CVN-71

Maintain Copies Of Your Medical Records

Medical Conditions Normally Waiverable

Published: August 14th, 2008
Updated: January 31, 2015
By: Thomas Goering

Part two of the what will and what won’t keep you out of the United States Navy medically (provided in the cases listed a waiver is granted). Part one discussed conditions that normally would not qualify for a waiver – this installment discusses the conditions in which a waiver may be granted.

If you appear to be, in all other respects, qualified for enlistment but reveal a history of one or more of the following common conditions you must be advised that the treatment records or a written summary from your private or attending physician will be of value to the examining Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) physician during the pre-enlistment physical examination and may reduce the possibility of temporary medical disqualification.

If you are considering a future in the armed forces there is no time like the present to start gathering the records of your medical past. The medical records will be sent to the MEPS in advance for a medical review so having them ready will save you a ton of time. Having the records may also preclude you from having to attend outsourced consultations which could ultimately delay even further your enlistment.

Please keep in mind this list is not all-inclusive.

Medical conditions which are normally considered waiverable (information consolidated from MEPCOM and COMNAVCRUITCOM Instructions);

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: The advice and prognostications delivered in the comments by NavyDoc are based on his years of experience as a MEPS Chief Medical Officer, and he is only able take into account the information you provide, so for a more definitive response, ensure you are thorough with the description of your issue(s).


Read Comments (1,971)

RSS feed for comments on this post.

1,971 Responses to “Medical Conditions Normally Waiverable”


  1. Heather Cooper:

    What about pigmentary dispersion syndrome? I don’t have a history of glaucoma but I do have this condition. Is there a possibility it can keep me from getting into the reserves?

  2. NCCM(ret):

    Heather,

    Because of the potential for glaucoma that the syndrome presents, I would think it disqualifying, but, to be sure, take your medical records to a local Recruiter so he/she can forward them to MEPS for a definitive review.

  3. Collin Sciacca:

    I have recently had a lumbar fusion of two vertebra, it was minimally invasive and I feel fine. I am almost done with my two year degree in physical therapy and am in great shape. I want to wait for a year and apply to the air force in hopes to getting a medical waiver passed for the fusion. I want nothing more but to be in the AF and do 20+ years. Do I have any chance if I work hard very hard on the ASVAB and physical conditioning. My surgeon said he would write me a personal letter saying that I am 110% and that I have no restrictions, again I am in great physical shape. Any advice would help, this is my dream.
    Thank you,

    Collin S.

  4. NCCM(ret):

    Collin,
    You say “recently”, I think you will have to wait the year you are proposing to wait anyway. If you experience no range of motion issues, I think you will have a pretty good chance of having a waiver approved by the Navy. I have no experience with the Air Force and their waiver process.

  5. Collin Sciacca:

    I appreciate your response, I want to make sure that I take my time and do things the right wat so I think I will wait a year to a year and a half. I’ve always wanted to join the AF but if I cant get in I will go down the list. (I will have to accept the fact that my dreams of being a pilot are over though) I’m almost 22 years old and see how hard it is to get by these days. I want nothing more than to serve my country and try to do everything I can for everyone who has done everything for me throughout history. Thank you for your advice and service.

  6. Andrea:

    Hi,

    I had spinal surgery last year for kyphosis. Basically I have 2 rods and 24 screws in my back to correct my abnormal curve. My orthopedic doctor told me I can do anything now. I am perfectly caplable of meeting all the physical/fitness requirements with out any problem.I want to be an accountant in the navy but from I have been reading online its seems like I will probably not get a medical waiver even if I meet the physical/fitness requirements. It just seems so unfair. Do you have any advice for me.

    Thank you

  7. NCCM(ret):

    Andrea,

    I don’t think a waiver would be considered for the medical issue you have. Remember, it isn’t just about how you feel now – considerations must be made for how individuals with your similar situation may feel 10 even 20 years from now (range of motion, follow-up therapies, care, and medications).

