what happens if youre caught lying at meps
General Military Questions

Lying At MEPS About Medical Or Criminal History: 3 BIG Consequences

MEPS stands for Military Entrance Processing Station.

The U.S. Armed Forces utilizes the joint-service MEPS to evaluate recruits for military readiness, including their standards of conduct and character.

Strict background checks at the local, state, and federal levels are performed on each individual recruit during the MEPS process.

Therefore, if you’re caught lying at MEPS, the consequences can result in your ineligibility to join the military, potential criminal charges, and repercussions in the civilian sector.

Related ArticleWhat To Wear At MEPS (Males & Females)

What Do People Lie About at MEPS?

lying at meps
Image: Army.mil

During the MEPS process, recruits may be tempted to lie about past events.

They may lie about behaviors, charges, and other possible information that could disqualify them from enlisting in the military.

Some typical things that people lie about at MEPS include:

Medical History

Some recruits may lie about their medical history, either thinking that the information is irrelevant, protected by privacy, or will go undiscovered.

Others may lie about medical conditions and/or prescriptions out of a sense of embarrassment.

Here are some aspects of medical history that may cause a recruit to lie at MEPS:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • ADHD
  • Surgery
  • Depression
  • Suicidal behavior/attempt
  • Injuries
  • Vision problems
  • Prescribed medications

All potential enlistees go through comprehensive medical examinations at MEPS.

Therefore, it’s important to be honest about all aspects of your medical history including present health conditions.

Criminal History

For those who wish to join the U.S. military, it can be difficult to admit to a history of any criminal charges or convictions.

This includes misdemeanors as well as felonies.

Recruits must keep in mind that everyone at MEPS is thoroughly investigated at the local, state, and federal levels for any illegal records or criminal activity.

Lying about your criminal history will only complicate and worsen your situation.

Related ArticleCan You Join The Military With A Felony?

History of Drug Use

It’s also common for recruits with a history of drug use, whether recreational or addictive, to lie about their experiences.

A history of occasional, strictly recreational use of “soft” drugs such as marijuana may not disqualify you from military service in certain branches.

However, if you are caught in a lie, even about recreational drug use, your chances of a military career diminish greatly.

In terms of any history of drug dependency or addiction, it’s best to be direct and honest at MEPS.

Any substantiated abuse of “hard” drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and/or many prescription drugs will likely disqualify you from military service.

Yet lying about any history of drug use can leave you open to serious consequences in addition to being disqualified as an enlistee.

Coming Clean

It’s essential to understand that military branches don’t expect all recruits to have perfectly clean backgrounds.

Honestly acknowledging negative elements in your history will allow MEPS personnel to work with you.

This could mean securing potential waivers and other methods to help you qualify for service if possible.

However, once you have made any dishonest claims, the consequences are typically definitive and clear.

Consequences of Lying At MEPS

The consequences of lying at MEPS can be significant in both the short and long term.

Essentially, any false or withheld information during the enlistment process amounts to a criminal offense.

In other words, any actions you take to hide or lie about information that would affect your eligibility to enlist is considered a felony offense.

This means facing potential punishment with a $10,000 fine and three years in prison.

If you are prosecuted and convicted for this felony violation, your criminal record is permanent.

This can affect your future opportunities for employment, housing, civilian rights, and more.

If fraudulent enlistment charges don’t lead to felony charges, you will still receive a discharge that falls under administrative, other than honorable, or dishonorable, for lying to the military.

A discharge of this type will also impact your future through loss of benefits, job opportunities, civilian rights, and other recriminations as well.

Two Examples of Lying at MEPS

Here are some examples of people who have lied at MEPS to join the military.

These testimonials reflect the potential professional consequences and the personal burden of worry and fear:

Lied About Having ADHD

So this is a throwaway because I’m nervous with this question.

I have ADHD. I used to be really affected and take meds for it every day. I was forced to go cold turkey 2 years ago and no longer needed my meds at all. Honestly, I feel like a regular functioning person except a little hyper, and that’s it. It’s as if I never had it, tbh.

Well, I went to a very anal MEPS, and I didn’t want to risk being disqualified. So, I lied about having ADHD. I’m worried that I might slip one day and tell someone or they dredge up my medical records and see it. I hate lying about big shit like this, as it’s hard to feel good about it without being guilty.

What should I do? They gave me so many chances at this point, I feel like they would discharge me and permanently disqualify me. Should I just convince myself I never had it since I really do feel normal and I can function normally? Most people don’t notice.

This testimonial reflects the burden of fear and worry that telling lies at MEPS will eventually be discovered.

This person also acknowledges that they had opportunities to “come clean” about their condition, which would have resulted in far fewer professional and personal repercussions.

