CVN-71

Medical Conditions Normally Not Waiverable

Medical Issues Not Normally Waivered

Many people who are considering the United States Navy as an option wonder if there may be some mental or physical condition from their past which may preclude them from serving. This post is the first of a two part series which will talk about medical conditions and possibly answer your “would I make it with” questions. Today I will list the medical issues/conditions which will not be considered for a waiver.

For those issues with time conditions they are listed as such – like a severe head injury has a five year waiting period, the waiting period is in place to reduce the possibility there were no long term effects from the injury. Conditions that become aggravated while serving on active duty could in the long run be considered “service connected” which in turn could lead to future disability benefits. By restricting some known medical issues, such as the ones listed below, will ultimately save the tax payers money.

Generally the Navy will not waive the following conditions (conditions listed in COMNAVCRUITCOMINST 1130.8J);

A note to everyone: The advice and prognostications I deliver in the comments and via email are based on my experiences, and only take into account the information you provide. I do not have the benefit of the “whole person.” So, please see a Recruiter, no matter what, and have your documentation sent to MEPS for a definitive review. I am not answering for the Navy! Although rare, I have been known to be wrrree, wrea, wrong


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2,063 Responses to “Medical Issues Not Normally Waivered”


  1. Blake says:

    Hey, Navydoc. I really appreciate you doing a Q&A on here.

    Basically, I get very mild cases of hives once every few days that’s very controllable with any allergy medicine. I’m currently in college (year left until degree) with the hopes of going to OCS, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do to be quite honest. Is there a chance I can get a waiver if I put up a high enough score on my ASVAB or anything like that. My next step would be to go to the allergist. I’m not currently in touch with the Navy because I want to fix the problem first, obviously. Any and all advice is welcome.

    Thanks for doing this,

    - Blake

  2. navydoc says:

    Blake,
    Idiopathic urticaria within the past 2 years is DQ. Waiver is not likely, given the frequency of your symtpoms, and the fact that you have not been evaluated by an allergist.

  3. navydoc says:

    tina,
    Keratoconus is not waived by any service.

  4. Jose (last name redacted for privacy) says:

    I recently had a fusion surgery in my neck fusing my c3 to my c7. I am going through therapy and am back to normal activities.
    Would the reserves give me an opportunity given my surgery though my surgeon released me back to normal activities?

  5. navydoc says:

    Jose,
    Surgical fusion of any part of the spine is DQ and not waived by any service, active or reserve.

  6. Ashley says:

    I have mild eczema. It clears up fine with over the counter cream and is rarely a problem. Will this disqualify me from joining the Navy?

  7. Alex says:

    I was recently medically disqualified from the military for a coronary fistula surgery as a baby. I was wondering if it was waiver-able

  8. robert says:

    Hi I have a question I had a non cancerous tumor removed from my knee 6 years ago a hemagioma and I have full range of motion no problems but I got permentaly disqualified what could be the process to fight that to get in I’m seeing a orthopedic surgery tomorrow.

  9. Edward (Last name redacted for privacy ) says:

    My 17 year old daughter had a 1 time reaction (hives) to multiple fire ant stings when she was 12 years old (she came in contact with a nest). She was treated with benadryl and the hives dissapated. She has been bitten numerous time since with no reaction (just local to the bite, no hives). She was just accepted to both USNA and USAFA summer seminar programs, already has a Presidential nomination, and according to her Blue and Gold and ALO is very competitive for an early acceptance. Since this is a one-time cutaneous reaction (hives) that occurred before age 16 (she was 12), is this someting to report to DODMERB? Is it waiverable? Thank you sir.

  10. Steve says:

    Will subdural hematoma and multiple skull fractures from 12 years ago prevent me from joining the reserves if my doctor and multiple head scans said I healed completely from the injuries ? if you can’t tell for sure can you at least give your opinion on the situation

  11. navydoc says:

    Steve,
    Your records will need to be carefully reviewed,, but that kind of head trauma will generally require a waiver. Due to the high incidence of claims for traumatic brain injury, these cases are looked at very carefully by the waiver authority.

