Medically Disqualifed at MEPS, Now What?

Navy Recruiting Medical Waiver Process

Over the past couple of years, I have received a large number of emails asking me about the waiver process for medical issues. The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) may have already permanently disqualified the individual, or is concerned they may have a condition which force them to endure the process and anxiety of the medical waiver.

First of all, the approval of a medical waiver is the responsibility of the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC). The Admiral makes a decision with input from a qualified medical authority.

To dispel a myth, Navy Recruiting does not use the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) to make recommendations for an individual’s physical/psychological condition to enter enlisted Naval service.

Nearly a decade ago, in an effort to reduce applicant waiting time (which often times extended three months or more), CNRC added to the staff a medical department. Commander, Navy Recruiting Command’s medical staff (CNRC N33) which includes a doctor and a small cadre of Navy Corpsman who work at the CNRC headquarters in Millington, Tn. now makes the medical recommendations to the Admiral in a fraction of the time.

The Process:

You first must be permanently disqualified (PDQ) by the MEPS medical department. The disqualification could come from your initial medical document reading (you do not make a trip to MEPS), or during your physical at the MEPS. Temporary disqualifications are not reviewed for medical waivers. Here is a post I made last year which lists many of the medical conditions that may be waiverable. Conditions not normally considered for a medical waiver.

If the MEPS PDQ’d you based on the medical documents submitted, MEPS will not allow you to process further – CNRC N3M must direct MEPS, if N33 determines a waiver may be possible, to provide you with a physical. N33′s direction to MEPS may include consultation(s), a visit to an outside specialist like an orthopedic doctor or a cardiologist.

Note: You need to be prepared to make more than one visit to MEPS depending on consultation requirements.

Once the final results of the MEPS physical and consultations are complete (including blood work), those results will be sent to N33 for review. N33 will then make a recommendation to the Admiral (usually within 3-5 days depending on back load).

If the MEPS PDQ’d you during the physical then N33 may direct further testing via consultation, or make a final recommendation to the Admiral for approval or disapproval without further medical tests.

I hope this helps you understand the process for a medical waiver, and hopefully make it a little less intimidating. As always, feel free to email your questions!

Waiver Process for Prior Drug and/or Alcohol Dependency

Waivers for prior drug and/or alcohol dependency are no longer considered per the following comment, here.

If you have been psychologically or physically dependent upon drugs or alcohol, recruiting personnel may request a Commander, Navy Recruiting Command eligibility determination when the pre-service dependency has been resolved in such a way that there is little likelihood that such behavior will recur. Your MEPS physical must include a psychiatric consultation.

You may be considered a good risk for entry into the Navy if:

Note: Where corrected in the post, the comments may still refer to CNRC 00M, 00M is now known as CNRC N3M – the function is still the same. As of January 30, 2012, N3M is now referred to as N33 (originally, 00M).
Note: The information contained in the comments is very extensive; your question may have already been addressed – read before posting. Thank you!

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2,563 Responses to “Navy Recruiting Medical Waiver Process”

  1. Anthony says:

    If I have been off of blood pressure medication for over six months with normal readings can I enlist?

  2. josie says:

    Can I have a medical waiver in processing for two branches of the military? One for navy and one for air force

  3. Clark says:

    I had my gallbladder removed in Nov. I submitted my 2807-2 and stated my surgery and I was disqualified, but told I could re-submit after 6 months. Is gallbladder removal typically a permanent disqualifier? I haven’t had any problems released by the surgeon.

  4. navydoc says:

    It depends. You will have to submit your medical records and daily blood pressure readings for review.

  5. navydoc says:

    You can only process for one service at a time. Once you process, your recruiter must submit your file for waiver consideration to the service you are attempting to join.

  6. navydoc says:


    Gall bladder surgery is TDQ for 6 months, just as you were told. You will not be eligible for processing until May, after the 6 month waiting period.

  7. Judy says:

    I was sure my son would receive a waiver for his elbow due to having a pin in it. Receive word today the his waiver was denied. Can he try another branch of the service or will they all disqualify him

  8. navydoc says:

    I have never seen a waiver denied for simple presence of hardware in the elbow. Are you sure there isn’t something else going on, like loss of range of motion, loose body, non-union? Have your son request a copy of the denial letter from N3M to see specifically why it was denied. He can always try another service, but if he truly wants to join the Navy, I recommend the above action. Something doesn’t sound right.

  9. Judy says:

    After everything I read I agree with you. He was seen by the navy’s orthopedic surgeon as well and was told he is fine. I don’t understand, I have him request a copy of the disqualifing letter to understand better.

  10. Garrett says:

    Dear NavyDoc,
    I was wondering if you could speak to the medical process for NROTC with DODMERB. I have been accepted at a unit and the college and have enrolled. I know I will be initially disqualified medically because I was for two academies. The only disqualification I have is an astigmatism of over 3 diopters (mine is 3.5 in one eye). I know I will need a waiver, so I was wondering what the chances of getting one would be. Thank you for any assistance.

  11. navydoc says:

    I don’t do DoDMERB or ROTC. I do know that the requirements for ROTC are not as stringent as MEPS, and often people who do a year or two of ROTC often get disqualified later on when they try to go active duty.

    As always, waivers are dependent on the needs of the service. If the candidate pool is strong, waivers are few. The more people that are needed, the more lenient the services are on waivers.

