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Dependency or Hardship Discharge

Coast Guard

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COMDTINST M1000.4 Military Separations (March 2023) Dependency or Hardship Discharges

COMDTINST M1000.4 Military Separations (March 2023) Dependency or Hardship Discharges (1284 KB)

Comments: To view or download the complete regulation, click on the link to it in the box above these comments.

Chapter 4 Dependency or Hardship Discharges


B. Policies Governing Discharge

1. In general, the following circumstances or reasons do not qualify for discharge:
a. Purely financial or business reasons.
b. Personal convenience.
c. The member is under charges or in confinement.
d. The member requires in-patient medical treatment.
e. A member’s wife’s pregnancy is not in itself a circumstance for which the Commandant will authorize discharge.

2. Disapproval of Dependency or Hardship Discharge. Commander (CG PSC-EPM-1) or (CG PSC-OPM-1) will not disapprove a discharge
under this Article solely because:
a. The member’s services are needed in assigned duties, unless certain circumstances prevail, such as war, in which Service needs would override a bona fide hardship.
b. The member is indebted to the Government, a non-appropriated fund activity, or an individual.

3. Actions by Commander. Commander (CG PSC-EPM-1) or (CG PSC-OPM-1) may direct discharge when an undue or genuine dependency or hardship exists, the dependency or hardship is not of a temporary nature, and the conditions have arisen or been aggravated excessively since the member entered the Service. The member must have made every reasonable effort to alleviate the hardship by applying for basic allowance for quarters and voluntary contributions which have proved inadequate. Examples of meritorious cases are those in which the evidence shows either:
a. Due to the death or disability of a member of an individual’s family, the Service member must support or care for a family member(s); or
b. The member’s family is undergoing hardship more severe than the normal hardships dependents or families of Coast Guard members encounter.
d. The hardship is long-term or permanent and discharge will eliminate or materially alleviate the condition.
d. No means of alleviation other than discharge are readily available.

4. Verifying Existence of Hardship. Undue hardship does not necessarily exist solely because of altered present or expected income or because the member is separated from his or her family and must suffer the inconveniences normally incident to a sea-going military service.

C. Applying for Discharge
After reviewing this Article’s contents (commanding officers must assist enlisted personnel by explaining the Commandant’s policy), a member may apply in writing for discharge for dependency or hardship to Commander (CG PSC-EPM) or (CG PSC-OPM) through the commanding officer. Commanding officers should give sympathetic consideration and assistance in preparing this request. At least two affidavits substantiating the dependency or hardship claim and establishing the dependency or hardship occurred after entry into the Service must accompany such requests. When practical the dependent concerned should provide one such affidavit. The request should contain the following additional information:

1. Reason in full for request.

2. Names and addresses of persons familiar with the situation.

3. Marital Status. Statement of marital status and date of marriage.

4. Financial Stability. Member must provide detailed amounts of financial and any other means of contribution to dependent(s).

5. Dependents Information. Dependent’s complete home address and occupation. Names, ages, occupations, and monthly income of the individual’s family members, if any; the reasons why they cannot care for or support the individual’s family; and a statement no family members have been omitted.

6. Supporting Documents. If dependency results from the death of an individual’s family member that occurred after the Service member entered the Coast Guard, the member must furnish a death certificate or other valid proof of death. If dependency or hardship results from the disability of an individual’s family member occurring after entry into the Service, the member will furnish a physician’s certificate showing specifically when such disability occurred and its nature.

D. Commanding Officer’s Actions
The commanding officer shall interview the member to elicit any further information and ensure he or she has furnished the information this Article requires. The commanding officer’s endorsement shall include a definite recommendation for approval or disapproval. Enlisted members’ endorsement shall also state the status of any disciplinary action pending and list Service schools attended.

E. Safeguarding Privacy
Commands shall safeguard any information about the private affairs of Coast Guard members or their families and not disclose it or its source to persons except in the course of their official duties.

F. Social Service Agencies’ Reports
Commanding officers shall not request information and reports from the American Red Cross or other social service or welfare agencies about a member’s “home conditions” when a member submits or desires to submit a request for discharge for dependency or hardship. If the commanding officer receives a Red Cross or other agency report relevant to the case, he or she should send it to Commander (CG PSC-EPM-1) or (CG PSC-OPM-1) for consideration. Commander (CG PSC-EPM) or (CG PSC-OPM) will request information in individual cases from the Red Cross or other agencies if such action is advisable.

G. Type of Discharge
Commander (CG PSC-EPM) or (CG PSC-OPM) shall grant a member separated for dependency or hardship honorable or general discharge as appropriate under Articles 1.A.2. or 1.B.2.f. of this Instruction.

H. Involuntary Discharge. If a commanding officer recommends an involuntary discharge under this Section for an enlisted member whose service record indicates issuance of a general discharge, the commanding officer will afford the member an opportunity to consult with legal counsel before initiating such action. Commander (CG PSC-EPM-1) may require the member to surrender their uniform under Section 2.LL.5 of this Instruction.

I. Release to Reserve. Members separated for hardship or dependency will not be released to the Reserve.