  12. navydoc says:

    Edward,
    One of the questions on the medical pre-screen (DD 2807-2) is HAVE YOU EVER had an allergic reaction to an insect sting. So yes, your daughter needs to disclose the information to DoDMERB.

  13. navydoc says:

    robert,
    The MEPS CMO has the absolute authority to qualify or DQ applicants for military service, so there is not opportunity to “fight it”. Your only recourse is to request consideration for a waiver from the service to which you are applying.

  14. navydoc says:

    Alex,
    Chances for waiver will depend on your current cardiac status. Submit a recent (within the past 90 days) evaluation by your cardiologist, including echocardiogram, for review by MEPS.

  15. navydoc says:

    Ashley,
    Eczema past the 9th birthday is DQ. It will require waiver.

  16. Andrew says:

    navydoc,

    Ten years ago I had a surgery performed to correct a deviated septum. The surgery resulted in a nasal perforation, which according to my most recent check-up, is “well-healed without crusting or ulceration.” The size of the perforation is 1.5cm and is not progressive or otherwise symptomatic. In addition, my septum is still deviated to the right and I have some difficulty breathing out of the right nostril (the left is fine).

    How likely is a waiver, in this situation? Thank you in advance!

  17. Andrew says:

    Sorry, one more question! I saw a doctor for ear pain in October and he found evidence of mild chronic external otitis in my right ear. I have had no problems since that time, however. Is this also something I will likely need a waiver for?

  18. Urameshi says:

    Hi Navydoc,

    I really want to ask something from you.
    I used to have an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect) last 2007 but I already undergo cardiac catheterization which closes the hole between my 2 atrium. Right now, I’m living a healthy lifestyle, exercise for the preparation of joining the military service. I have a normal cardiac rate.

    I want to ask if the military will allow me to join. Oh by the way, I have a Bachelor’s degree and a license to work as a Nurse so if joining the military, certainly they will recruit me as an Officer.

    Looking forward to your reply NavyDoc :-)

  19. Urameshi says:

    NavyDoc, I also love to know what are the test procedures in Physical and Medical Exam. Like for example, is chest xray one of them, also with ECG?

  20. joe says:

    Navy Doc,

    During high school I shattered my radial head and had a titanium implant inserted in place of the radial head. After physical therapy I have full range of motion extension, flexion, pronation, and supination. Also I workout with weights 3-4 times a week with no limitations due to my elbow. I have been participating with cadets before leaving for LTC this summer (Army) and completed my first PFT with a 275. I and was wondering if I am going to be DQ’d at dodmerb and if so with a waiver if I will be able to still serve within the Military. Thanks for your time!

  21. Adam says:

    Navy Doc,

    During middle school I had Ulcerative Colitis, towards the end of freshman year I op’d for surgery which put an end to the UC. The surgery was to removed my entire colon. I had a very speedy recovery and have had no limitations set since (no meds for 4-5 years). I was able to keep in top physical shape and put weight back on. I know I would get DQ’d at Dodmerb but if I were to get a waiver would I still stand a chance at joining the military?

    Thank you for your response ahead of time.

  22. M says:

    I have 3 teeth missing. All of them are on the upper row, 1 on the left side and 2 on the right side. It does not cause pain or interfere with normal eating. Would this disqualify me? Is it better to just go to MEPs as is or should I fix it first? Would I be able to get 2 dental implants prior to going to MEPs? If I were to do that, would there be a waiting period before I can enlist? Would I have to provide MEPs with any paperwork for this dental implant, or as long as it’s healed before I get to MEPs, nothing more needs to be said or done?

  23. T says:

    My daughter just applied for the summer program for high school juniors. She has an irregular heartbeat (ventricular bigemony) but it is suppressed by exercise and doesn’t necessitate any restrictions on physical activity. Will this make her ineligible for the program?

