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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2,825 Responses to “Navy Recruiting Medical Waiver Process”

  1. GM says:

    Navy Doc,

    I was marked as qualified by MEPS. My recruiter has not told me of any issues during my physical, and he will be submitting my N3M Medical documents to CNRC. He told me to sign a 1131/45 which is part of the medical waiver request and it is an HIV Statement of Understanding. That freak me out because people usually freaks out about HIV, but as far as I know all my medical exams went well. What does that form means? I appreciate any support from your part. Thanks


  2. Amanda says:

    O.K. Thank you for the information, but do you have an address or email address where I can send my request for waiver. I do not want to give up without trying.

    Thank you

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The local command would have to start the process, but as NavyDoc stated, it is not likely that one would be considered for a missing index finger. I wish I had better news.

  4. John [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Is the medical condition “ulcerative colitis” a disqualifying one, for entry into the Navy?

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Ulcerative colitis is permanently disqualifying, and it will not receive waiver consideration.

  6. Eric says:

    The Meps doctor reviewed my medical records and sent an email to my recruiter stating 3 medicals failures. ICD codes: 40, 28, and 31. The Meps doctor did not clarify which code specifically, as the codes all have multiple sub codes IE: 28.1, 28.2 etc.. I went to my doctor to review the codes and try to match anything with my medical history and none of them match, except the 28 for a tonsillectomy, which I never had, I only had a consultation for it. The trouble understanding all of this, is that my recruiter says I am unable to get a waiver for these three codes, which does not make a ton of sense, especially because I haven’t had any of these procedures. My question is: is the Meps doctor disqualifying me because he thinks I have had these procedures? Or is it that he thinks I need these procedures?

    Thank you,

  7. navydoc says:

    Those are not ICD codes. They are numbers MEPS uses for body parts/systems based on the DD 2808. 40 is psychiatric; 28 is lungs and chest; 31 is abdomen. ICD 9 codes will be listed on the 680 sheet that you can get from your recruiter. Each number will have an associated ICD 9 code that will match up with a body system.

  8. Eric says:

    Thank you for the reply. Are these disqualifying? My recruiter told me they were ICD 9 codes, which is why I thought they were. He also says I am unable to get a waiver, which seems a little odd, as I don’t have problems with my lungs, abdomen, or mental state.

    Thanks once again,

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Did you disclose a history of any of those issues? You may very well feel that you do not currently have a problem, but for some issues, even having a history of it may be disqualifying.

  10. Eric says:

    In my medical documents, there is a history of asthma, which I am getting a PFT test for because I haven’t had problems with asthma for 16+ years. There is an unspecified mood disorder, which has been specified by a counselor as “Social Anxiety” and she wrote a letter stating that it was no longer a problem and it was minor. Then there are two ICD 9 codes 536.8 and 564.1 which correlate as hpylori a stomach bacteria which was taken care of years ago.

    Is there a way to get all of this cleared?

    By the way you have helped much more than my recruiter has, he was really off on everything about the medical failure reasons. So thank you for the clarification on that.

    Thanks again,

  11. navydoc says:

    Don’t bother with a PFT. If MEPS or the waiver authority want one, they will order it at the time of your physical. Most of the PFT’s that are submitted to me by applicants are not done properly, and I have to do them myself anyway.

    Unspecified mood disorder and/or social anxiety are unlikely to receive a waiver. However, if you can submit a current evaluation by a psychiatrist, you should submit it for review by the waiver authority. A letter fro a counselor is probably not adequate.

    History of H. Pylori is most likely waiverable.

    Keep in mind that just because a waiver CAN be granted, does not mean that it WILL be granted, or even that a waiver request will be submitted by the recruiter. Very few medical, moral or RE code waivers are being granted in this day and age of military drawdowns and plenty of qualified applicants who need no special considerations for processing. You should have a plan B.

  12. Rod says:

    Quick question: I have a brief history (less than 6 months) of seeing a mental health professional over 5 years ago. At that time I also took the antidepressant Zoloft for around 4 months. The history deals with depression and anxiety but I have had no recurrent episodes in the 5 years since then. Would getting examined by a Psychiatrist/other mental health professional now (before I apply, using the same or a different mental health professional than I used 5 years ago) and having their recommendation present with my medical documents help my case in obtaining a waiver?

