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TDRL Re-Enlistment Procedure

Temporary Disability Retired List

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.

219 Responses to “Temporary Disability Retired List”

  1. Maryann says:

    Master Chief,
    Do you have knowledge of this? I got 50% from DoD for the injury that sent me to the TDRL. Now of course the VA bumped me up to 80% because of other small injuries I received throughout my career. Does MEPS evaluate for just the DoD illness or does it also look at the rest of the smaller injuries rated by the VA before getting on the TDRL? Thank you!

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    When cleared to return, the board is clearing the original medical issue that led to the TDRL. That issue will not stop you from continuing your career; however, you must meet all the other medical requirements, too. If you have additional medical issues not covered by the medical board approval, then it is likely MEPS will fail you separately for those, and if unable to gain a CNRC medical waiver for them, you would not be allowed to continue service.

  3. Jaime says:

    They look at everything just like the way you first went in. Once you get all those zeroed out doesn’t mean you don’t still have them and meps will see that. If they don’t wanna take you for any of those reasons they don’t have to , and you. Can’t in turn turn around and cry to the Va for you’re eu back once it’s gone it’s gone…. And once meps denies you they deny you. So if you can’t get in with those ailments you won’t be in the military and you won’t have your VA monies … And yes I know this bc I was trying to get back in and my recruiter strongly advised against it as well as my TDRL case worker.

  4. Maryann says:

    Master Chief,
    Thank you. Your response makes a lot of sense. Do you happen to remember at the top of your head some of the reasons to get denied a CNRC waiver for illnesses not covered by the board? What exactly is CNRC?

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:


    CNRC is Commander, Navy Recruiting Command (the Admiral). As to specific medical questions and what may get through MEPS, I recommend asking NavyDoc, he is a MEPS Chief Medical Officer, and he answers questions on the three main medical pages of my blog. Your questions may already be answered, if not, feel free to ask!

  6. Maryann says:


  7. Maryann says:

    Master Chief,
    Can you please send me the links to your other blogs. I can’t seem to find them.

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I did provide the link; tap or click, “medical pages of my blog” in my previous comment; or you can search Google — “Navy Medical Waivers” and it should be the first one.

  9. James [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Master Chief,

    I am looking to get off the tdrl and return to full duty after calling several recruiting stations I was unable to get any kind of information. Most of the response I got where “Oh your prior service you have to go through the reserves”, then I found 10 USC 1211 section b. I then called a lawyer with military experience who said that the PEB board makes the determination and return to active duty. I’m looking for advice on how to make the as successful as possible. I was diagnosed with bipolar one but have talk to my doctor to get off medication. I know it’s not going to look good in the boards eyes if I’m only off for a month. How long of healthy progress would you suggest before I submit a package for consideration? There were a lot of extenuating circumstances that cause my disability which I have since resolved. I placed a call to my Pelbo. If I get the letter saying fit for full do I just take that into my local recruiting center, because I still get the feeling I’m going to get the prior service auto response? Any guidance you can give would be greatly appreciated.


    ETN1(SW) James [Last name redacted for privacy]

    P.s. I know it’s probably unlikely that the nuke community will take me back, but I did a rate conversion from FC to ET nuke. I still hold the nec’s for ciws. Are rate determinations at all factored into the board’s decision?

  10. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you are within five years of going on TDRL and the PEB approves you to come back, then you would come back as a Nuke — it is the Nukes that are holding your billet. Once you do get approved, have the recruiter look at COMNAVCRUITCOMINST 1130.8J, VOLUME II, Chapter 2, Section 7, pg. 18, Article 020707 TEMPORARY DISABILITY RETIRED LIST. It will explain that all the prior service rules they are used to following are suspended.

  11. James says:

    Master Chief

    Thank you very much for the response. I read on a few other pages that VA documentation could be used in the evaluation, but then I read someone saying that it shouldn’t. I’m going to talk to my peblo on Tuesday, I’m assuming that he is the one who will send out the paperwork for the Navy doctors to sign and review? It was also a good heads up to know that MEPS will disqualify me if I get the letter for fit for full duty. The reason I mentioned the nuke community not taking me back is because on my DD214 I have 3353 (subs nuc operator) and 3359 (subs nuc operator special category). Because if I am found fit and I haven’t been off medication for a year I’m worried they would just denuke me. Another question I have is if you are in a rate that is SRB eligible do tdrl navets get entitled to this once they reenlist and return to active duty? Do you mind sending me a private email I have a question about monetary loss of srb due to training and a page 13 I have about it?


