Survivors of Active Duty Service Members

Spouses and children are considered "transitional survivors" for the first three years after an active duty sponsor dies.

  • Surviving family members remain covered as "active duty family members." 
  • Health plan options and costs don't change. 

The loss of eligibility for TRICARE will result in the loss of your transitional survivor/survivor status.

Health Plan Options

Choose from any of the following health plan options during the transitional survivor period:

Additionally, transitional survivors are eligible for programs specific to active duty, such as the Extended Care Health Option.

After Three Years

Coverage for children doesn't change—they are covered as "active duty family members" until they age out of TRICARE or lose eligibility for other reasons.

Coverage for surviving spouses changes to that of a retired family member. The change is reflected automatically in DEERS and surviving spouses receive a letter from DEERS before the survivor status changes. This status change causes changes in health care options and out-of-pocket costs.

Dental Options

Surviving family members are eligible for the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) Survivor Benefit Plan. The TDP Survivor Benefit Plan offers the same level of dental coverage as the TDP. While enrolled, the government pays 100 percent of the monthly premiums.

  • Family members who are currently enrolled in the TDP will be automatically enrolled in the TDP Survivor Benefit Plan.
  • If not previously enrolled in the TDP, surviving spouses are eligible to enroll for three years following the sponsor's death, and children may enroll until they lose eligibility for TRICARE (i.e. age, marriage, etc.)
  • After three years, surviving spouses may be eligible for dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). >>Learn more 

Last Updated 9/11/2023