Military service and psoriasis

October 6, 2011

Question: Why does having psoriasis disqualify you from military service?


In my opinion, psoriasis should not necessarily disqualify someone from military service. I believe that if someone with a history of psoriasis wants to serve in the military, the decision about their eligibility should take into account the severity of their disease and its affect on their quality of life.

Editor’s note: According to, recruits are asked if they have psoriasis. If they answer yes, they may need to show official proof that the disease is no longer present or severe. Recruits can appeal a disqualification based on having psoriasis. For more specific information, talk to a recruiter for the branch that interests you.

Neil J. Korman, M.D., Ph.D.

Neil J. Korman, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Dermatology, Clinical Director
Murdough Family Center for Psoriasis
Case Western Reserve University
University Hospitals of Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio


  • According to the Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 6130.3, “Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, and Induction,” and DOD Instruction 6130.4, “Criteria and Procedure Requirements for Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Armed Forces, people suffering from Psoriasis as well as other diseases are disqualified from appointment, enlistment, and induction.

    Current or history of psoriasis (696.1) is disqualifying. The complete directive are available at the link below.

  • While Jose is correct about the directives he doesn’t explain the reasons. For the army at least it appears that it DQs a person for two reasons:

    1. The fact that during a flare up, the plaques can rip open the skin and cause bleeding and infecting. Any gear worn in the affected area can cause this irritation.

    2. According to an RN friend of mine it also shows a problem with the person’s immune system. Obviously the military would have a problem with this.

    There is hope though. I am a psoriasis sufferer and was able to get a waiver for it. In fact I just had to update my waiver this past week and all is still good. The trick is to persistent if you want said waiver. You may have to prove your ability to perform take or just prove the absence of flare ups in recent times. That’s how it worked for me but I have only a mild case. I assume they take it on a case by case basis… the recent doc was pretty surprised that I was allowed in the army at all however even with my mild case.

    Hope this can shed some light on things for all you would be defenders of freedom with psoriasis.

  • I know that having psoriasis is a disqualifying since people who are going to be on the combat field which well cause a problem. But, I need to ask, What if you want to enlist but was assigned a job or career that doesn’t relate to any of that, such as communication or mechanical engineering. Since the person who performing that kind of assignment, they won’t be deployed into combat. Does this affect the person’s enlistment since the person isn’t going to combat after basic training?

  • Hi Emmanuel: it is possible a person with psoriasis may be more likely to receive a waiver for their condition, depending on the branch of military and specific job duties. For more specific information, talk to a recruiter for the branch that interests you.

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