  13. navydoc says:

    Whether or not you will need a waiver will depend on review of your records to determine the exact diagnoses and outcome. It is always helpful to have a current evaluation from a qualified psychiatrist when reviewing mental health records.

  14. Joel says:

    Good day to all, I have a quick question about going back to MEPS. My medical was postponed for due to a cut I got on my pinky finger. It’s been fifteen days and today I had the sutures removed. My doctors gave me the necessary release documents and said healing looks great. I’m a bit concerned going into the medical clearance after seeing what some have experienced. My finger is almost 100 percent. Any advice before I give the release documents to my recruiter?

    Thanks in advance.

  15. navydoc says:

    If the wound is completely healed, it should not be an issue.

  16. DC says:

    Hey I went to MEPS for the navy and didn’t complete the process because I needed more documents. I submitted my documents days later and I got a letter saying I’m disqualified. Now the records were for ADHD meds. I haven’t taken them for all most 4 years. I have my records that say I am good but still got disqualified. Now my recruiter said that there was a waiver sent in for me but I’m confused since I got the letter so any way do you have any tips/info for me?

    A hopefull future sailor in the United States Navy

  17. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You must require a waiver because the following must not have been met;

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is disqualifying UNLESS the following criteria are met:

    1. The applicant has not required an Individualized Education Program or work accommodations since the age of 14.
    2. There is no history of comorbid mental disorders.
    3. The applicant has never taken more than a single daily dosage of medication or has not been prescribed medication for this condition for more than 24 cumulative months after the age of 14.
    4. During periods off of medication after the age of 14, the applicant has been able to maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average without accommodations.
    5. Documentation from the applicant’s prescribing provider that continued medication is not required for acceptable occupational or work performance.
    6. Applicant is required to enter service and pass Service-specific training periods with no prescribed medication for ADHD.
  18. J.R. says:

    Is having a history of headaches disqualifying, or do they have to be currently affecting me?

  19. Nate says:

    Dear Navy Doc,
    I am in the process of enlisting into the Marine Corps. I used to have depression in fifth and sixth grade from constant bullying and dealing with my parents’ divorce. I also went to counseling for mild anxiety from 9th-10th grade, and am now going into my senior year. I took small doses of anti anxiety medication for about a year and a half (only 25 mg) and have been off for over a year. I work two jobs for about 60 hours per week, do volunteer work, and an in great physical shape. I am currently getting some solid letters of reccomendation, but my question is is MEPS even going to give me the chance for an evaluation with all this? This is just a verh frustrating thing because I feel like they will want to punish me for any previous illness. I received an updated psyche evaluation by a civilian psychiatrist and did very well. Thanks for your time!

  20. mike. says:

    I have heartburn sometimes from greasy foods. Due I need a waiver? Is a gerd waiver possible if I’m not not on meds?

  21. CC says:

    I would like to enlist in the Navy Seals but I have a tree nut allergy. Is there any chance of getting a waiver for this or is it a Disqualifier regardless of the type of food?

  22. navydoc says:

    Everyone has headaches. As always, the devil is in the details. For a history of medically treated and/or debilitating headaches, you need to have been off all treatment for a minimum of 2 years with no lost time at school or work. Submit your recrods for review.

  23. navydoc says:

    For anxiety, you must be off all medications/treatment for minimum of 24 consecutive months. It is unlikely that the USMC will grant a waiver before that minimum waiting time has passed.

    It is not a matter of being punished for a previous illness. The single greatest risk factor for psychiatric illness is previous psychiatric illness. So a relapse of your anxiety may be triggered by the stresses of recruit training or combat, which can put you and your fellow Marines at risk.

  24. navydoc says:

    GERD or heartburn is not DQ if it is controlled by occassional medication use or diet.

  25. navydoc says:

    Tree nut allergy is DQ. As has been discussed many times on this board, even if you can get a waiver, it is good only for general accessions. SEALs do not usually give waivers for anything.

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