  8. Will Adam:

    I go to MEPS Monday I hoping I won’t have to get a medical waiver.I had ACL reconstruction 5 years ago but since then my knee has been great I have just completed my fifth year of college football, MEPS all my records already and I went to my doctor for a follw-up last month can he check me out xray n all and I was great he said and wrote on the follow-up that I was in great shape for the navy…so my question is what is the chance that I won’t have to get a waiver? because I’ve heard that process takes a long time!

  9. NCCM(ret):

    Will,

    I have seen this go both ways. Either way, I don’t think you will have much problem (because of the ACL repair) in joining the Navy. Even if it becomes a waiver to CNRC, the turn around time should be relatively quick.

  10. Raymond rembert:

    Hi

    I have a refractive error of -8.50 but my vision in both eyes correctable for the right is 20/30 and the left 20/40. What are the odds of getting a medical Waiver with this eyesight. Also Im planning on being an information systems tech.

  11. NCCM(ret):

    Raymond,

    In my experience, I have not seen a waiver approved for a refractive error greater than 8.

  12. K:

    NCCM,

    I am a 30yo college graduate and I’m seriously considering signing up. I’ve been doing some pretty intense research to make sure I’m qualified and have all the paperwork necessary and your site is the only one I’ve found with extensive information on the MEPS (maybe I’m just a worry-wort, but I like to be prepared). I’m in excellent physical health (former college track/x-country athlete, current triathlete) but don’t really have access to the medical records that are often referenced in your various posts and comments. When I’ve had to go to a doctor for some minor illness here or there, I just go to whichever doctor has an office closest to my home/job. I can’t recall the last time I went to the same doctor more than once. What are the requirements for submitting medical records? What if I don’t have any?

  13. NCCM(ret):

    K,
    If you haven’t had any issues, then you won’t need the documentation to explain them.

    Oh, if you do have that worry-wart removed, you will need the documentation to ensure it was benign – MEPS humor :)

  14. Thomas:

    NCCM,

    Last week I went to talk to a navy recruiter and fill out all the medical paperwork and take the short ASVAB pre-screen test they give. I had jaw surgery to correct an open bite back in 2007 and they said that would not be a problem but they weren’t sure about my hypothyroidism which i take a prescription medication for. I gave them all the necessary information on both things for them to send along with the medical forms I had to fill out. I was reading online about the disqualifying factors for military service outlined by the DOD and it said hypothyroidism was only disqualifying if it was not controlled by medication. I included my most recent blood test to show that the medication I take does indeed control the condition. They said they would hear back in a week. But I am still concerned by the fact that the recruiter didn’t know and am worried I won’t get in. Have you had any experience with this?

  15. NCCM(ret):

    Thomas,

    As long as your history, beyond the most recent blood test has been controlled by the medication, and their are no underlying conditions, then I think you have a good shot. My experience is with just one female, she was active in high school sports and her condition was controlled.

    I don’t think the jaw issue will be of any concern.

  16. Thomas:

    NCCM,

    Thanks for the reply. I have been on the medication since 2006 which was my senior year of high school. I played D-1 college athletics for the 2 years I was at college and have been very active since then as well. One more question though, when you refer to underlying conditions what are you talking about? If I get to the physical at MEPS will they test me for such things?

  17. NCCM(ret):

    You may be sent on a consultation by the MEPS to address (get a second opinion) about your hypoT – I really can’t remember that part of it. What I mean by underlying condition is; did the condition cause muscles not to fully develop to the extent they are not fully functional – stuff like that.

  18. Thomas:

    NCCM,

    Thank you I have not had any underlying conditions like what you mentioned. I have been incredibly healthy all my life and with every physical I have taken for athletics I have been fine. Just one more question if you don’t mind, what is the process after prescreening? Basically how long does it take for the recruiter to hear back from MEPS as to whether or not the prescreen passed or did not? They told me a week which will be tomorrow and I will probably call to see if anything has come in but was wondering how long it took in your experience. Thanks again for your help.

  19. NCCM(ret):

    MEPS usually takes 3 to 5 business days to respond to a medical review – they never seem to be in a hurry… Since your recruiter told you it should be tomorrow, I’d call him first thing in the morning to remind him – that way he can call MEPS early enough to maybe hear back before the weekend.