  24. navydoc says:

    Andrew,
    Current nasal perforation is PDQ. It is very rare (with the exception of being common with chronic cocaine use) so I don’t know what your chances for waiver are.

  25. navydoc says:

    Andrew,
    Yes, chronic otitis externa is PDQ.

  26. navydoc says:

    Urameshi,
    Whether or not you will need a waiver will depend on your exam and review of your medical records. With your history, at a minimum, if you were processing through my MEPS, I would require a cardiology consult with echocardiogram and ECG.

  27. navydoc says:

    joe,
    If you have a true implant, you will need a waiver. If it is just a plate and screw, the answer may be different. Submit your records for review.

  28. navydoc says:

    Adam,
    Both UC and total colectomy are PDQ and unlikely to receive a waiver from any service.

  29. navydoc says:

    M,
    The dental standards require that you have at least 20 healthy teeth, including 4 opposing incisors (two top and two bottome) and opposing molars on both sides.

  30. M says:

    Thank you for your response. I do have my 4 incisors, and my molars. I have 20 healthy teeth that have not had any dental work. Are teeth with silver fillings considered healthy or not? Would you advise that I get an implant or partial denture for at least the side missing 2 teeth or will it not matter since I meet the 20 teeth and incisor/molar requirement?

  31. Colin says:

    Hi when I was 14 I had kyphosis which was treated by doing physical therapy for about 6 months and I am doing great 5 years later and I am planing on joining will I be DQ for this .

  32. Emily says:

    I have depression. I had a diagnosis of ptsd resulting from rape 8 years ago. I get things done. I just graduated from college. I don’t take meds. Am I disqualified? Should I go get reevaluated for ptsd?

  33. Ben'sMom says:

    Hi NavyDoc,
    I appreciate you providing this Q&A service!

    My son (18 years old) has been processing for Navy and while at MEPS was told he has kyphosis. He’s been a competitive swimmer, so he’s always looked “normal” to us, especially relative to all his teammates. Anyway, xray tech or doc told my son that he was at about 60% on the Cobb scale, but sent him to an ortho for evaluation. Ortho deemed his condition fine for enlistment. Recruiter was sure the waiver would go through, based on the ortho’s opinion and statements by our family doctor as to my son’s back being stable and the condition having not progressed in 5 years. Our surprise came when we were told last week by the recruiter that Ben’s (my son) waiver has been “disapproved.” The recruiter said there was nothing more he could do. I have read the letter which states that the disapproval is “based on a review of available medical information.” I don’t know exactly what language was used in the ortho’s report, because I wasn’t there and we weren’t given a copy of the doctor’s diagnosis. But my reading of the letter from Navy Recruiting Command is that perhaps there wasn’t enough information to support a waiver, but that with better information the waiver might have been approved. There is nothing in the letter stating certain disqualification.

    Without getting into a lot more detail, my thought is that we should see another doctor for a second opinion. Would you say this is appropriate?

    Also, the recruiter told us that he doesn’t have Ben’s medical records and doesn’t know how he can get them for us. Could you advise as to how we can get copies? I think we do need this information so that we can move forward with another waiver attempt and/or application to another military branch, if that seems the best way to go.

    Thanks for any advice!!

  34. navydoc says:

    Colin,
    Kyphosis of greater than 50 degrees is PDQ. Waivers are not usually granted.

  35. navydoc says:

    Emily,
    Both depression and PTSD are DQ.

  36. navydoc says:

    Ben’sMom,

    Kyphosis of more than 50 degrees is DQ. Waivers are not usually granted by the Navy(as you have discovered). The best chance for a waiver would be the Army, but even that is a slim chance at best. The letter you received has the same language every letter from N3M has when dealing with waivers, and means that based on everything that was sent (including the orthopedic opinion) waiver was denied.

    Your son can ask for a copy of his MEPS records. The request must be in writing to the command’s information officer.

