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Former Spouses

For unremarried former spouses, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) reflects TRICARE eligibility using your own Social Security number (SSN), not your former sponsor's.  

  • Health care information is filed under your name and SSN
  • You'll use your name and SSN to schedule appointments and to file claims.

You may be eligible for TRICARE if you fit into one of the following scenarios. In both scenarios, your sponsor must have at least 20 years of creditable service towards determining retirement pay. You'll need the following documents to establish your eligibility as an unremarried former spouse:   

Scenario 1: The "20-20-20" Rule

You are eligible for TRICARE as your own sponsor under your own Social Security Number as long as you meet the following criteria:

  • 20 - Your sponsor has at least 20 years of creditable service towards determining retirement pay.
  • 20 - You were married to the same sponsor/service member for at least 20 years
  • 20 - All 20 years of marriage overlap the 20 years of creditable (Active or Reserve) service which counted towards your sponsor's retirement.

If the Service Personnel Component determines that you meet the 20-20-20 eligibility criteria, you will be issued a new ID card with your own name and your Social Security number listed as the "sponsor Social Security number" the first time you renew your card after the divorce/annulment effective date.

Scenario 2: The "20-20-15" Rule

You will be listed under your Social Security Number as long as you meet the following criteria:

  • 20 - Your sponsor has at least 20 years of creditable service towards determining retirement pay.
  • 20 - You were married to the same sponsor/service member for at least 20 years
  • 15 - 15 of those years overlap the 20 years of creditable (Active or Reserve) service which counted towards your sponsor's retirement.

If you fall into this scenario, your coverage was/is determined by the date your marriage ended.

Before April 1, 1985  You're eligible for care received on or after January 1, 1985, or the date of the divorce/annulment, whichever is later. Your eligibility continues as long as you meet eligibility requirements (also see below). 
April 1, 1985 – September 28, 1988 You were eligible for care received from the date of the divorce/annulment until December 31, 1988, or two years from the date of the decree, whichever was later.
On or after September 29, 1988 You're TRICARE eligible for one year from the date of the divorce/annulment.

Health Plan Options

When you qualify for TRICARE, you're covered with the same benefits as a retired family member, and you have the following health plan options depending on where you live:

Losing Eligibility

You can lose your TRICARE eligibility under either scenario if you:

  1. Re-marry, even if the remarriage ends in death or divorce (unless you gain eligibility under your new spouse).
  2. Purchase and are covered by an employer-sponsored health plan.
  3. Were the former spouse of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization or Partners for Peace nation member.

You need to verify your eligibility as recorded in the in Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and contact the appropriate Service Personnel Component or the Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office at 1-800-538-9552 if you have eligibility questions or concerns.

Last Updated 10/29/2013

contact Your Contacts
DMDC Support Office

Toll-free: 1-800-538-9552
TTY/TTD: 1-866-363-2883
Fax: 1-831-655-8317

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