Updated: October 25, 2015
Over my years in recruiting, although rare, I have helped reenlist a handful of people who were placed on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL). The process can be confusing; I hope this post may answer some of the more common questions.
TDRL is a program that a servicemember of the United States Armed Forces who have temporary medical issues that precludes them from being a functional member of a command may be placed if so determined by a formal Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).
Title 10 of the U.S. Code requires physical examinations to be conducted every 18 months while on the program (more frequently if diagnosed with PTSD). The intent is too ensure documentation of conditions in reference to stability, progression, and remission. All examinations are reviewed by the Physical Evaluation Board when attempting to make a decision of stability of medical conditions.
For Navy Veterans (NAVETs) who are in the TDRL program, if the PEB finds you “fit for full duty,” you will be notified of your eligibility for reenlistment by PERS-912, Millington, Tennessee. They will also notify the appropriate Navy recruiting activity.
If you desire to reenlist, your Recruiter will then schedule you for a physical examination at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The MEPS will determine that you are not physically qualified for reenlistment, and you’re otherwise enlistment eligible in all other respects, including height and weight, your physical examination results, and the “fit for duty” letter will then be submitted for a medical waiver. If the disqualification from the MEPS is relating to the approved PEB injury, then it will be approved without a problem – if there is an additional disqualification for something other than the original injury, then normal waiver procedures will be followed. When/if the waiver is ultimately approved, there will be no further delay in finding you a ship date for your original rating regardless of its Career Reenlistment Objective (CREO) Category.
As most NAVETs who are trying to reenlist through a recruiting station can tell you, the availability of billets can sometimes be far and few between, but for members reenlisting from the TDRL program, if it is necessary due to NAVET goal constraints, the Navy Recruiting District must obtain NAVET over-ship authorization from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command’s Operations Department.
Note: Final action must be taken no later than five years after placement on the TDRL. Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 1210(h) specifies that retired pay must terminate at the end of the five-year TDRL period.
The information here is consolidated from the Recruiting manual and other Navy publications, and written for the layperson.