  37. Ben'sMom says:

    Thanks very much for your candid remarks. We’ll see if the Army might take him, otherwise…Plan C.
    Thanks again!!

  38. T says:

    Hi Navydoc – Thanks so much for offering this service. Sorry to be a noodge, but I think maybe you missed my query of last week? Thanks much.

    T says:
    March 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    My daughter just applied for the summer program for high school juniors. She has an irregular heartbeat (ventricular bigemony) but it is suppressed by exercise and doesn’t necessitate any restrictions on physical activity. Will this make her ineligible for the program?

  39. navydoc says:

    T,
    I deal only with military accessions, I have no knowledge of programs for high school students. Things like Sea Cadets and JROTC are not governed by military fitness standards.

  40. joe says:

    NavyDoc,

    It is a true implant where my bone “fused and grew” around the base of my implant to maximize stability. So it is a true implant and not a screw or plate, this is a good thing?

    Thanks for your response,
    Joe

  41. T says:

    Thanks much, Navydoc. Can I ask whether her condition as I’ve described it would be disqualifying for the Navy?

  42. joe says:

    NavyDoc,

    Also just to verify with you because opinions my differ what is a “true implant” in your medical opinion?

    Thank again,
    Joe

  43. navydoc says:

    T,

    Plates and screws are DQ only in the clavicle, elbow, and ankle, or if they are symptomatic or easily subject to trauma. All implants are PDQ, with waivers unlikely.

  44. navydoc says:

    T,
    Bigeminy is PDQ for military service.

  45. Bree says:

    Hi, I am interested in joining the Marines, but I have a history of Juvenile Dermatomyositis. Currently in remission. The muscle aspect of the disease has been in remission for 10 years now. Do you think I have a chance of getting a medical waiver? Should I even try talking to a recruiter. Thanks so much!

  46. navydoc says:

    Bree,
    Waiver for juvenile dermatomyositis would not be granted.

  47. joe says:

    NavyDoc,

    It is a true implant where my bone “fused and grew” around the base of my implant to maximize stability. So it is a true implant and not a screw or plate, this is a good thing?

    Thanks for your response,
    Joe

  48. Erica says:

    NavyDoc,

    I have mild controlled Crohn’s Disease with no complications/surgeries/etc, 1 hospitalization 7 years ago, and remission for the last 4 years. I have a BA and an Associates in Respiratory Therapy RRT licensed. I am interested in joining the Navy Medical Corps. Is there any possibility for a waiver for joining the Medical Corps?

    Thanks,
    Erica RRT

  49. les says:

    Hey navydoc. Is contact dermatitis disqualifying or is it only if the great irritant is something found in protective equipment?

  50. samuel [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Hey navy doc I’m 25 and when I was 15 I had both my valves replaced and I now take blood thinners, will I have any chance anywhere??

  51. Lynn says:

    Any chance I can be waivered for cartilage transplant to both knees due to Osteochondral defect? I’ve played Varsity sports since the surgeries with no issues.

  52. Ben says:

    Navydoc,

    I have Hyperthyroidism. I know that it requires 12+ months without medication or a problem with it to be even considered for a waiver. My question is that if I were to get a waiver to join the Navy, would I ever be able to get an SO contract to be a seal?

    Thanks,

    Ben

  53. navydoc says:

    joe,
    All implants are DQ.

  54. navydoc says:

    Erica,
    Chrohn’s disease id PDQ with waiver unlikely by any service.

  55. navydoc says:

    les,
    Contact derm is not necessarily DQ. It depends on the trigger and the severity.

  56. navydoc says:

    Samuel,
    Valve replacement and blood thinners are both DQ; waiver is not possible.

  57. navydoc says:

    lynn,
    Waiver is possible for history of cartilage repair/replacement for general accessions.

  58. navydoc says:

    Ben,
    Waiver for general accessions may be possible; waivers for SEAL are rarely every granted.