    ETN1(SW) James

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If found fit to return, I would also expect the Nukes to have you cross rate; however, it is they who holds your billet, so you have to immediately return to them. The issue that I think you are going to have is the original diagnosis of bipolar — if that original diagnosis was confirmed while on TDRL, I would not be surprised if the PEB denies reentry. Yes, your VA documents, and all other medical records for that matter, can be used for your evaluation.

    To SRB, I am a Career Recruiter NC and not a regular NC that would handle the specifics — matter of fact, DFAS may be who you’d want to contact for the issue you indicate. If you have other questions, feel free to contact me via email — I have a contact me form; a link to it is in the navigation bar.

  13. James says:

    I had the same worry about the bipolar diagnosis and re-entry as well. I reviewed the medical page and it says bipolar recurrent usually non waiverable. My whole time in the Navy up until I went on limdu and subsequently med board I did not display symptoms of bipolar. I’m hoping that I can show that the depression was not primarily caused by operational stress but from marital issues that I was having at the time. I never wanted to be out but my ex-wife did and made my life a living hell which was the cause of my condition which is what my VA doctors also agree with.

    I found the info I needed on the SRB information but I ran into another problem. If I get found fit and I know that’s a big if I have to reenlist for 4 years well that 3359 NEC is for people on limdu, I would have to request my 3353 NEC back. It’s almost like I have to do all of this in parallel. Get FFFD, get my NEC changed back so that when I reenlist I can get SRB.

  14. MKC says:

    Master Chief,
    Sorry in advance for the length of this message but we really need some help.
    My husband has been on the TDRL for an anxiety disorder w/ stressors for 3 1/2 years now. He was found fit for duty by the PEB back in January and elected to re enlist to active duty. We received the paperwork from PERS912 in March with instructions for re enlistment. Basically all it said was to report to the local NRD and have them do the re enlistment. That same week my husband went to the suggested recruiters who gave the whole spill about the navy not excepting prior service. We were prepared with the documentation along with copies of the codes and laws that showed him otherwise. After speaking with a supervisor they said they remembered someone having to do the same thing (TDRL to active) a while back and that they just sent him/her straight to MEPS, so that’s where they sent him. He went to MEPS who sent him back to the recruiter, who sent him back to MEPS. This happened 5 times in two weeks. Then the contact at MEPS sat down with him and told him they could process him as reserve because “the navy wasn’t excepting prior service”. It was a real nightmare because no one would listen, even with the code in their faces. We finally got in contact with someone at PERS who called and told MEPS that my husband was to be re enlisted active duty and that all he needed to do was take the physical and swear in.
    This was in April. It is now AUGUST and we have been calling the person at MEPS that has been handling his paperwork every week to try to push the process along. They have been making him jump through all sorts of hoops and doing things that he shouldn’t have to do. For example, he had to drive 8 hrs to the hospital that he was seen at while he was in to get the discharge paperwork; and they made him go and get a full psych evaluation from a civilian Doctor for the condition that he’s already been found fit for by the navy! Now they are saying that everything has been “submitted” and they are waiting to hear back. They say the hold up is in the back with medical because the MEPS dr’s who are backed up at the moment. He hasn’t had a physical. On Friday we called around and kept getting different people at PERS saying that it isn’t their area, or at this point it’s out of their hands and that he should have been re enlisted by now. The original contact that was helping him at PERS has retired. A Woman at 912 told us that they have just been holding for him to re enlist and that he will be discharged any day now because he hasn’t taken action. She said she doesn’t understand why they haven’t re enlisted him yet, and that they shouldn’t be having any problems doing it. No one can tell us who to talk to. This has been a 5 month game of backwards and forwards and No one will help. It just can’t be fair that he gets discharged for taking too long when it is not his fault, no one is doing anything. We have proof that we’ve called every week for 5 months, and have done everything they asked him to do (even the things that he isn’t supposed to be doing considering his status). At this point we don’t know what else to do, he can’t re enlist himself.
    Any advice is appreciated. Sorry again for the length.

