While there are many acronyms to learn in the military, DEERS is one to know by heart. It is the core of the military benefit system – without it, you wouldn’t be able to shop at the commissary, make an appointment at the clinic, or even possibly access a military installation. That awful noise when they scan your ID card? That means that you have to update your information in DEERS.
The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Registration System (DEERS) is a centralized database of personal identification information for service members and their families. DEERS verifies eligibility for benefits such as military identification cards, Commissary and Exchange access, Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, transfer of education benefits, and most importantly TRICARE benefits.
When to update DEERS
Service members are automatically enrolled into DEERS when they join the military. Each dependent, however, must be enrolled separately by the service member. The service member can add a new family member into DEERS in person at any military ID card-issuing facility.
Service members are also expected to update DEERS with any change in the sponsor’s service status, change in contact information, or change in family-status (marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, death). This means that every time you move you will need to update your DEERS information.
You have a few options for updating your information with the exception of adding a new family member or updating a Social Security number (which must be done in person):
- In Person: Visit a military ID card-issuing facility. Call to verify location and hours or set up an appointment.
- By Phone: 1-800-538-9552 or 1-866-363-2883
- By Fax: 1-831-655-8317
- By Mail: Defense Manpower Data Center
400 Gigling Road
Seaside, CA 93955-6771
- Online: Visit the milConnect website.
It is essential to keep your information up to date in DEERS or you may risk losing military benefits or may even possibly be fined. This can sometimes be overlooked, especially when a child is born.
Newborn children must be entered into DEERS immediately and as a result, are often entered before a Social Security number has been issued to them. Parents must return to a military ID card-issuing facility with the child’s Social Security card or they risk being fined.
What to bring with you
To speed up the registration process, be sure to bring all necessary documentation with you. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the necessary documentation, call ahead to your nearest military ID card-issuing facility.
For registering a new family member into DEERS, sponsors must bring a completed DD Form 1172 as well as the following:
To add a spouse:
- Marriage certificate
- Spouse birth certificate
- Spouse Social Security card
- Spouse photo ID
To add a child:
- Child birth certificate
- Child Social Security card
*For a stepchild, the marriage certificate is also required
To add a child over 21 with full time student status:
- Letter from the school’s registrar office verifying enrollment
*Benefits can be extended until the child reaches the age 23 if they are a full time student.
To add a dependent parent:
- DFAS letter of approval
- Service member birth certificate
- Service member valid photo ID
- Parent photo ID
- Parent Social Security card
To add a dependent ward
- DFAS letter of approval
- Court document placing the child in the sponsor’s home for at least one year
- Dependent birth certificate
- Dependent Social Security card
*All documents must be translated in English and certified.
If you have additional questions regarding the DEERS enrollment process, check out the TRICARE’s website or call your nearest military ID card-issuing facility. TRICARE has also put together a helpful fact sheet about registering in DEERS.
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