MEPS Prescreens & Waivers

APN47

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I've used the search function quite a bit and though there was a lot of threads on waivers and MEPS, I couldn't find an exact answer to my question.

My recruiter put in my prescreen to MEPS 29 days ago and said because it was over 150 pages of documentation, it would take around 30 days to get back. The reason for so many documents is because of the 3 surgeries I had (PCL reconstruction (right knee) 2014, Labrum repair (Left shoulder) 2016, Lateral release (left knee) 2017) and getting all the PT visits, post/pre operation docs and everything else required. I've looked at the AR 40-501 and I feel confident that I won't need a waiver since I can pass the flexibility tests and my shoulder/knees don't feel unstable. However, given how long this process has taken, going on my 2nd recruiter, the amount of surgeries i've had and reading through the MEPS horror stories, I'm preparing for it, just in case. Here's where I have a couple questions.

I asked my recruiter what the exact purpose of the prescreen was and if/when I needed a waiver, when would that be administered. I was told the prescreen was to identify any automatic disqualifying conditions and they'd determine whether I needed a waiver for my surgeries based off what was sent up with the prescreen. I found that a little odd that they'd determine if a waiver was needed without ever actually examining me in-person, so I called another recruiter to determine if that was accurate.

Recruiter #2 said that the prescreen was to determine if I had any disqualifying conditions (just like recruiter #1 mentioned), but that it had no affect on the waiver process. He said they basically want to make sure the surgeries in and of themselves were not disqualifying (multiple surgeries on the same thing, sawing off my leg, etc.) and that it only clears me to come up and take the physical (the waiver process would be determined by the results of the physical). So my questions are:

1. Who's right?

2. Are Medical Waivers a package deal, or based on each individual conditon? What I mean by that is, would there ever be a time when the recruiter might say something like "Hey, we got the waiver for your knee squared away, now were just waiting on your shoulder" or is a medical waiver an umbrella term for anything that you need waived (1 medical waiver for multiple surgeries)?

I apologize if this was already covered, I tried searching on here as best I could before posting.
 

APN47

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UPDATE:

I know this post hasn’t seen much activity, but I figured I should update my situation in case someone in a similar dilemma finds it while searching the site in the future.

My prescreen kept getting kicked back because they kept saying they needed more documentation and rather than explaining everything they needed at once, they would only mention 1 document everytime it was returned.

As of yesterday, everything has been accepted so that I can come up to MEPS this Monday and do the physical, but also meet with the doctor.

It has been explained to me that I have a 3 on my PUHLES for lower extremities due to the surgeries and before I can enlist and go through the physical, I have to get cleared by the doctor up there (upon seeing the doctor, it would be his call to lower my rating to a 1 or 2).

I was also told that it would be up to the doctor at MEPS to determined if I needed a waiver or if my body seemed healthy enough to go in without one.
 

Ooh-Rah

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@APN47

Thanks for the update, it is always appreciated and often valuable.

In hindsight, anything you would have done differently?
 

APN47

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@APN47

Thanks for the update, it is always appreciated and often valuable.

In hindsight, anything you would have done differently?
No problem!

I really worked well with my recruitor. As soon as she asked me for a document, I was either handing it in within the day or setting up an appointment to get it taken care of within a few days.

So, as far as anything I would do differently, it would probably just be to trust the process more. I spent a lot of time over the past couple months stressing myself out over situations I had no control over. I’d want to have stopped worrying about why it was taking so long and focus only on what I could control.
 

suaveflooder

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I have a similar situation with my eyes. I had lasik YEARS ago. Well, the military requires certain checkups at certain times that my doctor did not do. I’m off for that consult tomorrow to decide if I need a waiver for my vision. I dealt with a similar situation with my first recruiter with them just asking for one thing at a time. Thankfully, the current recruiter had this situation before and he just said, “go get” and gave me a list.

Glad you got it sorted out and thanks for posting
 

APN47

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I have a similar situation with my eyes. I had lasik YEARS ago. Well, the military requires certain checkups at certain times that my doctor did not do. I’m off for that consult tomorrow to decide if I need a waiver for my vision. I dealt with a similar situation with my first recruiter with them just asking for one thing at a time. Thankfully, the current recruiter had this situation before and he just said, “go get” and gave me a list.

Glad you got it sorted out and thanks for posting
Thanks,

I hope everything works out for you
 

digrar

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So, as far as anything I would do differently, it would probably just be to trust the process more. I spent a lot of time over the past couple months stressing myself out over situations I had no control over. I’d want to have stopped worrying about why it was taking so long and focus only on what I could control.
I run a site primarily concerned with recruitment into the Australian Defence Force. I just got a thank you message from a mother last week. They'd been through one of our medical waiver threads and got a heads up about the 8-12 week normal waiting time for processing, which is not something Defence Jobs will usually confirm or deny when asked by potential recruits. Seeing dozens and dozens of other kids having gone through the same process on our site saved a lot of stress in their house.
 

APN47

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Final Update on this Post:

To summarize the MEPS visit of 3 months ago, I smoked all the tests, including the 1-on-1 with the doc, but the "policy" forced his hand in recommending me for a med waiver and not just clearing me on the floor that day. The waiver took about 2 months to come back after being approved by the CG. I went up to swear in with an 11x option 4 contract reserved about 2 weeks ago.

