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Q. I’m the sister of an active-duty service member. My brother is married but has been separated from his wife for two years, living in separate states. They are currently going through a divorce, but it has not been finalized.
Now my brother has a baby on the way with another lady. He is deploying and has given me full power of attorney while he is gone and has asked me to enroll the child in DEERS/Tricare once it is here. He knows the child is his, but what documentation will I need to prove that this child is eligible for benefits?
A. Your brother can get all the information he needs by visiting the ID Card/Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System office on any military installation or by calling the main DEERS support office toll free at 800-538-9552.
If he won’t be able to do that before he deploys, you will not be able to get onto a military installation without a military ID card, so you would have to call the main DEERS support office.
However, none of this can be done until the baby is born.
Also, you and your brother should be aware that one of the requirements for a child to be considered a legal dependent of a service member is that the service member must provide more than half of the child’s financial support. The DEERS office can talk to you about that as well.
Q. My husband and I have been married for four years, and we are thinking about getting a divorce. How long after the divorce becomes final will I still have Tricare coverage?
A. Your Tricare eligibility will end on the day your divorce becomes final. There is no Tricare coverage for former spouses who were married to a service member for less than 20 years.
Q. My father is a service-disabled veteran rated at 30 percent. His wife just retired from her job. She will be getting Medicare, but does she also qualify for some kind of Tricare?
A. Unfortunately, your dad’s wife is not eligible for Tricare. Spouses are eligible for Tricare only if they are married to an active-duty service member or a military retiree — a veteran with 20 or more years of active service. Veterans who leave service short of 20 years are not eligible for Tricare.
Veterans with VA disability ratings for service-connected medical conditions may enroll in the Veterans Affairs Department health care system.
However, family members of veterans are not eligible for VA health care except in a handful of very narrow, specific circumstances, none of which appear to apply to your dad’s wife.
It appears Medicare is her only option.
Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; or firstname.lastname@example.org. In email, include the word “Tricare” in the subject line and do not attach files. Get Tricare advice any time at www.militarytimes.com/tricarehelp.
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