  20. rudy:

    I had back surgery on my spine back in 2004 after hurricane ivan I have 8 screws and a rod in my back but iam in great shape and I want 2 sign up for da military will all this stop me from getting into the airforce reserves

  21. NCCM(ret):

    Rudy,
    If the rod and screws repaired/fused greater than 2 vertebrae, then I am afraid you would be disqualified with no waiver possible.

  22. Brooke W:

    When I was ten years old I had a cholesteatoma removed and my ear drum reconstructed through a surgery called tympanoplasty with mastoidectomy. I did not have mastoiditis. Post-op I was found to have perfect hearing and I have had no problems since. The surgery was eight years ago.

    Will this automatically DQ me, and if so is this something I can have waived?

  23. NCCM(ret):

    Brooke,

    I have no experience with your previous condition. I think, however, that if your hearing is within standards and the fact the surgery was so many years ago with no issues since, if the MEPS doctor disqualifies you then you have a good chance of a Navy medical waiver. I read a similar question on Yahoo and read where someone stated that medical waivers may be somehow influenced by how well recruiting is doing – that person is completely wrong. All waivers are completed based on the merit of the condition, the medical folks don’t consider anything but the medical condition. Submit your medical records to your Recruiter for him to send to MEPS for review. Good luck, and I hope you let us know how this turns out so others can benefit from the information in the future. Sorry I could not give a more solid answer.

  24. david:

    10 years ago I had a surgical spinal fusion of 2 vertebrae. I have been asymptotic. With full range of motion no problems what so ever. I also have worked the last 8 years as a firefighter/EMT. What would be my chances of a wavier, Thank you for your time.

  25. NCCM(ret):

    David,

    I think if everything else is in order, you should have a pretty good shot. And, thank you for your service as a Firefighter/EMT!

  26. Ty:

    Hey when I was 13 years old I had a suicide attempt I am 31 years old now, will that hinder me from enlistment into the Navy?

  27. NCCM(ret):

    Ty,
    Your entire history will be considered. At a minimum, MEPS, will more than likely send you out, at MEPS expense, for a psychiatric consultation and based on the results of that consult, if the results are good, you should have no problem enlisting.

  28. david scott:

    hi i had abdominal surgery when i was a few months old. i am 18 now and have been wrestling for 5 years with a yearly physical that i have always passed. i had reflux when i was a baby. i have a 4 inch scar on the left side of my abdomen. can this stop me from joining the navy. thanks

  29. NCCM(ret):

    David or Nick…whoever,

    The general rule is, if they cut into your intestine or stomach, your chances are slim of approval – if it was surgery to repair a hiatal hernia (usually what causes the reflux) then you should be fine.

  30. BJ:

    NCCM,

    About five years ago I was told that I had migraines but they went away in a couple of months on their own and have no had a problem since, but I was prescribed medication and it is in my records. Is there any chance of a waiver?

  31. NCCM(ret):

    BJ,

    If you have been medication/symptom free for over three years, and the medical documentation to back that up – you may be ok. I suspect that after the MEPS reviews your documentation they may send you to a neurologist for a consultation – it would be depending on that consultation whether you could be found physically eligible.

  32. Joyce Westbrook:

    My daughter is trying to enlist in the Navy. She went to MEPS and the doctor said he could not sign off on her medical because of her history with Endometriosis. She had surgery to remove it and has a release from her physician. What is the next step and what chances does she have of getting in?

  33. NCCM(ret):

    Joyce,

    The next steps, if recommended for a waiver, would be listed here – http://www.navycs.com/blogs/2009/09/17/navy-recruiting-medical-waiver-process

  34. Brian W.:

    NCCM,
    I’m about to graduate college and am seriously considering a career in the Navy. I have had kidney stones on more than one occasion. Is it possible to get a waiver if I’ve had kidney stones on more than one occasion?

    Thanks.

  35. NCCM(ret):

    Brian,

    It should depend on how long ago since the last stones, the health of the kidneys, and the prognosis.

