There is no doubt that families of military service members have it hard. To ease this, there are many military benefits that are offered to spouses and children of military service members. While some of these benefits come in the form of direct cash, some can come in the form of discounts. Other than the financial side of things, military spouse and family can enjoy many more benefits.
Before you receive any benefits as the children or the spouse of military personnel, you must register to Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System or DEERS for short.
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Enrolling in DEERS
Before you can do anything, your spouse must sponsor you for enrollment in DEERS. If your spouse is deployed at the time of you enrolling in DEERS, he or she must complete the DD Form 1172-2. The completion of the form must be done in front of a verifying official.
Once it is done, you can collect the necessary documents which are the following.
- Photo ID
- Social Security Card
- Wedding License
- Birth Certificate
Have children? You will have to bring your children’s Birth Certificate and Social Security Card as well. If the child is from a prior relationship, alongside the documents above, include your adoption papers or marriage license.
Note: All documents must be the official form. Therefore, photocopies are not accepted.
After all of the documents are in your hands, you’ll have to wait for your spouse to enroll you in DEERS. The enrollment doesn’t happen automatically.
Your spouse can set up an appointment online at your local ID card office which you should if you don’t want to wait in a line. Or you can just go to the local ID Card Office. So an appointment isn’t necessary at all.
If your children is over the age of 10, he or she must be present with the service member as well. Form 1172-2 will be completed at the local ID card office and all of the documents you brought will be processed. After the RAPIDS employees verify the documents, the service member will complete the Dependents of Active Duty Members (DD Form 1173) or Dependents of Guard and Reserve (DD Form 1173-1).
After the forms are completed and processed by the RAPID employees, photos of the ID card recipients will be taken and the card will be issued to you.
Family members of the military personnel receive Tricare, healthcare through the military. There are two kinds of health insurance coverage for military families. There are two different kinds of Tricare given to active-duty, reservists, medically retired, and activated guardsmen families can use.
While Tricare Prime acts as a managed care option, Tricare Select is self-managed health insurance. So with Tricare Select, you can select a preferred provider, hence the name “select”. Tricare Prime, on the other hand, works similarly to an HMO. Also, the military retiree families receive military health insurance as well.
Basic Allowance for Housing
Shortly known as BAH is the housing allowance given to all active-duty service members. Under federal law, BAH must cover 95% of the housing cost. How much BAH you will receive depends on where the service member is located. The BAH rates are calculated every year and but if the rate for where you live goes down, you’ll still get the highest rate. Therefore, the changes won’t affect you.
If you choose to live somewhere other than where your spouse is stationed while being home or not, you as a spouse will still receive the Basic Allowance for Housing based on the duty station. So the rate is based on the duty station, not actually where you reside.
Almost all military bases have daycare centers. The money you pay for this service is going to be based on the family’s income. So the service member’s pay isn’t going to be the only determination. However, the demand for these daycare centers is very high.
Aside from the military’s own daycare service, you can get subsidized daycare for your children. The only requirement for this is the in-home daycares must be officially approved by the military itself. If there aren’t any daycare centers available in the base or you simply live away from a base, the military can subsidize the cost of civilian daycares that are part of the military’s network.