Type 1 diabetes and the military

Hi everyone.
I have a question for you. I just took care of a young man in the hospital admitted for a new diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. His greatest concern was that now he must give up his military career. Does anyone know if this is true or are there people serving in the military (active duty) with type 1 diabetes? Thank you for your information. I hope to be able to encourage this young man.


Hello! I have only seen 1 story where a Type 1 diabetic has been able to stay in the military. He had great A1C’s and managed to keep the diabetes under control. He was so controlled he fought the military and had the chance to go to Iraq. It’s possible he could stay in but it’s going to be very hard to do. He’ll have to fight it to the end. If your insulin dependent Type 1 or 2 you will more than likely get a medical discharge.

Thank you. since this young man is new to all of this, he may not be able to prove good enough control right at first. I appreciate the info.

Well, I’m not quite sure what happens if you’re already in the military, but I know that if you have Type 1, you can’t join the military. I had the unfortunate experience of scoring superbly on the ASVABs which in turn meant hundreds of calls from recruiters. I finally got them to stop calling after I was diagnosed although a few still called for me this summer (and I am in my junior year of college!).

The same thing happened to me, I was diagnosed while in the Air Force, and I’m still in but they’re pushing to discharge me. I haven’t seen it in black and white yet but if you’re still in contact with the guy tell him if they discharge him he has to get more than 30% disability and if they dont offer it to him to fight for it.

When I was diagnosed everyone told me that I had to give up my military dreams so
I did.


I don’t know if your still looking but I am on active duty with the Marine Corps and have been type 1 for almost 3 years now. I have come across 2 others still on active duty so it can be done. If you have an y questions feel free to ask me.

Thank you so much for all your input. It is so nice to know that it is possible to be in the military with type 1 diabetes even though it may be a battle to get in. I appreciate your info.

I think – don’t know positively – the military will discharge a person with Type 1. Being the pacifist I am, and against any of our young men exposing themselves to danger overseas, I look at this as a positive thing. Hoping the military will help this young man with college, as I know they help pay for education. It is a very dangerous time period to be in the military and I am hoping all of our young men can come home soon.

Hi Charles, I think that I already dropped you a line, but I was just going through this thread and saw your post, so please forgive me if this is totally redundant! My husband is an active duty Marine (9yrs. this May) who was just diagnosed with Type 1 in October. He is about to go through the MEB/PEB process. Can you give us some insight as to how he might be able to stay in? I think he is going to look for you on the Global, so you may get an email from him. Can you please contact us? We’d love to talk to you!!

I am not sure how they handle it now but I was diagnosed while in the Airforce they send all records to a medical review board depending on your job they may keep you but diabetes means you can not deploy due to the fact you need to be near a full medical facility. Keep in mind this was over 15 years ago now days it may be that a medical discharge is the only choice but the good part is this patient of yours will get covered by va and should get about a 40% disability. If you can call that a good part .

i still wish i could join… oh well if you can’t beat them, join them, or in my case marry them. (my husband is a marine).lol

I see that this discussion was started a year ago, but in case others are also looking for answers:
We have a member that teaches in the Air force. And it seemed that there were also helpful answers in this discussion.

Hey Charles, I am a Marine that was diagnosed with Type 1 and then medically retired at 40%. Upon my 1st TDRL re-eval they dropped me to 20% and now I am going to a formal Board. I am curious to hear about your TDRL experience and how they have evaluated you. I am pushing an effort with Congress to fix this ambiguous language in the VASRD to help delineate and protect a retirement status for Type-1 diagnosis. Please contact me so I can discuss in further and hear about your experience.


This forum has been dead for a while, but I was diagnosed back in November as Active Duty Air Force, so here’s basically what happens:

  1. You get a diagnosis from a medical authority and your paperwork is routed to your primary care at the base hospital/clinic after being routed through TRI-Care.
  2. Your doctor begins an assessment on your current status, checks the military medical regs and finds you “Unfit for military duty”- this does not necessarily mean that you will be separated, it just means that you must undergo an MEB (medical evaluation board) and probably a PEB (Physical etc) as well.
  3. You are briefed by the PEBLO (PEB Liason Offcier) about the process of the MEB and ensures you agree with the doc’s assessment. If you wish to have an outside medical authority (unbiased doctor) run your assessment, you may opt for that within a few days.
  4. All of your lab results, doctors notes, and your entire military medical history (from your initial medical check way back when to now) are compiled and sent down to the Personnel Center (for Air Force, down in Texas at Wilford Hall), where it is read over and analyzed by a 3 person team comprised of at least one medical authority, who decide whether to retain you, separate you with pay (usually a lump sum), or retire you (unlikely due to recent budget cuts). They also determine your % disability. This is sort of backwards in that the better you are controlling your sugars so it seems, the smaller % disability you will accrue. To get retirement, you will most likely need at least 30% disability or 8-10 years in service.
  5. The board (informal board at this point) will send their decision to the base PEBLO, who will have you come in and brief you the results. Let us assume that they have decided to separate you, and you disagree with this decision (as is my case).
  6. You will have to notify the PEBLO within 10 business days that you wish to appeal to the board and go down to your personnel center to meet an official board and plead your case. The medical group will pay for your trip down to the formal board, and will (after a few weeks) give you a board date.
  7. You will compile as much data as you can, commanders’ reccomendation letters, and anything that will support your case, and go to the personnel center a few days before your board, when you will meet with a defense attourney. You will have a few days to build your case, and then present it to the formal board, who will then deliberate and return your result, hopefully within the same day.
  8. If you do not approve of their decision still, you may appeal to the Air Force HQ level via roughly the same process as the formal board to argue your case.
    Be warned that while an appeal to any level of PEB board can result in retension rather than separation or retirement, it can also result in a decrease of % disability, movement from retirement to separation, decrease of separation payment, or any kind of change that the board sees fit.
    You will almost definitely be C-coded, or CONUS coded, meaning that you cannot take overseas assignments or deploy overseas. In this military environment, this is very much a contributing factor to giving servicemembers a boot to the ■■■ when they are diagnosed. There are plenty of non-deployable billets, however, and if you go to the formal board with a plan and a path you can take, it will make your case far stronger than merely begging to stay in.
    I an currently undergoing a formal board with a date of 02-06 May 2011, so I will have more information when I get back at that time. I am a best-case scenario at this point for multiple reasons including my stratification within my unit, my A1C and sugar control, my gloucometer tracking (every sugar reading I’ve taken since diagnosed is recorded/charted), commanders’ letters, and position.

If anyone has questions/comments, please message me and I’ll do what I can to answer them. Thanks, G2.

Hi G21. I am just about to start the MRB process for being diagnosed with type 1 in November and was just hoping you could share the final outcome of yours. I know its been a few years, but I am hoping to get some good news from you.

Although your response is many years old, I thank you for being so detailed. My 20 year old son is in the Air National Guard. Has been in since he was 17 years old. He was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. They have suggested he will not be allowed to remain in the Guard. Being diagnosed at 20 is a shock but being dismissed from the guard is also. I have 2 questions which you may be able to answer. Is it an autonomic discharged? Would he receive disability. His concern is medical coverage at such a young age for the rest of his life.
Any information you can give will be appreciated.
I just joined this site and may not check it often. You could email me at cyoungms@bellsouth.net.

So I Know this is an old thread but I just wanted to say how lucky the person was that received 40%.

In 2006 my husband was diagnosed with type 1 after 71/2 years in the Marines. Within 1 year we were discharged with a 20% rating from the military and the Va. We fought back and hard and still nothing changed. Fast forward 12 years later and still has 20%. We finally started receiving his Va check dec 2015.