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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.



7,268 Responses to “Medical Issues Not Normally Waivered”


  1. navydoc says:

    Dylan,
    Early depolarization in an asymptomatic young person is normal, and not DQ.

  2. Navydoc says:

    Nathan,
    History of ocd is PDQ and requires waiver. If you have 5+ years off all treatment, your chances are good for waiver.

  3. Joel says:

    Sorry for the post again; I’m just trying to get information. My recruiter is refusing to process me unless I don’t disclose my adhd. I absolutely refuse to do so.

    I last took Adderall a month ago but, prior to that, I haven’t taken it for 7 months(due to lack of health insurance). During those 7 months, I can’t to the conclusion that I functioned better without medication. My doc said give it one more try, but it only reinforces my decision. He agreed that it might have been a misdiagnosis. I haven’t been on the medication for more than 2 years. I’ve had my job for 2 years. I never had any behavioral issues. With a good ASVAB score, would I get considered for a waiver? Or how does it work?

  4. Navydoc says:

    Joel,
    1) report your recruiter to the recruiting commander. Unethical recruiters are the bane of the enlistment process
    2) you must be off meds for 12 months before waiver will be considered. Time starts from that single dose you took a month ago

  5. Joel says:

    Thank you so much for the response, Navydoc! That will put me at a timeframe of November this year. I’ll be 27 this year, and 28 in August of 2019. Will I time out waiting for a waiver?

  6. Navydoc says:

    Joel,
    I don’t know what you mean by “time out.”

  7. Joel says:

    My apologies; I mean will I become too old to enlist? The maximum age is 28 to enlist in the marines.

  8. Nate says:

    Navy Doc,
    I am prior service. I served 4 years active Air Force and 5 years in the Air National Guard. While in the Guard with the approval of the Guard I donated a kidney. I served another year before I got out. I on my NG Form 22 under the “Reenlistment Eligibility” box it states that I am “Eligible”. I was also told that I decided to reenlist to finish out my career that I would be eligible. I am healthy and my kidney function is normal. What are your thoughts on whether or not I would be able to get back in?

  9. Navydoc says:

    Nate,
    Missing a kidney for any reason is PDQ. If you have been out for more than 6 months, you must meet accessions standards, not retention standards. So you will need a waiver. I have never seen a waiver for missing kidney, but I have also not seen your particular set of circumstances. All you can do is see if a recruiter will work the waiver for you.

  10. Nate says:

    That is my next step. I am planning on contacting a recruiter to see what happens. Thank you for your input.
    Nate

  11. Alec says:

    I was abused as a child and got burned which lead to getting a skin graft. I’m currently 20 and trying to get into the navy and MEPs wants me to get the medical documents from the skin graft but I can’t get them because the hospital got rid of the documents because it happened 18 years ago. How to I get into the NAVY if I can’t get the med docs that they are asking for ?

  12. Kevin says:

    I had a grade 3 seperation from rugby that required surgery using cadaver ligaments. I was cleared by my surgeon to start working out again and he said it should not be a problem and I am back to full strength. The surgery was 7 months ago and I am able to run,do sit ups,and do push ups. Would a waiver commonly be granted in my situation?

  13. Navydoc says:

    Alec,
    Get a notarized statement from the hospital’s medical records custodian stating that records are not available. Then submit your entire pediatric record.. your pediatrician’s record should contain info about your past medical history, including the abuse and skin grafts. Most states require pediatric records to be held a minimum of 5 years after you turn 18, so you are well within that statute of limitations.

  14. Alec says:

    It was a hospital visit not a normal pediatrician, and when I called them letting them know my situation they looked through their records and said that they have nothing on me, no records, not even information saying that I’ve been a patient there it’s been so long. I guess what I’m asking is what happens if I can’t get ahold of any of this. Are my dreams of joining the navy over ? Also why does MEPS need this information when it happened 18 years ago ?

  15. Navydoc says:

    Alec,
    Children have pediatricians. You should have been seeing a pediatrician on a regular basis throughout your childhood, and those records will have info about your skin graft, even if the hospital records have been purged.

  16. Alec says:

    Navydoc,
    My bad, I was confused. I have gotten records from my pediatrician addressing another issue and those records included information about the grafts and they didn’t accept it. They asked for a current evaluation of the burns and the hospital records for them. I went and got a physical checkup and was cleared by a doctor and explained how I couldn’t get the other records requested and they still demand I acquire the records.