Source: u/Golderbag – Reddit User

Lied At MEPS And Now Need SF-86

So, I was stupid and lied at MEPS per my recruiter’s advice. I had just gotten out of a highly toxic relationship with someone I had loved very much. I wanted to better myself and also get away/get distracted from my failed partnership. I omitted information at MEPS. I felt bad about it at the time but wanted to get away from my current situation asap (breakup, contract, and shipping out to basic all in the same month). I felt even worse about it later when my head was clear, and I wished I had just gotten waivers. Now a year later, it has taken a dark turn because I got an email today that we’d all need to get secret clearance. After doing research and reading over the SF-86 form, I can see there are several discrepancies of things I never reported to MEPS. Some I can fudge a little bit, but I figure that’s a bad idea because as I gain rank, maybe I’ll need to get TS clearance and do a polygraph. Here’s what I didn’t disclose at MEPS:

I had my appendix removed around 2008 (would be 19 years old).

I had PRK laser eye surgery around 2010 (would be 21 years old).

I was a pot head from about 2010 to probably 2015 (would be 21-26 years old)… Some minor use that eventually became rare use after that but definitely not almost daily use like before. No pot use for a year now. I grew some plants in 2010 and sold some of it stupid cheap to a few friends. I also had a medical marijuana card for like a year or two while I grew, I don’t remember how long it lasted (Don’t think I ever renewed it).

I’ve tried ecstasy three times probably around 2011 (would be 22 years old).

Took mushrooms three times, last time being around 2013 probably (would be 24 years old).

I had a vasectomy around 2014 (would be 24 years old).

I’ve gotten two tickets, one for running a stop sign on a bicycle and the last one (2014, would be 25 years old) for speeding. Both cases were dismissed.

I had a positive TB test in 2015, but nothing on x-rays (would be 26 years old).

A car pulled out in front of me and caused an unavoidable accident in 2017 where I had some hearing damage from the airbags going off (would be 28 years old).

So as you can see, I’ve dug myself quite the hole. I’ve been wanting to come clean and have tried Googling in the past as to how but kind of gave up on it because it seemed very tricky. Now, I’m back to searching the best route. Any advice on coming clean and mitigating the damage?

This testimonial demonstrates the potential for more severe consequences in the service member’s military career due to lies told at MEPS.

As the person acknowledges, providing honest information at MEPS perhaps would have required a waiver to enlist.

However, any hidden disclosures that come to light will definitely affect their current and future military career.

Source: BadChoicesMade – ClearanceJobsBlog.com

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

lying at meps about medical history
Image: Flickr.com

Here are some helpful responses to frequently asked questions regarding this topic:

Does the military check your medical history?

The military will absolutely check your medical history.

Medical screening is a vital part of the recruitment process, including completing official forms to establish your previous and current medical history.

Potential enlistees undergo a medical exam at MEPS as well.

Pharmacy record screening under the Prescription Medication Reporting System (PMRS) is also performed for all recruits at MEPS.

This allows the military access to seven years of your prescription history, including medications prescribed, dates, and who initiated the prescriptions.

Does the military do drug tests at MEPS?

Recruits for each branch of the Armed Forces will undergo drug tests at MEPS.

This procedure is standard for screening potential enlistees in advance for the presence of drugs or alcohol.

Recruits will be subject to a mandatory, observed urinalysis to test for any illicit substances.

Testing positive or refusing to comply can lead to disqualification in terms of a military career and other potential consequences.

Will lying at MEPS impact my future?

Lying at MEPS will impact your future, particularly in terms of eliminating any employment opportunities with the military.

Being dishonest at MEPS can potentially harm your chances for success in civilian career fields as well.

Even if you are somehow able to get away with a lie at MEPS, if a discrepancy is later revealed, you can face consequences for fraudulent enlistment and committing a military offense.

To protect your future, it’s best to be honest at every stage of the military recruitment process — including MEPS.


The military goes to great lengths in the vetting process of recruits.

This includes diligent screening and thorough investigation to ensure that potential troops are mission-ready, trustworthy, and reliable.

Though it may be tempting to lie at MEPS about your medical, criminal, and/or drug history, the consequences aren’t worth it.

Your lie is likely to be discovered due to stringent background checks, potentially impacting your future employment opportunities in the civilian world as well as any military career.

In addition, being truthful regarding your past indicates strength in terms of your conduct and character.

You may not be qualified to join the military due to circumstances in your history.

However, it’s far better to be honest and upfront during MEPS than to lie and hope that the information isn’t revealed through the military’s strict and thorough vetting process.

Rob V.
Lying At MEPS

Lying At MEPS

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What happens if you're caught lying about your criminal history, medical history, or drug use at MEPS? Learn more about the consequences here.
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