  59. Bruttz says:

    Looking for a little info..

    I am going to bootcamp for the Navy in less than 90days. I was denied a Spec Ops Contract from BUMED from aHead Injury I sustained 8 years ago when I was 12 years old, now I am 20.

    Can my BUMED be reevaluated later in my career?

  60. navydoc says:

    Bruttz,
    Every time you are up for re-enlistment it is possible to renegotiate your contract. It will be a matter of the needs of the Navy. Be aware, however, that there are rarely any waiver for SEALS.

  61. steve says:

    Navydoc,

    One year ago i fractured my femur and now have a plate and a screw located there. I have full range of motion and no physical problems what so ever. Would this be medically disqualifying from enlisting? If not would it be disqualifying from any special forces in any branch?

    Steve

  62. navydoc says:

    Steve,
    Hardware is not necessarily DQ unless it is integral to function. Hardware in the femur will DQ you from Airborne.

  63. Janie says:

    Navy Doc: My son had a football injury at the age of 16 in 2011 where his shoulder had a “posterior labral tear, a subchondral contusion to the anterior medial margin of the humeral head stating no displaced fracture” and MRI also stated “acromioclavicular joint is approximated downward with displacement of the acromion.” He was at MEPS today and was told to get copies of the records and a release statement from the doctor. We had been told by the recruiter if he didn’t have surgery not to worry about. Well, we have to worry about it. Will this DQ him from joining the Navy? He had physical therapy shortly afterwards for a few weeks and has had no issues since. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.

  64. david says:

    Navydoc,

    Could i apply for navy diver if i have prk eye surgery? My vision is slightly better than 20/200 nearsighted.

  65. Mike says:

    Navydoc,

    About 7 years ago I had a severe case of depression caused by several things. I got to the point I was suicidal and before I attempted anything, people got through to me and I signed myself into a hospital to seek proper care. After a few days, I was released and after approximately 3 months of counseling I had learned how to properly react to the stressors and problems that led to me becoming so depressed. I have not had any problems with major depression since then. Am I eligible to enlist or has that period in my life doomed me to not be able to go serve in the armed forces?

  66. Gio G says:

    navy doc,

    Im 19 years old an im really interested in joining the military. In April of 2013 I was diagnosed with a bulging disc in my thoracic spine which is really uncommon. I went to therapy for two months and I felt normal cause I didn’t have any problems before I was diagnosed. Their was one day that I was sore from my back that I couldn’t turn all the way and the therapist wrote down that I had 25% restriction which is not true. I can turn past what I reached that day the therapist saw me. I also went and got my medical records because my recruiter wanted them but after I read them I decided no to go to meps because I knew I was going to be disqualified. When I read them I noticed that some other doctor wrote that I had a herniated disc but when I went to talk to the back specialist he told me that it wasn’t herniated that it was just a bulge and that my condition was not bad, from a scale of 1- 10 he said that I was at about less than one,10 being the worse. what should I do? should I go to therapy again to show that I am improving? Im a pretty fit person I can score a 290 on the APFT. Could you tell me if I will be disqualify or if I have a chance at another branch to get this waive?

  67. navydoc says:

    Janie,
    By definition, labral tears cause shoulder instability, which is DQ; therefor your son will require a waiver. These are usually granted (except for the Marine Corps) if he has a positive orthopedic consultation.

  68. navydoc says:

    david,
    The qualifications after PRK are complex. Most people do fine, but some are disqualified if they have unstable refractions after surgery. I never recommend that someone have a procedure for the sole purpose of joining the military.

  69. navydoc says:

    Mike,
    Depression requiring inpatient treatment is DQ and unlikely to receive a waiver from any of the services.

  70. navydoc says:

    Gio G,
    Bulging and herniated discs that required treatment (such as PT) are DQ. Waiver is possible if you submit a current evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon.

