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Medical Conditions Normally Not Waiverable

Medical Issues Not Normally Waivered

Updated: October 15, 2017

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 taxpayer’s money.

Before posting a question, please take the time to read through the comments because you may already had your specific question answered via someone else’s question.

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

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), AIDS Related Complex (ARC), HIV Antibody, or history of any of the above.
  • Single kidney – regardless of cause.
  • Loss of an arm or leg.
  • Seizure disorder with seizure and/or medication within five years.
  • History of Cancer with treatment within five years (except basal cell carcinoma).
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type I or Type II.
  • Loss of one eye.
  • History of Cataract surgery.
  • History of any Keratoconus (protrusion of the cornea).
  • History of Glaucoma.
  • History of Aphakia (lens replacement of the eye).
  • Severe Allergic reaction (Anaphylaxis) to insects or food.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • Corneal transplant history.
  • Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (Intestinal ulcers).
  • Severe deformities of the mouth, throat, or nose that interfere with speech or mastication of ordinary food.
  • Severe Scoliosis (spine curvature greater than 30 degrees) or Kyphosis and Lordosis (greater than 50 degrees) when measured by the Cobb Method.
  • History of eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia.
  • Headaches, recurrent, severe, which require prescription medication or interfere with daily activity.
  • Hepatitis, chronic: Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C carrier.
  • Malignant Hyperthermia/Hyperpyrexia (adverse reaction to anesthesia).
  • Multiple Sclerosis (nerve disease involving muscle weakness and uncoordination) and Muscular Dystrophy (progressive atrophy/wasting of the muscles).
  • Severe orthopedic injuries that result in functional limitations secondary to residual muscle weakness, paralysis, or marked decreased range of motion.
  • Otitis Media (middle ear infection/inflammation), chronic or currently active.
  • Pes Cavus (abnormally high arches of the feet with increased extension of the toes), severe, symptomatic (other than routine orthotic use).
  • Pneumonectomy, removal of entire lung.
  • Pregnancy (except for prior service processing for affiliation).
  • Prosthetic replacement of joints.
  • Psychiatric Conditions: Schizophrenia; Major Depression, recurrent; Bipolar Disorder; Panic disorders; Sexual disorders; and Personality disorders, severe.
  • History of Retinal disease or detachment.
  • Chronic skin disorders. Atopic dermatitis, Eczema, Psoriasis.
  • Spinal Fusion, greater than two vertebral spaces, congenital or surgical involving any number of vertebrae, by any method.
  • Current drug and/or alcohol abuse or diagnosed substance dependence.
  • History of Neurofibromatosis.
  • Congenital (birth) heart defects that have not been repaired.
  • History of intestinal bypass or stomach stapling.
  • Severe head injury within the past five years.
  • Anabolic Steroid Use within the previous two months is not enlistment eligible.

If you have hypothyroidism that is controlled by medication, and you have two normal thyroid stimulating hormone tests within the preceding 6 months, you do not require a waiver for the condition because it is NOT disqualifying. You will be able to continue your medication for the condition during boot-camp.

A note to everyone: NavyDoc is a Chief Medical Officer for a major Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), and only takes into account the information you provide, so please be as thorough as you can with the history and description of your issue.



7,466 Responses to “Medical Issues Not Normally Waivered”


  1. Navydoc says:

    Patrick,
    I don’t deal with active duty personnel.

  2. Navydoc says:

    Simon,
    Every recruit knows that a “little nod” can get them a ticket home for a psychiatric issue. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you knew exactly what you were doing during that psychiatric hospitalization and didn’t fight the mental health discharge. Now you are faced with the repercussions of that short sighted decision. Waiver will be almost impossible.

  3. Navydoc says:

    Destiny,
    Meningocele is PDQ. If it has been surgically removed and you have no neurological defects, waiver may be possible.

  4. Navydoc says:

    Dena,
    If the army denied a waiver, Navy is unlikely to grant one.

  5. Simon says:

    Thank you very much doc for your timely response, and for giving me encouragement saying that it would be possible to get my waiver.

    My question is, based off of your knowledge, what course of action would you personally recommend? I have left a voicemail at BUMED navy waiver desk, without a response for over a month.

    -Simon

  6. jack says:

    is foraminal encroachment the same as foraminal stenosis?

  7. Simon says:

    Also Navy Doctor,

    You are 100% correct. I knew what I was doing when I made that nod. However, when I signed my page for an RE-3F JFC, I had absolutely no idea that it was a psych discharge. This is because I explained my reasoning for not wanting to be a nuke (i’m an outdoorsman), help family sort their issues out, and that I wanted to come back in the future with a different rate at the hospital.

