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Can Asthma Get You Discharged from the Military?


The list of U.S. military separation codes, the numeric or lettered designation by which a soldier’s record is officially annotated when he or she abandons enlistment or prematurely ends active enlisted duty, is extensive. Asthma may or may not get a soldier in the Marines and Air Force discharged. It begins with a Military Evaluation Board (MEB) hearing; if the MEB decides there is enough evidence to warrant further review, the individual soldier’s case is moved on to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).

Defining the Different Tiers of Asthma

The numeric separation code in the U.S. military for bronchial asthma is 6602. However, the review requirements at both the MEB and PEB hearing stages are stringent.

Within the general FEV-1 level, various types of asthma are identified: cases where the likelihood of occurrence is 40% or less; cases where that likelihood is between 40% and 55%; cases where the likelihood is between 56% and 70%; and cases of 71% likelihood or higher. In situations where the medical examination fails to provide corroboration of existing asthma, a soldier may be asked to provide prior clinical and medical records to substantiate their request for dismissal or reassignment.

Recent Changes for Military Applicants

Until 2004, any history of asthma was grounds for military service ineligibility, regardless of a soldier’s age. But new regulations passed in 2004 narrowed the medical waiver eligibility to applicants whose asthma occurred after the applicant’s 13th birthday. Early childhood instances of asthma were no longer a disqualifying characteristic.

It’s far more common in a country where military enrollment is voluntary, such as the United States, for would-be soldiers to try and gain entry into the Army or Marines despite a history of asthma. As long as they can prove that their asthma was limited to their earliest days of childhood, applicants can be considered for enlistment. In some cases, a further medical evaluation may be ordered before a soldier’s application is approved.


Resources – Military Separation Codes, Retrieved January 18, 2011 from – Asthma Claim in Post Determination, Retrieved January 18, 2011 from – New Asthma and ADD/ADHD Enrollment Policy, Retrieved January 18, 2011 from

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