  36. CASSADY:

    RETINAL DETACHMENT (OLD) IN THE LEFT EYE. SHOULD I HAVE SURGERY FIRST, WAIT 6 MONTHS AND HAVE EYES TESTED OR TALK TO RECRUITER FIRST?? RIGHT EYE IS CORRECTABLE.

  37. NCCM(ret):

    Cassady,

    A detached retina is disqualifying – even if corrected with surgery. I have never seen a waiver approved or even recommended for it.

  38. Tim:

    My biological son had childhood asthma as a child of 12 and had it noted with no medication required on a sports phyical at 18. He is now 21. What process has to be followed if unable to get medical records to enlist in Navy?

  39. NCCM(ret):

    Tim,

    The doctors diagnosis and records from the subsequent visits when he was 12 should be fairly easy to obtain – if you cannot find them, the Recruiter can do the digging. Although, if he has been suffering asthmatic symptoms since the age of 13 – his being able to pass the physical or potentially receive a waiver is greatly diminished.

  40. Diana (Last name removed):

    NCCM, My son tested positive for L-amphetamines on his DOD test during MEPS. He told his recruiter he was taking Adderall for ADHD. He received a letter stating he could go through MEPS again in a year and should seek drug treatmnet for his drug abuse. His pediatrician sent a letter stating that he would have a false positive due to his medication. Is there any way around this? Does he indeed have to wait a year to enlist? Thank you. Diana

  41. NCCM(ret):

    Diana,

    Before he could process and seek a waiver for ADHD, he must have been off the medication for a minimum of one year. I haven’t heard of false positives happening after that amount of time.

    So, I assume the MEPS is starting his one year wait from the date of the test, and is allowing him to process after the minimum of a year passes because of his diagnosis of ADHD, but there is absolutely nothing that can be done to reduce the minimum one year time requirement.

  42. Kyle:

    NCCM,

    I have submitted all my paperwork for GERD. I have been symptom free for 8 months without medication. I’ve already sent in my release from care too. The doctor at MEPS said on my paper “highly recommend waiver” I also had my appendix taking out but that was when I was 14.

  43. NCCM(ret):

    Kyle,

    The MEPS doctor recommending the waiver as he did is normally a good sign. The appendix removal won’t be an issue.

  44. Molly:

    My son has been seeing a chiropractor for about a month before he met with a recruiter. They are now requesting the records. He has been seeing the chiro for mild back pain that he had been experiencing. He has no curvature of the spine, etc. Will this disqualify him? thank you.

    Molly

  45. NCCM(ret):

    Molly,

    As long as there is no underlying cause, he should only be temporarily disqualified – until he has a period of time (to be determined by MEPS) that his back issues remain asymptomatic.

  46. Connie:

    NCCM,

    My son desperately wants to become a SEAL (for years, now). He has taken both Sertraline (Zoloft) for anxiety ( speaking in front of the class in a new school ), and Focalin for ADD (he is not hyperactive). He will have been off both meds for over two years when he graduates HS. He has been functioning just fine off of them, and has gotten very good grades (and no behavior problems, or feelings of anxiety, either). In fact, he follows directions better than, and actually completes tasks in a more timely manner than, his peers who are not “ADD/ADHD.” If he continues to do well, it sounds as if his situation “may” be waiverable.

    My two questions are: Are waivers actually given in this type of situation (and more than just very, very rarely!)? And, would he ever be able to become a SEAL? (i.e., could he obtain the necessary security clearance given his medical history?)

    Thank you so much!

    Connie

  47. NCCM(ret):

    Connie,

    The ADD/ADHD, because he is doing well, and has been off the medication for, what will be, over a year – it should not be a big deal. The anxiety issue will come down to the circumstances, prognosis and, if MEPS proceeds after a medical document review, the results of a psychiatric consultation that MEPS may order.

  48. Julie:

    My son is hoping to get into the Naval Academy and is setting his high school courses now. He had craniosynostosis surgery at 3 months old (his soft spot was fused at birth). He was given no restrictions what-so-ever and has played football for years. We were told this may prevent him from getting in. Will this past suregery prevent him from getting in to the Academy?