  17. Navydoc says:

    Alec,
    Don’t “explain;”. Get the notarized statement from the source. Applicants lie to us all the time. So we require documentation from the source that records have been purged.

  18. Alec says:

    They can’t write a letter saying they’ve been purged if they can’t prove I was a patient there because they purged my documents of me being there that’s the issue I’m in. Me and my recruiter are both lost at what to do.

  19. Navydoc says:

    Alec,
    I get letters all the time that say things like “no records on Mr. John Doe found. Records are purged after 10 years”. Totally acceptable as documentation.

  20. Alec says:

    Navydoc,
    Okay thank you very much for your help!!

  21. John says:

    My son has been going through the enlistment process and needed a waiver for a DUI from 3 years ago. He completed all terms. He had d/c note from counselor stating he completed the court ordered 16 sessions of drug and alcohol group sessions. They wanted notes on all 16 sessions counselor didn’t have that, he provided an assessment that r/o mood disorder, OCD, PTSD, and no etoh dependency. My son said he had a hx of OCD (which he does not he threw the term around like ADD in jest) he has never been diagnosed nor prescribed medication. 7 years ago, however, he briefly was on medication and was briefly prescribed some low dose meds which he took for less than a month. (Don’t think he was asked about that.) The counselor has given us everything he has, he doesn’t remember my son it was a group and he only has the D/C document and assessment. Will they keep him out?
    x

  22. John says:

    Navy Doc…sorry…to clarify. The medications he was on for approximately 1 month was in 2011. He has had no further issues, was some anxiety and depression of a situational nature.

  23. navydoc says:

    John,
    He will need to submit the medical records about his anxiety and depression issues.

  24. John says:

    Yes…we figured that, given the length of time ago…your best bet as to possibility of a waiver? And thank you!

  25. navydoc says:

    John,
    The reason I answered the question the way I did is that I can’t opine on a condition about which I only have vague information (“some anxiety and depression of a situational nature”)

    DUI is more of an administrative issues, unless substance abuse or other mental health issues are diagnosed, which I can’t tell without reading medical records.

  26. Jean says:

    Looking to join Air Guard. ASVAB scores 99. Past all physical requirements except: history of torn labrum in two years ago. Had Surgery for repair more than a year ago. Currently: Full range of motion, no issues. At MEPS received PDQand I have sent in a waiver request. My question is “have waivers been approved for labrum tears and is this common”?
    Thanks.

  27. Boogs says:

    Trying to get in the Air Force. I submitted my medical records and they were sent back asking for more documentation, once I got the “extra documentation” for a jaw surgery. Now it has to be sent to the General Surgeon? how long does it typically take to hear back from the GS?

  28. Kenlee says:

    Thinking about joining the Air Force as an officer. I graduated from Texas A&M with my bachelors in psychology. During college, I worked two jobs and would stay up all night studying. My doctor put me on Xanax to help me wind down each night, which is when I took it. I was on prescription Xanax for 5 years. Is it even possible to enlist after being on that medication for that long? If so, when would I be eligible to try to enlist?

  29. navydoc says:

    Kenlee,
    Xanax is not to help with “winding down.” It is an anti-anxiety drug. Your medical records will need to be reviewed to see what your actual diagnosis was. Xanax for anxiety for 5 years would be unlikely to be waived.

    And officers don’t enlist, they commission.

  30. navydoc says:

    Boogs,
    6-8 weeks.

  31. navydoc says:

    Jean,
    Labral tears have been discussed dozens of times. Use the search engine.

  32. Ben says:

    So the letter saying I’m healed won’t help at all sir ?

  33. Joey says:

    Hey, So i’m trying to go for pararescue in the airforce. I also have Chronic exertional compartment syndrome in both of my anterior shin muscles. recruiter said to wait a year before enlisting to show this won’t cause any problems in the future. Is the CECS going to permanently disqualify me or is that waivable?

    I see people have talked about CECS but I can’t find an answer whether its waivable with a year or so to show it’s good to go.

  34. Joey says:

    Oh and does the same answer go for the other services?

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Joey,

    I don’t know the answer to your current question, but you must wait a minimum of five years after the seizure you had back in 2013 before you can be considered, and then, minimally, you would require a waiver for the anxiety you were given medications for a few years ago.

