes after filling out such forms people are told that someone higher up did not approve the discharge. In reality it is not necessary to fill out any additional forms or paperwork to be released from the DEP. 

 A person who has decided they will not report can move on with their new life plansof finding a job, going to college, etc., at any time, whether or not they have permission from the military to do so.

 GI Rights counselors recognize that getting out of the DEP can be very stressfull for people who are used to thinking in terms of contracts being unbreakable or who have difficulty going against what authorites or people in uniform say. Be assured that in thousands of cases, we have yet to have a single person that was forced to go into the military after changing their mind in the DEP, despite many people having been told the opposite by recruiters. To discuss any of these issues with a GI Rights counselor call 877 447 4487.