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Navy Humanitarian Assignments


Continued from Military Humanitarian Assignments Introduction

Navy detailing (assignment) authorities are aware of the hardships which confront Navy families and of the additional aggravation imposed by long absences of service members from their families. Emergency leave frequently provides sufficient time to alleviate such hardships. However, when an individual requires more time than leave can provide and has a chance of resolving the hardship within a reasonable time-frame, reassignment for humanitarian reasons may be requested.

When there is evidence that a severe hardship cannot be resolved within a reasonable period of time such as a year or more, or when the demands of the hardship situation will not permit the individual to perform his/her duties in a proficient manner, the individual should consider requesting hardship discharge or release from active duty.


The member's request must show that the hardship meets the following established criteria for eligibility for humanitarian reassignment:

  • A severe hardship exists, not normally encountered and resolved by other members of the naval service.

  • The hardship occurred or has been excessively aggravated since service member has been serving on active duty.

  • The problem affects the service member's immediate family. Immediate family is defined as: spouse, son, daughter, step-child (if the step-child is in fact dependent upon the member), parent, brother, sister, stepparent or other person acting in loco parentis for a period of five years before the member became 21 years of age, or any bonafide family member to the service member. In-laws are not considered members of the immediate family solely by virtue of their relationship as in-laws.

  • There are no other family members or relatives who are capable of providing necessary assistance.

  • The member has made every reasonable effort to alleviate the hardship and it cannot be reasonably alleviated through the media of leave (including emergency leave if the member is overseas), correspondence, power of attorney, or by other professional people, such as lawyers, counselors, clergy, doctors, psychiatrists, etc.

  • If hardship involves illness of a dependent of the service member, enrollment in Exceptional Family Member Program (see Humanitarian Assignments Introduction) must be initiated prior to submission of humanitarian reassignment request.

  • Member's presence is required for specific reasons other than for morale or financial purposes, alone.

  • The hardship is resolvable within a reasonable time frame (usually within one year).

Special Considerations

The following circumstances, involving members of the applicant's family, normally warrant special consideration when it is established that the member's presence in a specific area is essential to alleviate problems resulting therefrom and it can be anticipated that the problem is solvable within a reasonable time frame: (This is not a conclusive listing).

  • Death of applicant's spouse or child.

  • Divorce, when the member has a final divorce decree, has court awarded physical custody of the children and the time is needed to make arrangements for their permanent care.

  • Severe illness (physical or mental), as a result of which the affected person has been hospitalized or is scheduled to be hospitalized.

Examples of Requests Which are Normally not Approved

Requests based on the following reasons ONLY are not considered within the purview of this program and will not be approved:

  • For financial or business reasons (including the operation of family business).

  • For settling of estates (use leave/liberty, other family members or a lawyer).

  • For indebtedness.

  • For the sole reason of being a single parent. Raising children is considered a long term situation and should normally be considered for a hardship discharge/parenthood discharge.

  • For personal convenience.

  • For purpose of attending to or assisting in-laws, grandparents, (other than loco-parentis) or other persons not identified as immediate family.

  • For purpose of children in school (exception is made to children requiring specialized education).

  • For part-time employment of member/employment of spouse.

  • Because the member has bought or owns a home.

  • Because of the member's own physical or mental condition.

  • The death of a parent where other family members are surviving.

  • The threatened separation or threatened divorce action or normal anxiety/depression due to military assignments.

  • Normal pregnancy, threatened miscarriage, breech birth, caesarean section, or RH incompatibility.

For complete information about the Navy's Hardship Assignment Program, see NAVPERS 15560D, Naval Military Personnel Manual, Section 1300-500.

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