    Thank you

  49. NCCM(ret):

    Julie,

    As long as the craniosynostosis was not associated with a syndrome, and there were no residual affects or deformities – I do not think there will be any problems because the surgery was to correct bone at a very early age. If there were other issues or complications, then those would have to be considered separately by the doctor completing the physical.

  50. Connie:

    Thanks NCCM!

    Connie

  51. CHELSEY:

    What are the chances of getting in if you have Asthma I am 27 and can control it

    thanks

  52. NCCM(ret):

    Chelsey,

    If you currently have asthma, you are not eligible and there is no waiver authorized.

  53. william:

    my waiver did not get approved and when i asked why the paper work said it is because of possible asd or pfo. i am currently getting tests done on my own and dont know why it didnt get approved….

    i have played sports my whole life and never had a problem ever…is there any advice that anyone can give me on my dilemma….anything will help at this p[oint…

    thank you…

  54. NCCM(ret):

    William,

    If the tests you are having done come back negative, then submit those findings/documents to the MEPS (via your Recruiter) for an evaluation. Disproving the ASD, and providing documents that you are active in sports could help a lot. How did they come to that conclusion? Did you go on a consultation?

  55. Rob:

    On may 5th 2009 I fractured my c1 vertabrae, broke some ribs, and had a collapsed lung. I have been released from my doctor with no restrictions but I am disqualified. What are my chances?

  56. NCCM(ret):

    Rob,

    You said you were disqualified, did you get to go to MEPS to take the physical, or were you disqualified via a medical document review? Did you suffer any head injury during the event that caused everything else?

  57. Rob:

    Went to MEPS. Did good on my physical and made a 61 on ASVAB. I sent all of the records after my accident and was told by my recruiter a week later that they had dq’d me because of all of my injuries. (I had to send these papers after meps so I couldn’t find out if I was qualified while there.)
    I was in and out of it the entire first week of the hospital and have little memory. I realize it looks pretty bleak, but i’m just so disappointed.I am in great shape now. No lasting side effects. I can meet and exceed all of the physical requirements for basic but its a no go. Really is awful to be told you don’t even have the opportunity to serve.

  58. Rob:

    I forgot to add that I am a certified computer tech, a certified welder, and I have some college credits. I would be willing to take any job just to get an approved waiver, but I don’t know if any of that will help. Thanks.

  59. NCCM(ret):

    Rob,

    I, of course, do not know the details, but based on what you are telling me, I would assume the problem isn’t any of the injuries that you list, but could very well be the fact you had lost consciousness. If there was any hint of a concussion in the medical records, then there is a mandatory 5 years wait after the injury took place to make sure the brain heals – if a person stay seize free and otherwise asymptomatic during that 5 years, I have seen them join without a big issue.

    Again, I am guessing as to your cause here. Your Recruiter could not supply a specific cause?

  60. Rob:

    Only said they didn’t like the multiple injuries.

  61. NCCM(ret):

    Your ASVAB score, nor degrees or certificates have any bearing on the outcome of your physical.

  62. NCCM(ret):

    Rob,

    Each of the injuries you describe is at the least waiverable (unless the head injury I am assuming happened, there is no waiver at all for that) – I don’t know the reason why you had to submit the documents until after the physical, I am surprised MEPS let you process before they were submitted; nevertheless, you should be able to get a more detailed answer.

  63. Chris:

    I have had an eye condition called thygesons spk (superficial punctate keratitis) since I was a kid. My eyes used to flare up causing dry eye and some light sensitivity but nothing I couldn’t ever deal with.

    My last two eye exams were unremarkable and my Optometrist said my eyes looked perfectly normal. I know the standards say CURRENT keratitis is disqualifying; as are “recurrent” episodes.

    All my medical docs got sent in today with my medical prescreen. I’m worried that I’m going to be DQ’d without an actual consultation. My case is a very mild form of the disease and it hardly bothers me.

    Does anyone think this will be waiverable?