  15. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you would email me using the “Contact Me” link in the navigation bar of my blog with your husband’s rank and years in the Navy with the location he is attempting to get back in, I can see what I can do.

  16. Becky says:

    I want to reenlist but am not sure I trust the recruiting process without first getting as informed as possible. I left the Navy in 2009 as GM3 b/c I was put on an anti-depressant, which disqualified me for my rate. I was given the opportunity to change my rate, but the only choice I was given was MM. I talked to a MMCS who said that was career suicide/overmanned, so I opted to just leave the service. I’m not on disability for depression anymore- after a re-eval, I was cleared of it. I still have headaches/backpain disability, but that stuff really rarely bothers, either. I remember my old command telling me that the ship I was on was the worst command they’d ever seen, and for me to stick it out until I get orders out- but I didn’t listen. I’ve regretted that ever since. At least as an MM, I’d still be in and could have applied to crossrate. Anyway, I’m 38 and the clock has ticked long enough. I’d like to talk to a recruiter about getting back (not as a GM), but I want to know if that is even realistic. I have a 5 year old (and I’m married) to consider, so I want to make sure I can recognize wrong information when I speak to a recruiter. Any advice you can give is appreciated.

  17. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Because you were not TDRL and you have been out of the Navy for as long as you have, you must now once again meet medical accession standards (just like the new applicants joining), and not the retention medical standards (Sailors reenlisting). Having been discharged for depression and having chronic back pain and headaches (disability), you would not pass a physical and a medical waiver would not be recommended nor approved. And none of that even considers whether you would meet the minimum requirements (HYT, etc.) for NAVETs.

    I wish I had better news.

  18. Lacy says:

    A shipmate I know just went through med board and has gotten out on PDRL. My question is why did they not recieve TDRL first, which is how I heard the process is , then get PDRL? Also will this PDRL be with drawn in 5 years like the TDRL? Only asking bc they want to buy a home and are reling on the monies they are recieving. Also do they get both military pay and VA pay? Or can they CRSD pay..thank u so kindly…I have given them this site to look for answers but they are so stressed right now they just feel they wouldnt know how to ask.

  19. NCCM(Ret) says:


    For TDRL, the Navy is holding a billet for the person to return to when cleared for full duty (as long as it is within five years); that is not the case for one permenantly medically retired. To what benefits or pay either may be able to use while in either status is beyond my expertise.

  20. Alissa says:

    Master Chief,

    I am coming up on my first 18 months after being placed on the TDRL. I’m hoping to be found fit so I can return to service, but I have a few questions first. I was diagnosed with POTs before completing my A school, which landed me on the TDRL. I already had orders cut for me to Norfolk. Before being found unfit by the MEB I was found pregnant. I was still put on TDR (which was expected). Since being put on med hold before completing A school do I have to go back to school, or will they just consider me rated and send me on my way? My husband is Active Duty in the Navy as well, so will orders be cut for me in the same state as him since there is a regulation for dual military families to be placed near each other? Also, will I be given a desk job since my son is only 5 months old and then you fall pregnant in the service they don’t allow you on deployment for 18 months? I just don’t want to split apart my family that I’ve created. Also, how long will I be held in GL for on TPU? If I was made to return my uniforms before I left are new ones issued to me again? Please let me know what you believe to be the best course of action for myself un re-entering service.

    Thank you in advance.

    Alissa [Last name redacted for privacy]

  21. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I can answer your questions to the point of getting you back in the Navy once the board approves you, but I have no idea what happens once you get to TPU concerning uniforms and the detailing process. I really doubt they will allow you to go to the fleet with the job you were in “A” school for without having finished it.

  22. Brianna says:

    Master Chief,

    My husband will have been on TDRL for five years at the end of this month, and we got a letter from the Navy Personnel Command in TN saying he still needs his eval/Med Board to see if he will be on permanent retirement, fit for duty, severance with pay, atc. WE have been trying for two weeks now to contact A marion Gates, RObin Ferdinand, and Lt Overfield regarding this issue seeing as it is a time sensitive problem, and none of them have returned our calls, voicemails, or emails. I am going TDY next week and will have surgery the following weeks so we need to get this scheduled for him and under control asap. Are there any contacts you have that could help us with getting him scheduled for his eval/Med Board? Thank you in advance for any help or info you can give.