IN MY CASE (as this might not be atypical of future recruits that find this post while searching later), the guidance counselor told me that it was against policy to even have me go take the airborne physical at MEPS because I had a med waiver. AGAIN, this could be due to the specific surgeries I had, so I'm not arguing that some might be able to get airborne with one. We reserved the option 4 at the recruiting office under the pretense of "it doesn't hurt to try", so I recommend the same.

Another situation that I mentioned in my intro post that was problematic was the DWI that I got in 2014 (putting it a little under 4 years old at the time of this post). I qualified for any job in the army from an academic (ASVAB Score) and health (PUHLES) standpoint. Yet, with my DWI being less than 5 years old, I would not be able to hold a "Secret" security clearance. After 5 years, it seems that the world becomes my oyster, but if you're within that time frame, it's gonna be tough to get one.

The last thing I will say about the visit is for those that may be coming in with student loan debt, like myself. SLRP is only available for certain jobs (like bonuses), that I'm assuming changes every quarter. 11 series jobs were not on the list and I believe the only combat-esk job that I saw was a tanker. Another thing about the SLRP is that it only covers current existing loans and it pays the principle ONLY. At least this is how the counselor explained it to me. So if you took out a $5000 loan 5 years ago and your debt is now at around $15000, the army will only pay that initial $5000. Also, it is not a lump sum. Meaning they will divvy up paying that $5000 over the course of your enlistment, meaning you're still racking up a good amount of interest while you're in. So, unless you're a doctor with $30,000 in debt, it is definitely something to think about. Things could change after today (Christmas eve. 2018), but that's how it sits now.

In closing, I signed a 3 year contract for 11x. It's been almost 2 years, but I did it. My end goal is still to doing something in the SOF world, but right now i'm just thankful to get the opportunity to earn the blue cord. I'll still utilize this site, as it has a wealth of knowledge and i'll try to contribute to that once I get the hang of things when I'm in. I ship out for Benning on the 8th with a tentative start of training on the 18th.... my 24th birthday.
 

MikeDelta

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Final Update on this Post:

To summarize the MEPS visit of 3 months ago, I smoked all the tests, including the 1-on-1 with the doc, but the "policy" forced his hand in recommending me for a med waiver and not just clearing me on the floor that day. The waiver took about 2 months to come back after being approved by the CG. I went up to swear in with an 11x option 4 contract reserved about 2 weeks ago.

IN MY CASE (as this might not be atypical of future recruits that find this post while searching later), the guidance counselor told me that it was against policy to even have me go take the airborne physical at MEPS because I had a med waiver. AGAIN, this could be due to the specific surgeries I had, so I'm not arguing that some might be able to get airborne with one. We reserved the option 4 at the recruiting office under the pretense of "it doesn't hurt to try", so I recommend the same.

Another situation that I mentioned in my intro post that was problematic was the DWI that I got in 2014 (putting it a little under 4 years old at the time of this post). I qualified for any job in the army from an academic (ASVAB Score) and health (PUHLES) standpoint. Yet, with my DWI being less than 5 years old, I would not be able to hold a "Secret" security clearance. After 5 years, it seems that the world becomes my oyster, but if you're within that time frame, it's gonna be tough to get one.

The last thing I will say about the visit is for those that may be coming in with student loan debt, like myself. SLRP is only available for certain jobs (like bonuses), that I'm assuming changes every quarter. 11 series jobs were not on the list and I believe the only combat-esk job that I saw was a tanker. Another thing about the SLRP is that it only covers current existing loans and it pays the principle ONLY. At least this is how the counselor explained it to me. So if you took out a $5000 loan 5 years ago and your debt is now at around $15000, the army will only pay that initial $5000. Also, it is not a lump sum. Meaning they will divvy up paying that $5000 over the course of your enlistment, meaning you're still racking up a good amount of interest while you're in. So, unless you're a doctor with $30,000 in debt, it is definitely something to think about. Things could change after today (Christmas eve. 2018), but that's how it sits now.

In closing, I signed a 3 year contract for 11x. It's been almost 2 years, but I did it. My end goal is still to doing something in the SOF world, but right now i'm just thankful to get the opportunity to earn the blue cord. I'll still utilize this site, as it has a wealth of knowledge and i'll try to contribute to that once I get the hang of things when I'm in. I ship out for Benning on the 8th with a tentative start of training on the 18th.... my 24th birthday.
Good luck and be flexible!

The only constant truly is change and the Army changes what the rules and regs are based on it’s current needs. There is the right way, the wrong way and the U.S. Army way. Be motivated, treat every task no matter how big or small as if it’s perfect completion will save lives. This includes simple tedious things like cleaning toilets, spickets, floors, dust bunnies under your bunk, to studying and executing you soldierly Common Tasks and always attempt to break windows when sounding off. Push yourself during PT, don’t just keep up with pack, strive to crush a 300. Also, take charge while in training, help your battle buddies that fall behind, your DSs will love that; even when they’re mocking your cracking and hoarse voice while doing so.

Write your graduation speech...they’ll be looking for the smartest and strongest from each platoon and company to stand before a board for Honor Graduate. Take it, make it yours!

Do these things and OSUT will be a walk in the park.
 
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