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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.

7,156 Responses to “Medical Issues Not Normally Waivered”

  1. Navydoc says:

    I didn’t say MCRD can’t do ETP waivers. I said I have no clue what that is, because all USMC medical waivers must come from BUMED. There are things I don’t know; this is something I’ve never heard of before.

    Individuals requiring medical waivers for any reason cannot have an airborne contract out of MEPS. Once you have graduated boot camp, you can ask to reclassify as airborne, but that is based on the needs of the service, and is not guaranteed

  2. Navydoc says:

    Physical findings trump radiologic findings. So if you have symptoms, exam findings consistent with stenosis, they will most likely go with that diagnosis. Obviously your medical records will be carefully reviewed.

  3. Joe says:

    I have a history of patellar dislocations (2) in my left knee. Both instances were traumatic events caused by impact (not just walking up the stairs), and my knee has been full strength for years. I got a waiver through DoDMERB for the Naval Academy, but I am curious how likely a waiver would be for BUD/S. My end goal is to become a SEAL, but I do not want this injury to prevent me from doing so.

    How different would this specific waiver process be for an officer trying to get into BUD/S as opposed to an enlisted?

    I would appreciate any help.

  4. james says:

    what symptoms/exam findings would be consistent with stenosis that would not also be consistent with disc herniation? I am pretty confident my current physician says stenosis solely because of radiological findings (i.e. presence of spurring). Assuming the dx of stenosis is accepted, would this likely further decrease chances of waiver for chaplaincy?

  5. navydoc says:

    As a general rule, SEaLs do not give medical waivers. Officers are always held to a higher standard than enlisted, but the process is the same.

  6. navydoc says:

    Hyperreflexia, clonus, abnormal tandem walk, Hoffmans, Babinski are all clinical signs of cervical stenosis. Things like numbness, tingling and weakness are found in both HNP and stenosis. Hyporeflexia would be more likely in HNP.

  7. james says:

    So, absent those symptoms/exam findings corresponding to stenosis, would a diagnosis of stenosis be considered valid by waiver authority? Should I question my physician on this matter and have him/her test me for these symptoms in an attempt for a revision of dx? And would a dx of stenosis further decrease my chances of waiver (in addition to cervical HNP)?

  8. Navydoc says:

    I can’t read the waiver authority’s mind. Submit your records and wait for the official answer.

  9. james says:

    is spinal stenosis or neuro-foraminal stenosis PDQ in and of itself? likelihood of waiver for these conditions?

  10. Navydoc says:

    Yes. Slim.

  11. G says:

    I was hoping you could go into some detail regarding prescription orthotic use for flat feet in the navy.
    Thank you

  12. Navydoc says:

    There’s nothing to go into. The mere use of orthotics is not DQ.

  13. Alex [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    I haven’t needed to use my asthma pump since I was 12 but my records show they have kept being prescribed to me as a precaution, and even when I used to have asthma it only occurred in spring with all the pollen. Also I have a minor peanut allergy I can touch it, breath in the fumes, and even eat small amounts but it makes my throat itch a lot. My recruiter says I might be DQ can I get waiver?

  14. MamaC says:

    Hi there. Thanks for doing this to help folks get their ducks in a row.

    Son is graduating with his BS in Engineering. He wants to go to med school and serve in the Navy. He has some food allergies, nuts and shellfish mainly. And had asthma years ago, seems to have outgrown it. Run fine. Healthy otherwise. How do the requirements differ for this type of situation where he wants to be a surgeon?


  15. khkv says:


    I’ve read through this board to try and find an answer but have not. I was diagnosed with anxiety and secondary was possible PTSD for about a year or so- and was on medication to help control it while i was working through the trauma those events caused me. This diagnosis came about because i was raped at 12 years old and the same person attempted to do it again when i was 18. I am trying to go to OCS but now i’m worried this will stop me. Is there any chance at all to getting a waiver? Does a waiver even exist for this? The only other thing i’ve seen through all of my research is to lie about it and not even report it but 1. I’m not willing to lie and take that risk and 2. It was all done at a navy hospital so they already own my records. I’d rather try and work my ass of to get a waiver than try to cover it up…any help or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

  16. Ria says:

    I’m hoping to join the Navy (or just, the military, but I’m particularly interested in the Navy) but a few years back I had a run in with self harm and have a decent amount of scars. My recruiter told me it’s probably waiverable, but I don’t want to get my hopes up just to have my dreams crushed. What are my odds? It’s been a good year and a half to two years that I’ve been completely clean, and I’m very mentally healthy now.
    I know recruiters tend to be salesman. So I’m looking for someone to shoot straight.
    A hopeful future pilot

  17. navydoc says:

    History of self harm is automatically PDQ. Waivers are considered on a case by case basis, but it is unlikely that you would be granted a waiver for pilot training in any service.

  18. navydoc says:

    Waivers for anxiety are only considered after a minimum of 24 months off all treatment (medication and/or counseling). PTSD is PDQ. Officer candidate positions are highly competitive, and usually not offered to those who require medical waivers.

  19. navydoc says:

    The medical fitness standards are the same for officers and enlisted. HPSP is an extremely competitive program.

  20. navydoc says:

    You cannot have a prescription for any type of asthma medication for a minimum of 3 years.

  21. JARED says:

    I was disharged form Navy boot camp after a knee and leg injury. I was given code RE4. Was this step necessary or did I get “railroaded” so to speak. I’ve always wondered why I was given this code, I never got any answers before they shipped me out.

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    What is your three letter separation code listed on your DD-214?

  23. TJ says:

    I am 31 years old and I have dreamed of joining the military for years… Just had to wait for my wife to get out of the FLNG. I recently found out that I have HPV is this going to disqualify me or can i get a waiver?

  24. Marty says:

    I broke my hand which required a surgery and 2 pins to be put in. I have no problems with my hand now and can run a 300 PFT. Will this require a waiver/ what are the chances of my waiver being approved? Thank you.

  25. Navydoc says:

    You must have the warts treated.

  26. Navydoc says:

    Hardware in the hand, in and of itself , is not PDQ.

  27. Chris says:

    can you pass meps with athletes foot? and do they inspect the bottom of your feet very carefully?

  28. Navydoc says:

    Yes, your feet will be carefully examined. Athletes foot is contagious you need to get it treated prior to going to MEPS.

  29. Alex says:

    I currently take anti-anxiety medication. In order to join, do I have to have documentation that I stopped taking the medication or can I just quit cold turkey?

  30. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Your question has been discussed numerous times in the past. No, you cannot just stop the use of the medication and join. Yes, you must have all your medical documents reviewed by MEPS before you can process. The stopping of medication needs to be under the advisement of your doctor. For anxiety, a minimum of two years post treatment must pass before you will be considered. Please use the search function.

  31. Bri says:

    I just found out(yesterday) that I was PDQ’d from the Air Force. I am or was a dual track applicant, still awaiting results from this coming officers board. During my first visit to MEPS for the enlisted side, I made it through the entire physical until the end where the doctor wanted me to go for a full eye consult on base. I did and went back to MEPS to deliver the results from that eye consult. The MEPS doctor told me I was “exceptionally” qualified except for my eyes, which are above the +/-8 diopters. My left eye is -10 and my right is -9.75. The MEPS doctor recommended a waiver but it is not up to him as it was going up to SG. Now I really wanted to join the Air Force but seeing that is no longer an option, I am looking into the Navy because I want to join the military. My question, is it likely I will be able to join the Navy with my current eye prescription?

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