  23. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I don’t know of any way to get a MED board scheduled; especially within a couple of weeks. I don’t know who those people are that you reference. Have you attempted to contact PERS-82? The customer service number is 1(866)827-5672.

  24. Brianna says:

    I have been in contact with their helpdesk multiple times. I have been referred to Marion Gates, Robin Ferdinand, and Lt Overfield in the TDRL office over there and I still have not gotten the information that I need. Thanks for your time.

  25. Sarah says:

    Brianna, I was in the same position as you trying to get in contact with Marion Gates. I called pers-82 September 21, 2016 and they contacted me immediately and informed me she was my point of contact. I emailed her the same day and did not receive a response from her until December 16, 2016. After replying to her email I did not hear from her again until Feb 1, 2017 with my final notification for Evaluation. She gave me my point of contact at Great Lakes to get more information from in order to schedule the final evaluation and get my orders. I am now removed from TDRL as of January 1 because of the 5 years expiring and am just now getting my final evaluation in place. My point of contact at Great Lakes informed me she sent a request for my medical board findings to be sent to Great Lakes for my final review. Marion Gates apparently refused to send my paperwork to her and accordingly I am one of several people this is happening to. I was told to submit a congressional, though I have no idea what that means or where to even begin to find the information. Hopefully this information can help someone else. I also hope that I will have a final evaluation complete within the next few weeks despite this setback. I will post more with updated information.

  26. Brianna says:

    It is absolutely outrageous that this office and specifically Marion Gates is essentially obstructing TDRL personnel from getting their final evaluation. My husband is now at the same point of having gotten the info from Marion Gates to schedule his final eval, but we have yet to here if they need any additional paperwork from her to officially schedule him. What paperwork was she refusing to send? I also have the names and emails of her supervisor and the section chief if they would be of any help to you. Please let me know how it goes for you and if you have any tips for speeding the process up.

  27. Sarah says:

    It was requested of her to send my paperwork from my med board and she refused. The woman scheduling my final evaluation mentioned how this is uncommon and thought she was having a bad day. I called my point of contact at Great Lakes the same day as receiving my final notice for evaluation and she said she would give Ms. Gates a call to get the med board paperwork and that it takes about a week. I gave it 10 days before calling back to schedule, however, no movement on that paperwork. She called again today and called me back within the hour with the same result. She refused to send the paperwork. I’m quite shocked that she took so long to initially respond to me in the first place (2 months) and then another 2 months to send me a simple letterhead stating I would report to Great Lakes for the evaluation.

  28. Brianna says:

    I definitely understand your frustration, and wish there was an easier way of going about this. My husband is still trying to get scheduled for his eval, as the contacts Marion gave him were out of the office for two weeks. I will post any updates in hopes that it may help you in your process.

  29. Matthew [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Does anyone know an “easy” way to make sure that the address that Pers-82 has on file is up to date? I have called the service number and was directed to the voicemail of the aforementioned Marion Gates. I have been on TDRL for 3.5 years and have had one 18 month exam. Want to make sure I’m not missing anything (I’ve had a change of address).



  30. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I wish I knew anyway beyond calling 1-866-827-5672, or by, perhaps, using the “Live Chat” function on the NPC Web site.

  31. James says:

    Master Chief,

    I am approaching my next TDRL appointment, I think that I can pass and get the OK to reenlist, however I am worried about the meps process. When going through meps again, what is their policy on your prior waiver you had when you first enlisted? are they going to have to get new waivers and examinations done for those? or will all previously waived issues be in the clear?

  32. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The way I have always seen it work is when you have your approval, it will state the medical reason for the TDRL and that you have been cleared to reenter service with that condition; IF you have an additional medical issue that raised its ugly head since you were placed on TDRL, then that condition must meet the accession standard or require a waiver. If it was a condition that was pre original enlistment that did not raise its ugly head while on TDRL, then it won’t be considered. That is how it has always worked for me.

  33. William says:

    Master Chief,

    I been on TDRL for a condition which has worsened and required me to get my colon out with an ostomy bag.
    The PEB found me fit after my last evaluation. I know that going back to duty will be impossible or at least never seen a person in a ship with an ostomy bag. If I disagree with the decision, do they admin separate me or I have to jump through the loops and holes saying I am fit in order to be found unfit and discharged at MEPS?
    Any advise would help as I am lost and stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    Thank you.

  34. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Are you saying the the PEB found you fit to return to active duty? Have you received paperwork that starts that process to bring you back on active duty? Did they by chance find the TDRL condition unrelated to the colon removal — not the direct cause, but found the original issue cleared? If that is the case, they would find you fit, but you would not be eligible to reenter active duty because of the ostomy bag requirement which would be considered as a separate issue by MEPS and the Navy itself. Hope that makes sense.

  35. William says:

    Hi Master Chief,
    Here are my answers:
    Are you saying the the PEB found you fit to return to active duty? Yes.
    Have you received paperwork that starts that process to bring you back on active duty? Not yet I have chance to go to a formal hearing to argue my case.
    Did they by chance find the TDRL condition unrelated to the colon removal — not the direct cause, but found the original issue cleared? Correct BUT in the original MEB they mentioned TWO disabilities, my bladder and my bowel urgency. The bowel urgency is mentioned in the MEB. Bowel Urgency is a preliminary symptom of Severe UC which is the reason I had my colon removed.

    Here are my questions:
    You are saying I cannot go back in with an ostomy bag. Is that leave me in admin sep or general?
    I am a bit confused and not sure what to do as I want to keep my honorable discharge.

    Thank you

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I highly doubt that you will be allowed back on active duty with a ostomy bag — I can’t imagine they would find you “worldwide deployable”. I have never seen a medical discharge that wasn’t “Honorable”, so I don’t think that is something you would need to worry about.

    The following is just me speculating, please don’t take it as gospel. It sounds like you need to argue that the bowl urgency is a service connected issue and is the direct cause for the colon removal — I think if you do, they would medically retire you (PDRL).

    The VA disability process is not the same as the PEB, and me delving further into that subject may lead you astray.

  37. William says:

    Master Chief,

    Thank you for your knowledge. Still amazes me how they found me FIT although I provided a letter in my reconsideration from my doctor as he states I will be getting my colon removed. So is life and I will take it as it comes.
    The VA has already rated me at 100% so I imagine this will remain the same even when and if I go through MEPS correct?


  38. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Just because they find you fit by no means means that you will ever see the inside of MEPS. The PED has cleared the condition that led to the TDRL; they do not make a determination about what they consider unrelated issues. If you attempt to join, you would have to provide all of your medical records, and with the colon removal, you would not be eligible to return — the only way you would be eligible in that circumstance is if they determined that the colon removal was part of the reason for the TDRL — I don’t think they found it related based on what you stated. MEPS would disqualify you for all the issues, but the Navy would not approve a waiver for the missing colon unless specifically addressed by the PEB. Hope that makes sense.

  39. William says:

    Ok I see. But when you say I would not see the inside of MEPS. What type of discharge is that? Because if they find me fit but I cant even go into MEPS, this makes not much sense to me, sorry I just am not understanding very well.
    Thank you for your patience.

  40. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It would be an Honorable discharge — I assume with an RE-3P. Whichever, it would be Honorable because it is medical. And, again, the VA and the PEB are NOT the same process’ they make independent evaluations — neither one even cares the other exists :)

  41. William says:

    Ok, one last question and thank you once again for explaining this to me.
    If I disagree with the FIT decision the PEB gives me at the Formal hearing, what is the next course of action or step for me? Do I at that point in time need to try and contact the recruiters, or do I not even need to do anything. I guess my question is how do I receive an Honorable Medical Discharge if they find me FIT?

  42. NCCM(Ret) says:


    In the morning, call 1-866-827-5672 and ask to speak with the TDRL folks.

  43. William says:

    Thank you Master Chief

  44. William says:

    Master Chief,

    I looked at my DD214 and under separation code it says SFK which I presume is TDRL and under Re-entry Code it says RE-3p. This I believe means I cannot reenlist without a waiver correct?

    Thank you.

  45. George says:

    Hi Master Chief,

    I am going through the final TDRL process of PEB findings where I do not agree with the decision and after I sent them the reconsideration they still found me unfit. If I want to take it to a formal hearing what is the process as know one is able to tell me clear answers to this question.
    I was told over the phone by the PEB personnel at DC that my reconsideration was not approved.
    Do they send me a formal hearing appointment date in which I am suppose to attend to or do I have to request a formal hearing date?