  12. Jordan says:

    Do you need to have a waiver for rectal skin tag? Should I even mention it to my recruiter that I have rectal skin tag before going to MEPS? It is pretty awkward and embarrassing!

  13. Todd says:

    NavyDoc: My son was waiting to go to basic (May 12), we just got a letter stating he was disqualified from the Marines for Acutane,this was prescribed by his doctor. He told the Marines about it not hiding anything. He has been off it for about one month. The letter states he is “disqualified for entry into the Armed Forces of the United States” They site USMEPCOM Regulation 40-8 and 40-1. I looked these up online along with other documents and most say you can be disqualified until 8 weeks after completion of therapy. My question is this, can he still get into the military even though the letter states DQ for entry into Armed Forces. Needless to say he is very disheartened right now.

  14. Bethany says:

    Hello Navy doc,

    I have had swimmers ear in the past about 7yrs ago. Will this disqualify me in MEPS?

  15. Daemon says:

    Got DQ’d for cut scars on left forearm. They are from 7 years ago when i was 14. Was told a waiver for a Psych Evaluation was necessary. What are the chances of getting it waived?

  16. Mike says:

    I broke my foot after already gone through MEPS and I needed to get a screw put in. Can I still go to bootcamp with the screw still in?

  17. denise says:

    what is the first step in trying to obtain a waiver into the navy? my son was disqualified due to an asymptomatic grade 1 varicocele and asymptomatic small left spermatocele. his urologist has stated that this should not prevent his full participation in the military so now what? how do we look into a waiver.

  18. john says:

    I got medically disqualified just over a month ago and was reviewing my PDQ letter and noticed that my name was spelled wrong. remember that the government is a stickler for exact names, does anyone think that this could help me get waivered or re examined? also the original documents that I submitted were over 6 months old and the condition has since changed for the better over the past 6 to 7 months could I submit this papers and get waivered or something?

  19. navydoc says:

    If your acne is bad enough for Accutane, it’s bad enough to DQ you. It’s true that after 8 weeks off Accutane you can be qualified, but only if the acne has resolved and you need no further treatment.

  20. navydoc says:

    Resolved swimmer’s ear is not DQ.

  21. navydoc says:

    There is a waiting period of up to 6 months after surgery. You will need to submit your records to MEPS ASAP so that your ship date can be changed if needed.

  22. navydoc says:

    Your son needs to talk to his recruiter about submitting a packet for waiver.

  23. navydoc says:

    Rectal skin tags are not DQ if they are asymptommatic.

  24. navydoc says:

    A clerical error in the spelling of your name does not invalidate your PDQ. You can always submit new medical documentation for consideration if your condition changes.

  25. navydoc says:

    Self-mutilation can be waived by the Navy. It will depend on your reasons for cutting yourself, your current mental evaluation and the needs of the Navy.

  26. Mike says:

    Navy Doc,
    Will I still be able to go to bootcamp with the screw in my foot?

  27. Todd says:

    NavyDoc, thank you for responding. I really appreciate your input. We are talking to the requiters today. The good news is my son has a plan B if this does not work out.

  28. ConcernedMom says:

    Question: My son went to MEPS after applying for the USAF, took the ASVAB and did well. He was then diagnosed with an undescended testicle during the physical. His file was sent up for review and denied. He is having an ultrasound by our physician, as our doctor thinks it is more likely ascended or retractile. Do all branches disqualify for such things? If he has surgery, will can he then be qualified? I see that absence of one testicle is a disqualifier. Crazy. Why does the military care? It has been his lifelong dream to serve in the military.

  29. navydoc says:

    It depends on the placement of the hardware. Submit your records for review.

  30. navydoc says:


    Absence of a testicle is indeed PDQ for all services. There are several reasons why, and non of them are crazy. They are based in sound medical rationale.

    First, an undescended testicle is at high risk for the development of testicular cancer. It is always recommended that a child with an undescended testicle have surgery to either remove the testes or bring it down into the scrotum before the age of 6 or 7. If someone has had a surgical exploration of the abdomen and there is no testicular tissue that is undescended, waiver is possible. If an undescended testicle is brought down into the scrotum by the age of 7, it is not PDQ.

    Second, if a testicle has been removed for any reason (it was undescended and unsalvageable, it was injured or torsed) it leaves only one left. Due to the nature of body armor, the genitals are vulnerable to blast injuries like those from IEDs. This has been an unfortunate discovery in Iraq and Afghanistan–many men with genital injuries losing one or both of their testicles. If you only have one to start with, and you get the other blown away by a roadside bomb, this results in high disability costs for the government.

  31. robert says:

    Hey navy doc I had avascular necrosis of the lunate if it has gone away and the bone is good is a waiver possible I really want to join the navy but will consider other branches if I must

  32. navydoc says:

    Waiver will be considered if the bone has truly healed (unusual without surgery). Submit records, including a current imaging report and orthopedic evaluation.

  33. Olivia says:

    I had an abnormal pap smear over 5 years ago but the records were destroyed, I already took my physical at MEPS and was told I have to submit documentation. Since the records were destroyed I was able to submit a letter stating the records no longer exist along with my most recent pap smear. I was told by my recruiter the Commanding chief has to make the decision as to whether this will disqualify me or not. I don’t see why this could disqualify me if I provided everything asked for, and my most recent medical record states that everything is normal.

    What can I do? this is really holding me up now and I’m anxious since I do not know how long an answer will take for an acceptance or denial.

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