  64. NCCM(ret):

    Chris,

    You are right, current keratitis is disqualifying. If you have had no issues for a couple of years, you may be OK. The problem I am seeing so far is you state, “…it hardly bothers me.” If it currently bothers you, even a little bit, that would be disqualifying.

  65. Kevin:

    I have 2 pins in my ankle from surgery 10 years ago. I went on to play football in high school and college, have had absolutely no problems and it doesn’t impair movement at all. I was told by one recruiter that it disqualifies me, and by another that I would probably pass through waivers after I provide medical documentation. How good do you think my chances would be?

  66. NCCM(ret):

    Kevin,

    If the pins are holding the joint together, then the chances are not good at all; otherwise, you have a pretty good shot. Get the documentation read!

  67. Kevin:

    Thanks for the reply. To tell you the truth, it was so long ago, and I was so young, that I really don’t remember the specifics of the surgery. I only know that they were inserted to help 2 fractures mend, thats about it. I’m trying to get the documentation asap.

  68. Melissa:

    Hi,
    I am greatly interested in serving our nation. I tried to join the Army in 2005 but got dq for hearing. I have high frequency hearing loss in my left ear. I submitted my new hearing test for the Navy hoping that I can join. Here are my results, hoping you can shed some light and tell me if I’m wasting my time…and the Navy’s. Oh, btw it doesn’t interefere with my daily life. I’ll talk to my recruiter tomorrow to know if he has hear back from the waiver people.
    1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 Hz
    L 0 0 0 5 5
    R 15 40 65 70 70

  69. NCCM(ret):

    Melissa,

    As stated in the post itself, your 3000hz and 4000hz loss is greater than the waiverable limit.

  70. Melissa:

    Thank you for your quick respose. I won’t give up so easily! This has been a dream since I started high school. Do you know if there is any way I can improve my hearing, even if it is by a bit, to pass the hearing test?

  71. NCCM(ret):

    Melissa,

    The best advice I can give you is to wear ear plugs for the couple of days leading up to the physical.

  72. Melissa:

    Ok. Thanks for the advice. I tried talking to my recruiter today but he wasn’t available. It’s funny because I haven’t met him yet. Only spoke with him twice and when I went in to submit my hearing test so they can see if it’s even worht filling out the rest of the ppwk, he wasn’t there so I had to spk w/some1 else. I just turned the ppwk in last week so hopefully I hear from him soon.

  73. Pam:

    I was just diagnosed with chondromalacia of the knee after starting to train with running. Is this going to be waiverable for the Navy after physical therapy to help the problem? I also had meniscus surgery on the other knee, but it is not problematic at all. I saw that chronic chondromalacia is disqualifying, but if it is caught and treated with physical therapy and I am released by the Dr. with no restrictions, do you think I have a good chance of getting a waiver?

  74. NCCM(ret):

    Pam,

    MEPS will disqualify you because you have a history of CMP, chronic or not – but the Navy may still waive it. The Navy may waive it, but what i do not know is for how long you have to be problem free – I do not think once you are released from care is the date you would be good to go; enough time will need to pass to ensure it doesn’t flare up again – as you know, additional flare ups would indicate a chronic condition.

  75. Pam:

    Thanks for the quick answer. There has been no history of this, so I don’t see how it can be chronic. The dr. just threw that word out there and said I needed to have physical therapy. I’m worried now though, that the word is in my medical records and the Navy will see that and disqualify me just from seeing it. I was in the DEP program until last month when I had my meniscus surgery and my recruiter dropped me. He said I could re-enlist in November (6 months post op). So if by November, I can report that I am problem free, that there have been no flare ups and I can run pain free, there is a better chance of a waiver? The dr. also mentioned surgery to take care of the loose cartilage. Would having surgery to take care of the problem be a better solution, or make it worse?

Leave a Reply

A Navy recruiting blog that delves into the military enlistment process and benefits of service. This is NOT an official United States Navy or government web site. The opinions expressed are my own, and may not be in-line with any branches of the government or military.

©2004-2015 Navy CyberSpace Blog

Unless otherwise noted, content written by Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(RET). All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy