A medical waiver can be necessary for an individual to enlist in the military who otherwise does not meet the standard military procedures. Medical waivers could be needed for a variety of reasons from knee surgery when the enlistee was younger, to color blindness. The medical waiver procedure is carried out by the recruiters and staff at the recruiting station where the person enlisted.

Failed Physical

If the physical was failed for medical reasons at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), the enlistee must apply for a medical waiver in order to enlist in the military. The medical waiver workflow must be started by the recruiter. The completed process, including any medical records that support the claim the enlistee is fit to serve despite the failed physical, will be forwarded to the Waivers Branch of the recruiting headquarters for that branch of service. If the waiver is approved, the person will be able to enlist.

Previous Medical Discharge

If the enlistee has prior service in the military and was discharged for medical reasons, a medical waiver will be needed for reenlistment. The recruiting battalion surgeon must review the medical records of the person and make a ruling based on the history that caused the person to be medically discharged in the past. The surgeon is the only person who has the authority to approve a medical waiver for someone who was medically discharged. If the waiver is approved, the person will be able to reenlist.

Recruiting Battalion Surgeon

The surgeon’s opinion overrules any prior decisions that were made about the medical profile or medical waivers, including by other physicians at MEPS. If the surgeon changes the rating to indicate the person is eligible for enlistment in either the regular Army or the Army Reserves, the recruiter can continue to process the enlistee.

Medical Profiles

The recruiters at the recruiting station cannot ask the enlistee to perform physical fitness tests or tasks in front of them for evaluation after the medical waiver has been approved. If the medical waiver still includes a profile, the profile must be adhered to by all members of the military including the person’s future command and instructors.