    Much appreciated.

  46. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I actually don’t know. Those TDRL that I ever saw was those who received the fit finding. I wish I could elaborate more on the details of how to appeal, but I just don’t know.

  47. George says:

    Process should be the same though. For those who receive the fit findings, are they sent a formal hearing date or do they have to request a date? Any help would get me ready because I do not know if to wait or to send in a request.

  48. Jamie says:

    Hi Master Chief ,

    I am also going to apologize for the lengthy reply. My husband has been on TDRL going on 5 years now. He has been evaluated twice and both times being found “fit for duty”. Last year due to his back injury he was not able to re-enlist and so we postponed it for one more year. My husband is now lost over a hundred pounds and is in great physical/mental shape. This year took us forever to get an appointment with this ” Mrs.Gates ” and we couldn’t get into to see her until March 14 of 2017 ( that took us 7 months to get ) His contract ended in April 27th of 2017. We have been talking to TDRL lawyers and get a lot of mix information that does not make sense. Initially we were told he could never return and to go for permanent. This year we were told he could go back to activity duty even being out so long. We received the final evaluation and my husband was told by the lawyer to ask for a hearing … we did although my husband got the results saying he was fit to return ( which is what he truly wants ). Our paperwork for the hearing did not show up , instead we got re-enlistment paperwork ( or so we are told ) SECNAVIST 1850 4E. Stating he had to make a decision based on five options and send it back within thirty days. My husband and I totally confused sent it back saying he wanted to re-enlist. After finally hearing back from the lawyer we are now being told he received enlistment paperwork that usually comes after MEPS. Not only did he tell us that technically this is not the right paperwork but he then told us he could be disqualified from MEPS for other reasons than his back ( if he ever even gets that’s far in this process ) Here is what we would like to know.

    1. Can my husband be disqualified for taking anti-depressants it has been over a year since he has taken them ? if so can I get medical evidence to support that he no longer needs them ?
    2. During the five years my husband accumulated alot of medical costs 99 percent is paid but can that be a dis-qualifier from MEPS ?
    3. Does he still have to go to the hearing although he is happy with being found fit ?
    4. Does he even have a chance after all this time or are we wasting our time. It seems as though this process is a never ending battle for us and its taking its toll.
    5. Nobody can tell us what is going on with his case ( including or local recruiters ) ? Should we now expect MEPS paperwork or do we have to go to a hearing ?
    6. My husband has always been TAPED. He is a big guy 6’5 and about 282 pounds… if taped can he still pass the body fat percentage ?

    Any information you could provide would be great.


  49. NCCM(Ret) says:


    To your questions:

    1. Yes, most certainly — even when found fit by the PEB and had orders to return to active duty within the 5 year requirement. Having taken medication for depression is by itself a disqualification. A history of psychiatric issues is perhaps the number one reason applicant are permenantly disqualified. Any waiver for MINOR depression can only occur once a minimum of three years post treatment has elapsed.

    2. Non-factor.

    3. I do not know the requirements for hearings, but being found fit is irrelevant if there are other medical conditions that arose while on TDRL.

    4. I think his chances of reenlistment with the depressive episode is slim.

    5. Recruiters would have no idea where he is in the process. The only time a recruiter is made aware is when the local command receives the proper documentation for coming off TDRL — and that must be received within the 5 year deadline because that is how long the seat is available (the rating’s community manager holds the billet for a maximum of five years). Once the billet is returned, then the member who was once TDRL must follow regular procedures for reenlistment, and meet the accession medical standard; not the retention medical standard.

    6. If that was his only concern, if he was able to meet the height weight standard, he would not have an issue.

    I wish I had better news.

  50. Jamie says:

    Hi Master Chief ,

    Thank you for the fast response. I wish it was better news as well. Will the depression disqualify him from every branch or just the navy ?

