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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2,544 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?

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