Medical & Health

I have a specific medical condition. Will it impact my ability to serve or where I am placed?

It may. Peace Corps Volunteers serve around the world in physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging environments where medical resources and local transportation services may vary significantly from those in the U.S.  Each applicant’s medical history is considered individually to ensure Peace Corps is able to safely meet their medical needs in their country of service. To learn more about medical considerations, including conditions that may disqualify a person for Peace Corps service, read Important Medical Information for Applicants. Additionally, each job opening lists specific medical considerations for that country. If you apply, you must fully disclose your medical history so Peace Corps can consider your health needs. 

What is involved in the medical review process?

The medical review will require a dental and physical evaluation, lab work, and selected immunizations. Depending on a person's age and gender, the medical review may also include an ECG, colon cancer screening, Pap smear and/or a mammogram. We require that all necessary dental work be completed (wisdom teeth extracted (if recommended), cavities filled, braces removed) in order to give final clearance to serve abroad.  For more information, please go to the Medical Information for Applicants page.

Does the Peace Corps reimburse for costs incurred during the medical clearance process?

The Peace Corps provides some reimbursements toward certain medical expenses incurred during the medical review process: a maximum of $60 for dental exams and X-rays, between $125 and $290 for physical exams (depending on age and gender), and a maximum of $12 for a vision exam.

If it is required for the country of service, yellow fever vaccinations are fully reimbursable. Costs above these amounts are the applicant’s responsibility. We encourage applicants to research for lower cost alternatives (e.g., National Association of Free Clinics, VISION USA, and International College of Dentists).

What immunizations do Volunteers need?

Peace Corps requires proof of routine childhood immunizations, which may be shot records or blood tests, to include tetanus/diphtheria, chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. Depending on a Volunteer’s country of service, yellow fever vaccination may also be required. Vaccines necessary for a specific country of service will be given by Peace Corps medical staff when a Volunteer arrives in-country. Should a Volunteer choose to get any additional immunizations it is his or her responsibility to pay for them. For information on recommended immunizations by country please refer to http://www.cdc.gov/.

I have received an invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer; does this mean I'm medically cleared to serve?

No, invitations to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer are contingent on final medical clearance. A nurse will review your health history and your medical considerations and determine if you can be medically cleared. Please respond to all requests for information and activities by any deadlines so that your clearance process is not delayed.

How can I appeal a medical determination of not being medically cleared for service?

You may appeal this decision to the Peace Corps by sending a message requesting an appeal through your Medical Portal. Please let us know within 5 calendar days of receiving the decision if you are requesting an appeal. Less than 10% of appeals are reversed and the decision may not occur before your departure date. 

Upon receiving your request, an “appeal task” will be posted on your portal. At that time, you will have up to 30 days to upload relevant and new information about your medical condition you would like considered in connection with your appeal. If you do not submit new information by the deadline, your request for an appeal will be withdrawn and your case will be closed.

Please be aware that, even if your appeal is successful with respect to the medical condition for which you were not medically cleared, you may have other medical conditions that we have not yet fully evaluated that might preclude you from being medically cleared for Peace Corps service. Additionally, it is likely that the appeal process will conclude after your scheduled departure date. If this is the case you would have to apply again. 

The Peace Corps deeply appreciates your commitment to service. If you are interested in other service options, you may wish to visit www.serve.gov. This website is a comprehensive clearing house of volunteer opportunities to serve across the country and the world. Serve.gov is managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

How do I log into the Medical Portal?

Before logging in, be sure you've registered here. After you register, you can log in through the regular link here. If you're using the correct username and your candidate reference number without success or your account is locked, email [email protected] and let us know. When contacting us, include your name and your seven-digit candidate reference number.

Do Volunteers get health insurance during Peace Corps service?

The Peace Corps provides appropriate and necessary health care to Volunteers during their service. Visit Medical Care During Service to learn more. After service, the Peace Corps pays for one month of health-care coverage under Short-term Health Insurance for Transition and Travel and returned Volunteers may purchase up to two more months of additional coverage. Federal retirees may suspend federal employee health benefits during service. (Talk with your retirement office to ensure that the suspension is done in a way that permits re-enrollment.) For individuals with Medicare, check with your Medicare office to find out if payments will continue to be deducted from your Social Security payment while you serve. You can cancel Medicare Part B (so you don’t have to pay the monthly premiums during your service) and re-enroll without penalty when you return to the U.S., as long as you submit the re-enrollment form prior to your close of service.