DEERS: Everything You Need to Know

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Everything You Need to Know About DEERS
The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, is the military's database for U.S. military members, family members, veterans, retirees, DoD contractors, and others who are eligible to receive military benefits. This guide covers how to update DEERS, make corrections, and more.
Table of Contents
  1. What is the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)?
    1. Why is DEERS So Important?
  2. Updating DEERS
  3. Verifying DEERS Information
    1. DEERS and Identification Cards
    2. DEERS and Tricare
  4. Updating DEERS or Making Corrections to DEERS Information
    1. Retirees and DEERS

You’ve heard your spouse or someone you know refer to it over and over again: DEERS.

Clearly, it’s important since the military world’s privileges revolve around it, but what is DEERS, and why exactly is it so important? 

After reading this guide, you’ll understand:

  • What DEERS is
  • Why DEERS is so important
  • The benefits military members, family members, and veterans receive when enrolled in DEERS

What is the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)?

DEERS is an acronym for the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. It is an automated system that maintains information about military members and their families eligible for all of the different military benefits and entitlements.

Why is DEERS So Important?

In order to receive any military benefits, you must be enrolled in DEERS. Suppose you’ve ever been denied access to a military installation or have been unable to shop at the commissary or exchange on a military installation. In that case, an error in DEERS may have been the culprit.

The DEERS system is most commonly utilized and recognized for its essential role in ID cards, but the data also establishes eligibility for things like:

  • On-base housing
  • Educational benefits
  • Medical benefits — including FEDVIP programs for dental and vision
  • Dental benefits
  • Life Insurance (SGLI)

Due to the database’s role in so many benefits, you and your spouse must keep DEERS updated with the most accurate information; otherwise, you could be denied entitlements or benefits.

Updating DEERS

Military members are automatically enrolled in DEERS when they join the military. On the other hand, family members must be enrolled into the system by the sponsor. 

Anytime you PCS, move to a different address (even within the same area), change any other contact information, or have a change in family member status — IE: marriage, divorce, an addition to the family, etc. This is especially important after welcoming a newborn into your family. If you are unsure of what steps to take to update DEERS, we can help.

Verifying DEERS Information

There are certain circumstances in which you, as a spouse, dependent, or veteran, will need to verify your enrollment in DEERS. In the next sections, we will be discussing these different circumstances and how to verify your enrollment.

DEERS and Identification Cards

As part of being enrolled in DEERS, military members, dependents, and qualified veterans receive a military identification card

To verify your enrollment or enroll into DEERS, your sponsor may need to bring your: 

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Social security card
  • Photo ID

If you are a dependent verifying your enrollment in DEERS, to receive or renew your ID card, you may also need:

  • Your sponsor present
  • A power of attorney, or
  • A DD Form 1172-2 filled out by your sponsor

To schedule an appointment to receive or renew your ID card, you’ll need to make an appointment online or by calling your nearest RAPIDS office.

DEERS and Tricare

According to Tricare, you must be registered in DEERS to use your benefits. Sponsors are enrolled into DEERS when they become a military member, but family members must be added to the system when qualifying life changes occur. 

If you and your spouse are both service members and have a child, one parent must be listed as the child’s sponsor. 

For claims like…

  • Referrals
  • Prescriptions
  • Treatments
  • Etc. 

…to be processed correctly, all DEERS information must be correct and up-to-date.

Updating DEERS or Making Corrections to DEERS Information

If you, or your spouse, realize an error in the DEERS system, the sponsor needs to contact DEERS and have the information updated. This can be done one of two ways: 

  1. By logging on to Milconnect, or
  2. Visiting a local RAPIDS office.

Retirees and DEERS

Many retirees who qualify for military benefits are not aware that once they are eligible for Medicare, typically around the age of 65, they must update their DEERS information. 

Updating this information can also be done by visiting any RAPIDS office and bringing two forms of valid government-issued identification. 

For more information on DEERS, what benefits you qualify for through DEERS enrollment, and how to update or correct information in the system, visit milConnect’s website.

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About Jessica Gettle

Jessica Gettle is a freelance writer, content creator, editor, and part-time aspiring baker. Jessica holds a degree in communications. As a former military brat and current military spouse, she has a passion for helping military members, learn about the resources available to them. As a military spouse and mother, Jessica travels all over the country enjoying the adventures the military life throws at them. When Jessica isn't working or chasing around her son, she's experimenting with new recipes for baked goods or curled up with a book.

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