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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 27152
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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I was wondering if this would be grounds for a hardship discharge.

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I was wondering if this would be grounds for a hardship discharge. I've just completed basic and tech school and I am now stationed at moody afb. Before I entered I did air traffic control school where I had to get a private student loan of $60,000. I thought I would be able to pay the payments when I entered the Air Force, but after getting behind on 2 payments during basic and the company raising the interest rate I'm looking at payments of $800-$1000 a month. Which as an A1C would pretty much be my whole check. Not to mention I'm about $5000 behind on payments. I have not informed them I am in the Air Force for fear they may take all my money. My mom was going to try to help me with the payments, which was the initial plan before I went in. She had surgery for breast cancer a fews years back and now they have found more cancer in her breast and she has to go back down to get both removed. She is in for a rough road ahead with Kimo therapy and radiation. So she will not be able to help out financially. Not to mention she really doesn't have anyone to take care of her. If I did get a discharge there is a car lot I have connections with that will higher me and I will be making substantially more money enough to cover the sallie Mae loan. I was just wondering if I could file for a hardship loan. Any help or advice is really appreciated. I just don't know what to do.

Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

Financial grounds are never a basis for a hardship discharge.

But if you have a close relative who is undergoing a medical condition that requires assistance...that can be a basis...tell me, when will she start chemo?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It will be a few weeks after her surgery.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
As I mention, financial hardship is not the best way to apply for a hardship discharge.

But care for a parent who is in need of care would be.

If you look at the AFI that covers this (you can see it here http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-3208/afi36-3208.pdf) you see it says

3.20. Conditions for Discharge. Airmen may request discharge when genuine dependency or
undue hardship exists.
3.20.1. A basis for discharge may exist when:
3.20.1.1. The dependency or hardship is not temporary.
3.20.1.2. Conditions have arisen or have been aggravated to an excessive degree since
the airman entered active duty.
3.20.1.3. The airman has made every reasonable effort to remedy the situation.
3.20.1.4. Separation will eliminate or materially alleviate the conditions.
3.20.1.5. There are no means of alleviation readily available other than the separation.

3.20.2. Undue hardship or dependency does not necessarily exist because:
3.20.2.1. Of altered present or expected income; or
3.20.2.2. The family is separated or must suffer the inconveniences usually incident to
military service.

You can see from above,

Undue hardship or dependency does not necessarily exist because of altered present or expected income

It is real tough to get a request based on income approved.

A better approach is if you can show medical hardship.

The key is to demonstrate that this is not temporary, and that you being with your mom will "eliminate or materially alleviate the conditions"

So you would want to convince the doctor (your mom's treating physician) to draft a letter that describes her condition, that it is not temporary, and your mom needs your presence. Specifically, that your presence will eliminate or materially alleviate symptoms of her cancer.

If you can get a letter like this? You have a reasonable chance to get the request approved.

Take a look at the AFI (link above)...there is information that discusses the application process. It starts on pg 53.

You can certainly mention the financial hardship as an additional basis...but I would focus on the need for your help with the cancer therapy.


Let me know if you have more questions...happy to help if I can


P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 27152
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.