  71. Diana says:

    My Navy recruit was pulled from bootcamp and sent to SEPS for hearing impairment in one ear. He has since applied for a waiver while there. The Dr. told him he couldn’t remember the last time a waiver was approved for hearing. Do you know if it is possible to revoke a waiver since the likely hood of him getting approved is slim anyway. Have you heard of anyone revoking their waver request?

  72. navydoc says:

    Diana,
    The Navy does not give waivers for hearing loss below the fitness standards.

  73. Kathryn says:

    I have Crohn’s disease, but it has been completely in remission since I started taking Humira over a year ago. Are there any options open for me in the military?
    Thank you for any information!

  74. navydoc says:

    Kathryn,

    None of the services will give a waiver for Crohn’s disease that requires treatments with biologics like Humira.

  75. Alicia says:

    I was wondering that if I had a neck fusion involving only two vertebral spaces, would I still be able to join the Navy or the NROTC. It says specifically that spinal Fusion, GREATER than two vertebral spaces, congenital or surgical involving any number of vertebrae, by any method would be DQ, but I only have two. I am able to play sports perfectly fine and I can do all the things I could do before the fusion, but I would like to know.

  76. navydoc says:

    Alicia,

    All surgical fusions of the cervical vertebrae are PDQ, as are all fusions with hardware. There are no waivers.

  77. Alicia says:

    Thanks for your response, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying. I am as physically fit as ever and all I want to do is serve in the medical corp.

  78. Dee says:

    My 17 year pld daughter would like to join the Marines. For the past 2 1/2 years she has had syncopal episodes and racing heart beat. She was finally diagnosed with SVT and had cardiac ablation Jan. 2014. She has only had one episode since the surgery and will not be officially considered cured for another year. Additionally she has been diagnosed with postural tremors and suffers from motion sickness. Are these DQ conditions? Thank you for your time and expertise.

  79. navydoc says:

    Dee,
    If SVT was the cause of your daughter’s problems, and it was properly treated, she should not be having any further episodes of syncope. Recurrent syncope within the past 2 years is DQ. Postural tremors are also DQ. Motion sickness is not an issue.

    Your daughter should concentrate on regaining her health, then once the issues have resolved, she can inquire about joining the Marines.

  80. amy says:

    My son had foot surgery 4 years ago for several broken foot bones. No hardware was left in. He has done excellent since with no range of motion issues or any other problems. Will he be DQ from serving in the Navy? Thank you!

  81. navydoc says:

    amy,

    Foot surgery for broken bones, with or without retained hardware, is not DQ, as long as he has had good recovery and normal function.

  82. Zach says:

    Navydoc,

    I have somewhat of a unique/complicated situation. I went to MEPS in 2012 and incorrectly stated I was allergic to wheat (made a false assumption, think I was just ingesting too much supplementary protein at the time). I have since 1) received paperwork from both a gastro Dr. and allergy Dr. stating that I have no food allergies/issues, and 2) received LASIK (see 20/20 or 20/25 out of each eye now).

    Those are two waiver requests right there. A third, moral waiver, would be required for a minor run-in with the law (misdemeanor, not drug-related) in 2012 as well.

    Finally, I have a very slight nystagmus in my right eye (see MANMED 379.50). I have paperwork from a neuro-ophthalmologist stating that it does not affect my visual acuity insofar as dropping it lower than 20/25 in either eye, and that it is not progressive.

    With the goal to do Naval Special Warfare (SEAL), and understanding that per SpecOp MANMED 15-84 visual acuity must be at least 20/25 in each eye (which it is despite the very slight nystagmus), what are your thoughts? Are 3-4 waivers too many? If so, would the Army look at me for SpecWar? I’d add that I am 26, a college graduate, bilingual (Spanish), scored a 93 on my ASVAB in 2012, and am an avid triathlete.

    Thank you very much for any insight you could provide.

    Zach

  83. Tanya says:

    My son tore his meniscus in 2011 and had surgery. He continues to play soccer
    And swim competitively. Will this be reason for DQ?

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