    Thank you

  51. Lyndon says:

    Master Chief,
    I was placed on the TDRL list July 2013. It occurred during TBS(The Basic School) for Officers at Quantico Virginia. They found me unfit at the time for PTSD with a 70% rating. The symptoms stemmed from my prior enlisted combat tour as a Navy Corpsman. I have had two 18 month evaluations since being placed on the TDRL. During my first evaluation, I wasn’t found fit for duty but during the second I was found fit with the option to return to duty. In January of 2017 I received a ‘fit for duty’ letter endorsed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. I have my MEPs appointment mid August at MEPs. My questions are:
    1) I have a 10% claim for an unstable right knee which has been asymptomatic for the past 3.5 years. Would this be a disqualifying factor?
    2) I haven’t taken any medications for PTSD and have been asymptomatic for at least 2 years. Since this is the condition that triggered the PEB board, would this be a disqualifying factor at the MEPs? After reading your previous posts, I noticed the MEPs would disqualify you based on the condition that was used to put a member on the TDRL list. However, what about minor knee problems that are asymptomatic etc? Also, when I left the Marines I was not eligible for promotion since I was on medical hold. Would he time spent on med hold count towards time in rank?

  52. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I highly recommend that you ensure your medical records concerning your knee are submitted for review asap — you cannot go to MEPS until MEPS medical approves you to process for any “yes” answers on your medical prescreening form. Unless the knee issue stems from some sort of degenerative issue, and because it has been completely asymptomatic for as long as it has, it should not pose a problem, but if it does, it gives plenty of time for BUMED to chime in — the Navy doesn’t use BUMED as their medical waiver authority, but the Marine Corps does. BUMED can take up to three to four months to produce a reply. To the 10% claim, you must divulge the fact that there is a claim pending — if memory serves, as with everything else in DoD, there is a form for that.

    For the TDRL medical issue, essentially, the found fit documents is your waiver approval for that issue. MEPS follows the DoD Instruction — they would disqualify you, the branch of service then grants the waiver — it is a paperwork drill for the TDRL issue.

    To the time-in-grade question, I recommend reading MILPERSMAN 1850-040; it is a Navy instruction, but I assume it was written based on the prevailing law and would apply to all branches. I don’t know enough about the Marine Corps personnel system to point to their like instruction, but I am sure they have one.

  53. Lyndon says:

    Thank you Mater Chief. The problem I am having is I have never been to the VA for my knee. It was an issue I had while in the Navy as an enlisted member before I became a Marine Officer. I answered all the questions on my DD2707 and the MEPs POC gave my recruiter the ‘ok’ for me to go down to MEPs for the physical. Maybe they missed it? Not really sure, but I don’t have any records to regurgitate for the MEPs, at least in the last 6 years. Also, for my TDRL issue, will they pull all my VA records for the TDRL issue or do I need to request these records and bring them to MEPs?

  54. NCCM(Ret) says:


    They didn’t overlook it, and if the MEPS doctor thought it an issue, he would have asked for documentation. I didn’t know you had already completed the prescreening. To the TDRL issue, PERS will send over what CNRC needs. You should be fine.

  55. Lyndon says:

    Thank you Master Chief. I will keep you informed on my case. I have been trying to get back on active since they put me TDRL back in 2013. On my initial evaluation, I begged to go back on active duty. They denied me. Fortunately, I was lucky on my second evaluation. They found me fit for duty while I was deployed to Afghanistan as a DoD civilian. So maybe they may consider the fact that I deployed as a DoD civilian to support the military?

  56. Bill says:

    Master Chief,
    From your previous experience are there any civilian lawyers that you would recommend for representation at formal hearings? I am on TDRL and was found fit but want to take it to a formal hearing. Still havent received a date its been about 1 month since they found me fit and rejected my reconsideration.
    Any help would suffice. Thank you.

  57. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I have no experience with anyone that disagreed with their finding of fit for the TDRL issue.

  58. Jamie says:

    Master Chief ,

    My husband and I recently saw a Lt. Commander at a Navy Recruiting Station. We were told we could do a DD Form 2807-1 and a 2808 instead of going through MEPS ( because he will be disqualified )and he will send it to N3M. Although we explained the TDRL process ( of what we know , which is not a lot ) . We had a VA Military doctor fill out all the paperwork , but I have never heard of anything like this before or seen it in the forums. Have you come across anything like this ?


  59. Jacob says:

    Hey doc
    So I was placed on tdrl, USMC, for mixed anxiety and depression. I have been on this list for around two years. My question is, if I go and get reevaluated, and am found fit for duty, must I return to active duty or reserves for the Marines or could I pursue like the national guard?

