Men With Disabilities

Man in WheelchairMen who have a disability and who live at home must register with Selective Service if they can reasonably leave their homes and move about independently. A friend or relative may help a disabled man fill out the registration form if he can't do it himself.

These men with disabilities that would disqualify them from military service still must register with Selective Service. Selective Service does not presently have authority to classify men, so even men with obvious handicaps must register, and if needed, classifications would be determined later.


Man with ParentsIf your son is not confined to an institution or homebound (completely bed bound), he is required to register. 

  • If a man is placed in a hospital, nursing home, long-term care facility, or mental institution on or before his 18th birthday, had no breaks of institutionalization of 30 days or longer, and remained institutionalized until his 26th birthday, he is not required to register.

  • If he is confined to home, whether his own or someone else’s (including group homes), on or before his 18th birthday and cannot leave the home without medical assistance (for example, by ambulance, or with the help of a nurse or EMT), and remained homebound until his 26th birthday, he is not required to register.

Depending on the condition of the young man, while he would not be able to serve in the military in a crisis, it does not exempt him from the Selective Service registration requirement. Even though this may not seem to make any sense, the facts are neither the Military Selective Service Act nor the Presidential proclamation provide an exemption from registration because of a man's mental or physical condition unless Selective Service is provided with documented evidence that the man is hospitalized or institutionalized; or homebound and unable to function outside the home, with or without physical assistance; or is in such a physical or mental condition that he would not comprehend the nature of his registration with the Selective Service System. In these cases, a determination can be made by Selective Service as to whether or not the man qualifies for exemption from registration. Otherwise, Selective Service is not allowed to "classify" men until the Congress and the President authorize a return to the draft in an emergency. Thus, all men must register... even those with obvious disqualifying disabilities.

There is no draft at present; therefore, no classifying being done. The last man was drafted in 1973, after which the U.S. converted to an all-volunteer military. However, Congress and the President still require men to register and the Selective Service System is kept in a standby status, just in case a future crisis necessitates a return to the draft.

It’s important to know that even though a man with disabilities is registered, he will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in a sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. At that time, they would be examined for mental, physical, and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces. They would also be eligible for any deferments, postponements, and exemptions available to all other registrants. A man (or his parents/guardian) would have the opportunity, at that time, to provide any necessary medical documentation needed for exemption. Were a draft to be reinstated and if your son received an induction notice to appear for mental, moral, and physical testing, if you provided the Military Entrance Processing Center that sent his notice with sufficient medical documentation on his disabilities, he would probably not even need to appear for the testing.

IF Congress and the President were to reinstate the draft, the first lottery (drawn on a specific date) would include 19-year-old men turning 20 that calendar year and all 20-year-old men. If that failed to provide sufficient manpower, then 21-year-old men would be called for induction testing. Then, the next lottery would again be for new 20 year olds. The older a man becomes who has not yet been called to report for induction, the less likely he will be drafted.

Men are considered no longer draft eligible at age 26; for this to change, the United States Congress would have to amend the law.

You may assist your son in registering with the Selective Service System.

By registering, your son remains eligible to take advantage of certain programs and benefits that Congress has linked to a man’s Selective Service registration: student financial aid, federal employment, and job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act).