    If I could go back, sit in seps and fight this I would. I was not given a chance at the time.
    If you knew of anyone in particular I could reach out to to assist in an appeal to my PDQ-I would be most grateful. I could also show you all of my documents.

    All the very best,
    Simon

  8. Navydoc says:

    Simon,
    No one at N3M will talk to you. Your only means of communication with MEPS or the waiver authority will be through a recruiter. Your first hurdle will be finding one who is willing to work with you, since you will need both medical and RE code waivers.

  9. Navydoc says:

    Jack,
    Yes.

  10. Joe [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Hello Navy Doc,

    I am 22 years old. I had surgery when I was born from a collapsed lung and asthma as a young child. I got over that and was completely fine. At the end of 2014, I was prescribed and I took medicine for asthma but because of a sickness causing shortness of breath. Asthma hasn’t bothered me since I was really little, but the doctor put that as the diagnosis and of course the medication was for asthma. Along with that prescription, I was given medicine of OCD however I am not OCD at all. The doctor believed that this was a little bit OCD because I had told them I washed my hands a lot but because I work with Raw Chicken everyday, however he still diagnosed and prescribed medication for such. Neither asthma nor OCD affects me, asthma when I was very little, and OCD never has been a thing.

    Second, in the end of 2016 I had a respiratory infection and he prescribed me three things to fight infection, but also an inhaler to help the breathing with the infection. Because of prior history when younger, they put a side diagnosis for asthma, but again I have not had a problem with that in years on years.

    I am very interested in joining the military and I am afraid that these things that have not affected me in years on years or not at all (OCD) will DQ me from my dream.

  11. Navydoc says:

    Joe,
    Asthma exacerbation within the past 3 years is PDQ, as is a history of ocd.

  12. Joe [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Right I see what you’re saying, however, I’m confused because I have not had an asthma attack in years on years since I was little. I was prescribed the thing for a respiratory infection. But because they put it on their as a diagnosis its PDQ? Same with OCD?

    Is there a chance in a waiver?

  13. Jack says:

    Dear Navy Doc,

    I have a quick question…I am a senior in college and want to commission into the Marines. My issue is that I was treated with a low dosage of anti-anxiety medication during high school 4-5 years ago. I know this is likely a disqualification, but will there be any chance of getting a waiver? I was never hospitalized, never required therapy, and never committed self harm. I even have a doctor’s note from my psychiatrist stating that I am off all medication and that I am fit for service.I am a 4.0 student at an SEC School, an athlete, and proficient in Mandarin Chinese. What are the odds I can get into the Corps, and will this medical history diminish my MOS Options?

  14. Simon says:

    Honorable Navy doc,

    Do you know what the Navy recruiter could do for me if after being rejected from N3M and MEPS?

  15. Navydoc says:

    Simon,
    You said your waiver was denied in 2015, so your physical is expired. Waivers will not be entertained without a current, valid MEPS physical. That means you have to get a recruiter now that will work with you to get you back to MEPS.

  16. Navydoc says:

    Joe,
    A respiratory infection resulting in a prescription for an inhaler is an exacerbation. Normal people rarely need inhalers for a cold, but asthmatics do, because the virus triggers wheezing.

  17. Navydoc says:

    Jack,
    Submit your records for review.

  18. Simon says:

    Doc,

    MEPS turned me down for a physical 2 weeks ago with the army. Can the Navy recruiter get me back?

    V/R,
    Simon

  19. Navydoc says:

    Simon,
    As I said, chances for a waiver are slim. I doubt any service will give you a waiver. You can ask a navy recruiter to submit your records but they may not want to bother.

  20. Matthew says:

    Navy Doc,

    I had an arthroscopic labral repair on each hip 6 years ago in college from impingement, and have not had any problems since.

    Additionally, I had a bulging L4L5 disc that did not require surgery and no longer affects anything.

    I completed 5 years of college water polo and am extremely active now. Is there a good chance of getting a waiver approved for these past issues?

    Thank you,
    Matt

  21. Ang says:

    I have toe nail fungus, with I be disqualified for this in MEPS?

  22. jack says:

    “Degenerative changes such as you described will be considered depending on review of the imaging, treatment, and current function. Submit your records for review.”

    Do you mind elaborating further on the imaging and treatment portion of this? Thanks.

  23. Navydoc says:

    jack,
    You would need to go to medical school to learn about imaging and treatment options. Submit your records for review.

  24. Navydoc says:

    Ang,
    Depends on the severity.