  36. Joey says:

    Yeah, the 5 years thing is coming up and anxiety thing was given as a sleep aid for some reason. I never had a history of being anxious. My only concern right now is the surgery for the CECS. The Sports medicine doctor stated that the seriousness of the condition is even less than wisdom teeth or tonsils but for some reason people are getting PDQ’d for it so I’m a bit concerned. Thank you for such a quick reply. Do you know where I can go to find out that answer?

  37. Aja says:

    Will an episode of pettaller tendinitis two years ago, be a disqualification and require a waiver. Currently pain free no residue symptoms.

  38. Sam says:

    Hi there! I am hoping to do apply for the navy OCS flight program.

    3 issues:

    – got prescription medication for GERD in oct 17
    – got diagnosed with acute stress disorder from anxiety regarding a recent break up, sought 3 counseling sessions as treatment in Jan 18
    – insomnia medication for unable to sleep in Jan 18

    Am I fit for MEPS?

    Thanks doc!

  39. Sam says:

    *** additional info: I don’t use any of the medication for either insomnia or GERD…. how do I prove that I no longer use the medication when I still have the medication?

    ALSO:

    -If an applicant forgets to mention a condition, is this an issue at MEPS?

    -And Are self-pay medical records (non insurance) traceable?

    These questions have been keeping me up at night!

    Many, many thanks.

    Sam

  40. navydoc says:

    Joey,
    Compartment syndrome from any cause (exertional or traumatic) is PDQ. With your combination of PDQ conditions–seizures, anxiety with xanax use for 5 years, CECS, you are not a good candidate for waivers.

  41. Navydoc says:

    Aja,
    It will depend on how long your symptoms lasted and how well your recovery/treatment went. Submit your medical records for review.

  42. Navydoc says:

    Sam,
    The acute stress reaction and insomnia will be a problem.

    MEPS won’t go searching for your records, but you are required by law to tell the truth and provide them for review.
    Great Lakes WILL pull all of your records, and if you “forgot” something significant, they will discharge you for fraudulent enlistment. Google “ship 5” and read the stories of all the people who lied to MEPS and see how that worked out for them.

  43. Mike says:

    Applying for instructor position as an officer, granted an age waiver by the recruiting office. They say a medical waiver is necessary for a few items.

    1 – Surgery for torsion (the male kind)
    2 – Hospitalization from car wreck, no broken bones or tissue damage.
    3 – Work related fatigue and sleep anxiety from 90 hr work weeks.

    No recurring injuries or complications from any of these. All were over 2 years ago.

    #3, no official mental health diagnosis that I know about. 2-3 rounds of medications were prescribed by psychiatrist, some type of antihistamine, and no complications after about 2-3 months.

    All the medical records offices are in the process of sending medical histories to the recruiting office. What are the chances of a medical waiver for these?

  44. Marion says:

    Navy Doc, I am prior Navy and am looking to rejoin the service. Will having your gallbladder removed automatically disqualify you? I has mine removed to years ago. Thanks.

  45. Tom says:

    Hello, my son was recently P/DQ for a sleep walking episode when he first enrolled in college. is there a process for a waiver for this type of disqualification?

  46. Michael says:

    Hello,

    I am applying to a 3 year HPSP program; I am currently a first year medical student. I saw a primary doctor and was diagnosed with depression with anxiety 3 months ago and was given Escitalopram (an SSRI). Would I be able to get a medical waiver?

    Thank you for your time!

  47. navydoc says:

    Tom,
    Sleepwalking is not usually waived by the Navy due to the hazards such an individual poses on a ship.

  48. navydoc says:

    Marion,
    As long as you did not have gall bladder induced pancreatitis, which is DQ, Cholecystectomy more than 6 months ago is fine.

  49. navydoc says:

    Mike,
    Your info is very vague
    -torsion is not DQ unless they had to remove a testicle
    -You don’t spend 3 days in the hospital if you don’t have injuries
    -You don’t get put on psychiatric medication without a psychiatric diagnosis. 90 hour + work weeks are par for the course on deployment

    You will need to submit a complete copy of your medical records for review.

  50. Mike says:

    Navydoc,

    Thank you for the reply and for all the information on your blog, it helps.

