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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. 

Health Plan Options

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

Additionally, transitional survivors are eligible for active duty-specific programs 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 enroll in the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.
Did your active duty sponsor die before October 7, 2001?

Surviving children are eligible for TRICARE, just not with the same coverage as active duty family members. Instead, children have the same health plan options and costs as retired family members.

Last Updated 10/29/2013

contact Your Contacts
DMDC Support Office

Toll-free: 1-800-538-9552
TTY/TTD: 1-866-363-2883
Fax: 1-831-655-8317

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