  25. Navydoc says:

    Matthew,
    Your chance is either 100% or 0%, because it’s either granted or denied. Waivers are based on the NEEDS OF THE SERVICE. So something that was waived last week may not be waived next month.

  26. Eric [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    When you say the waiver authority approves our waivers based on needs. Like one waiver approved last week couldn’t get approved next month. Do our recruiters know that’ before submission ? Like do they know it’s based on needs of service ? Or do they, like us, submit them with hopes for approval?

  27. Simon says:

    Doc,

    Do you have any experience with BCNR?

  28. Marie says:

    My son has Aspergers. He does not take medication nor does he receive accommodations at school. He’s in the top 25% of his class. Is this an automatic disqualification or is a waiver possible?

  29. Taylor says:

    Hello,

    I am looking to go into OCS Army. In 2004, I was honorably discharged from the Air Force. I had migraines. They performed a lumbar puncture which was unremarkable. Am I able enter into the Army?

    Thanks,

    Taylor

  30. Scott says:

    Navy Doc,

    In 2015 I broke my tibia/fibula, and have an intramedullary rod in my tibia which my orthopedic surgeon said will stay in there. He said my leg has healed perfectly and I have no physical limitations. In the NAMI waiver guide under the orthopedics section it says “retained hardware in the upper and lower extremities may be NCD provided there has been resolution of the underlying orthopedic problem, that the hardware is not subject to trauma, is intact and in the intended location, and does not weaken the bony structure” and that “removal is not warranted after fracture healing” for hardware like mine.

    Is hardware in the tibia usually considered disqualifying? The waiver guide makes it seem like it may not be disqualifying. If it is, are waivers for this often approved? I’m applying to Navy OCS.

    Thank you

  31. Navydoc says:

    Scott,
    IM rods are not DQ, although they may be DQ for certain rates (like SO).

  32. Navydoc says:

    Taylor,
    If you were medically discharged for migraines, or if you are collecting VA disability for migraines, you will be PDQ.

  33. Navydoc says:

    Marie,
    I have never seen a service grant a waiver for someone with Aspergers, no matter how high functioning.

  34. Navydoc says:

    Simon,
    BCNR is for people who have a complaint that their type of discharge is incorrect. BCNR will not change your medical history, which is the reason you are not eligible for a waiver.

  35. Navydoc says:

    Eric,
    Of course the recruiters know that waivers are based on the needs of the service. Waivers, whether medical or admin, exist for the sole reason of enabling the services to take disqualified applicants in order to meet mission needs in times when there are not enough fully qualified applicants.

  36. Eric [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Will that have any affect on the recruiter’s decision to move forward with any waiver processing ? I know what I’m asking is sort of annoying but i am just curious as to would a recruiter push for a waiver if the needs of the service weren’t high? Or would they be honest and frank and tell you if a waiver is likely or not at the moment

  37. Simon says:

    Doc,

    My discharge is based off of medical history. I spoke with someone yesterday on the phone, they will address the medical separation as they see fit based off of the medical history. I wouldn’t waiste my time if I didn’t have just cause.

    All the very best,
    Simon

  38. Navydoc says:

    Simon,
    If you spent the night on a psych ward, it doesn’t matter what your DD 214 says (BCNR addresses your RE code, reason for discharge and character of service, nothing more.) You can, of course, petition to have those changes considered, but you will still be PDQ and waiver will still be unlikely.

  39. Aristotle says:

    Dear, Navy doc
    I got disqualified for having hand tremors back in 2014. I’m finishing college at the moment and eventually want to attend Navy OCS with a pilot slot. Is there a chance that I could bypass with a waiver for having hand tremors? Would having mild hand tremors stop me from getting a pilot slot even though I have already obtained a FAA first class medical certificate and my private pilots license?

    Thank you,
    Aristotle

  40. Simon says:

    Doc,

    A night in the psych ward carries with it some very much unnecessary weight, and with that a grossly inaccurate reason for discharge and character of service. It is as if the doctors felt that they needed to hose me with false conclusions in order to justify the process. With all of my heart, I seek to change that. I will let you know the developments of my journey. Thank you for your knowledge.

    All the very best,
    Simon [Last name redacted for privacy]

  41. Angel says:

    Good morning Navy Doc,

    I left the Navy back in 2011 to go to school and was diagnosed with 10% tinnitus and 50% insomnia, adjustment disorder with anxiety. Will this hurt my chances of going back in the Navy. I do not and was never assigned any medical or mental health medications. A few years ago, I sought therapy due to marital stress but that is all. I am concerned however, that because of my rating, I will be denied entry to the Navy. Can you tell me what my chances are of being able to get back in because of my service-connected, thank you.

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