  60. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If cleared to return, you must return into the MOS and component from which you were placed on TDRL. The reason is because that is the billet that is being held for you for that five years you have to be cleared. If you want to reenlist into a different branch of service or component (the Guard, Reserve, or active), then you would not be able to use the medical board’s recommendation. You would have to meet the accession standard for that enlistment — the same standard as a new recruit. You would require a waiver for the anxiety and depression, and a medical waiver for comorbid psychological issues normally will not receive waiver consideration at all for any branch of service.

  61. Jacob says:

    Thank you for the speedy reply. So follow up question, if I build a case from civilian and va docs to support my waiver, would this improve possibly of being waived? And with that would it be worth putting my 80percent at risk for the shot? Understand I left the Marine corps by this med board process and believe I was misdiagnosed or I’d still be in. I’m willing to put everything on the line to get back in, however different service, and potentially a warrant program. Do you think it possible to find the support necessary? I spent right at 4 years in, deployed, no issues not a all, command scheduled a mental health meeting after deployment and that’s where this began.i guess to boil it down, I would give up all to get back in, but I need to know if it’s worth the risk and the bet has good odds.

  62. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You would have to find a recruiter willing to work with you, and even if you can find one that will, the chances for waiver approval is nearly nil. The thing about TDRL is, for the medical issue that caused the TDRL, that it circumvents the joining process. It is allowing you to join using the medical board’s recommendation (if there is another medical issue that was not covered by the TDRL, then you could still be rendered disqualified and not allowed to return). Comorbid mental health issues just don’t receive positive waiver consideration because psychological issues lead to so many discharges and deployability issues.

    That said, to even try another component or branch, for depression alone, you cannot receive a recommendation for a waiver until a minimum of three years pass from the date of the completion of any and all treatment. And if depression was your only issue, which it is not, if you had to be medicated for any extended period of time — no branch of service will consider or approve such a waiver.

    If the med board approves you to return, and you want to continue to serve, I think returning to your previous billet will be your only opportunity.

  63. Jacob says:

    Thank you so much for the straight forward information, I feel like it’s a secret! I appreciate the thought and consideration you took for me.
    With much appreciation

  64. Travis [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    I was found fit for duty at my last tdrl check up. I have read allot of the previous threads and found most of what I was looking for however, upon opting to go active, do I finish my previous contract or must I start a new one

  65. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Contracts will be for a minimum 4 year period. If you would exceed your pay grade’s high year tenure (HYT) with a 4 year contract, then you may contract for 3 years provided you can complete 3 years without exceeding Navy HYT.

  66. Meghan says:

    I was reading thru some of the posts by others & one of them caught my attention MKC 2016. That is exactly the same process I went through but I’m Marines trying to return Navy. I tried for years to return Marine Corps but I was also turned away or refused to work with. I have all my paperwork. With exception that they did discharge me, I don’t understand why I did my part, but because it took so long and no one would work with me I was denied my active duty service. Please help.

  67. NCCM(Ret) says:


    TDRL is service specific. If you were placed on TDRL by the Marine Corps, then you must go back in the Marine Corps if found fit by the medical board within the five year time frame. If you want to try another service, then your medical condition would have to be evaluated. You must meet the same medical standard as any new recruit would.

    What was your medical condition that led to the TDRL?

  68. Sterling says:

    I am on the TDRL and am coming up on my 5 year mark at the end of this month (November) and have been to every medical examination (every 18 months). I still have not received any word on my final status. I have made many attempts to contact the PEB, but no luck. All I get is a recording that tells me to call back later. With my 5 year mark fast approaching (9 days) and with Thanksgiving in the mix, I am worried I will go over my 5 year mark and temporary loose my families medical benefits. Can anyone please point me in the right direction to get some answers.

    Thanks in advance

  69. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Once you are past the five years, you have to be back on active duty before that expires, and there is no way I think that can happen at this point with only eight days left. I do not know of any other way to contact them — did you change addresses during this period of time? If you did, and you did not update their records, they had no way of contacting you. You need to continue to try and make contact to find out if you have been found fit, or whether or not you have been moved to the permanent retired disabled list and percentage.

    To family medical benefits, I just don’t know the answer as I dealt with those found fit who returned to active duty.

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