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Military Hardship Discharges - What is a Hardship Discharge?


Soldier standing in front of house, side view
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All of the services have procedures where a servicemember can REQUEST a discharge, based on a valid hardship. Nine times out of ten, however, applicants find that they don't qualify. What is a "hardship" to you, does not necessarily meet the military's definition of a "hardship." All of the services are pretty much on the same page concerning "hardship" separations, so we'll just list the Army's definition to illustrate how hard it can be to qualify: "In order to qualify for separation under this provision, the hardship must not be of a temporary nature; must have developed or become increasingly worse since entry on active duty; discharge or release from active duty is the only readily available means of alleviation; and the individual must have made reasonable effort to relieve the conditions through other means available and appropriate to the family circumstances."

If you don't qualify for a hardship discharge, however, you might qualify for a humanitarian assignment.

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