  51. Navydoc says:

    Michael,
    You do not qualify for waiver while being actively treated for depression and anxiety. You must be off all treatment for 3 years for depression and 2 years for anxiety. Even then, HPSP is extremely competitive, and applicants with waivers are rarely selected for these coveted scholarships since there are plenty of qualified candidates.

  52. Marion says:

    Thanks Navy Doc, I had neither of those issues.

    Another question I have is what about diastasis recti. Is that a disqualifier? I have not been diagnosed with it but I’m pretty sure I have it. Is that something that can be waved if found?

    Thanks again

  53. Art says:

    Navydoc,

    We just found out that my waiver for retained hardware that I previously posted about was approved by BUMED (much to my surprise) and I have the letter in hand. Is there anything else I’ll have to do for medical either now or at OCS (if I’m selected), or is it just wait for selection boards?

    Thank you.

  54. Navydoc says:

    Art,
    The waiver should go into your medical record at MEPS (it should most definitely not be in your possession). Until it has been signed by the cmo and documented in MIRS, it Is useless.

  55. Art says:

    Navydoc,

    I’m assuming my OSO/OSA handled the aspect of sending it to the liaison at MEPS for filing and approval by the CMO, but I’ll confirm that. They made it sound like everything was good to go. Is that something I would have to do in person, or would they be able to do that without me being involved? Also, as far as having the letter, they just forwarded me an email that had the letter attached, so any original is definitely not in my possession.

    Thank you.

  56. bibby says:

    8 years ago, i broke my jaw. i have a plate and screws in my chin as a result, and also had extensive dental surgery. I had 4 molars removed at the time (meaning i’ll keep my wisdom teeth), i have a fake front tooth, and also had a root canal on the same tooth. I’ve had no problems since the incident and my last surgery was the root canal about 5 years ago. What are my chances of getting a waiver considering all of this? Most of it doesn’t need a waiver, but does the sheer number of incidents make it less likely? Again i have no recurring problems and everything is completely healed.
    Thank you in advance!

  57. Charles says:

    NavyDoc,

    I am an active duty army ICU nurse considering getting out of the Army in a year to pursue an opportunity to attend medical school. I would like to attend medical school through the Army or enter back into the Army once complete. However, while in the Army I was diagnosed with low back pain and plantar fasciitis. I have not had any surgeries; however, I have undergone a few medical treatments. Do you think this is something that could be covered by a waiver? Normally, from my own research, these conditions would cause permanent disqualification via AR 40-501. Thoughts?

  58. jack says:

    used the search for “foraminotomy” with no results. have you ever seen a waiver request for cervical foraminotomy? chances of receiving waiver for chaplain? navy? army? airforce?

    I should add that it was cervical foramonotomy w/ discectomy.

  59. Dakari says:

    I was born with a hole in my intestine at birth but I have had no complications since birth I have a scar across my stomach am I still eligible to enlist into the Military?

  60. Amie says:

    I have my 15 year old son who is currently in a jr navy program extremely active in 3 sports and just had a sport injury resulting in a Ac ligment tear. It’s bad enough to where he needs surgery ..
    1. Will this DQ him later ?
    2. They want to use a new device that would leave 2 tiny titanium washers in him will that DQ him?

  61. Julie says:

    Is endometriosis waiverable for Air Force reserves?

  62. navydoc says:

    Amie,
    The important part of your question is where you state “he NEEDS surgery.” Therefore, it shouldn’t matter whether or not this will DQ him in a hypothetical future where he wants to join the military. He needs to have his ACL injury repaired and rehabbed, and let the chips fall where they may.

  63. navydoc says:

    Dakari,
    Without reading your records I can’t know 100%, but you will probably be OK.

  64. navydoc says:

    jack,
    Neck surgery is usually not waived by any service,

  65. navydoc says:

    Charles,
    Possibly. It will depend on what the medical standards at the time you come back in after medical school.

  66. navydoc says:

    bibby,
    You should be fine, but you need to submit records on all of your procedures for review.

  67. CJ says:

    I haven’t seen anything about this so I will ask. If I have psoriasis that doesn’t flare up, is only on two spots on my body, both samller than my palm, it does itch but doesn’t get larger with aggravation, is there a chance I could get a waiver? Does it help my chances if I enlist earlier in the year? Thank You!

  68. Navydoc says:

    Check,
    Psoriasis is not usually waived.

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