Eligibility for Children
Your newborn or adopted child must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) before you can enroll in any TRICARE health plan.
To register your child in DEERS, submit the following to your ID card office:
- An original or certified-copy of the birth certificate or certificate of live birth (signed by the attending physician or other responsible person from a U.S. hospital or military hospital or clinic), or consular report of birth (FS-240) for children overseas;
- A record of adoption or a letter of placement of the child into the home by a recognized placement/adoption agency or the court before the final adoption; and
- An Application for Identification Card/DEERS Enrollment (DD Form 1172-2) signed by the sponsor and verifying official from a uniformed services identification (ID) card-issuing facility. If the sponsor can't sign the DD Form 1172-2 in person at an ID card facility, then a notarized copy of the form is required. The spouse must submit presentation of a power of attorney if the sponsor didn't sign the DD Form 1172-2.
You can apply for your child's Social Security number (SSN) on the Social Security Administration Website, or by calling 1-800-772-1213. You do not have to have a SSN for your child to register him/her in DEERS. Once you receive your child's SSN, be sure to update their DEERS information.
Biological and Adopted Children
Unmarried biological and adopted children remain eligible for TRICARE until his or her 21st birthday (or 23rd birthday if enrolled in a full course of study at a approved institution of higher learning and the sponsor continues to provide 50% of the child's financial support) even if the sponsor gets divorced or remarried.
- When your child "ages out" of TRICARE he or she may qualify to purchase TRICARE Young Adult.
- Coverage may extend beyond the normal age limits if he or she is severely disabled.
Stepchildren do not have to be adopted for them to be covered by TRICARE. As long as the sponsor and the parent of the stepchildren are married, the stepchildren are covered by TRICARE. If the marriage ends in divorce, the stepchildren lose eligibility on the date the divorce decree is final.
If the sponsor adopts his or her stepchildren, and the marriage ends in divorce, the adopted stepchildren remain eligible TRICARE up to age 21 (or 23rd birthday if enrolled in a full course of study at a approved institution of higher learning and the sponsor continues to provide 50% of the child's financial support) even if the sponsor gets divorced or remarried.
- When your child "ages out" of TRICARE, he or she may qualify to purchase TRICARE Young Adult.
- Coverage may extend beyond the normal limits if he or she is severely disabled
For TRICARE coverage beyond the age of 21, children must be enrolled in a full course of study at an approved institution of higher learning and be dependent on the sponsor for more than half of their financial support. Contact the nearest ID card office for information about the necessary documentation needed to extend benefits for your college student beyond his or her 21st birthday.
Regular TRICARE benefits end on the child's 23rd birthday or when he or she is out of school, whichever comes first. If your child leaves school or graduates before his/her 23rd birthday, then regular TRICARE coverage ends.
When an active duty service member dies while serving more than 30 days on or after October 7, 2001, his or her biological and adopted children will remain eligible for TRICARE as "transitional survivors" until they reach the eligibility age limit, marry or otherwise become ineligible for TRICARE. As transitional survivors, they will remain eligible for TRICARE benefits as an active duty family member.
Note: If the sponsor died before October 7, 2001, surviving children are still eligible for TRICARE, just not with the same coverage as active duty family members. Instead, the coverage is at the same level as retired family members.
- Children of current or former service members or their spouses born out of wedlock may be eligible for TRICARE benefits under certain conditions.
- Babies born to TRICARE-eligible dependent children are not eligible for TRICARE; however, the mother is covered for her maternity care.
- Children placed in the custody of a service member or former service member, either by a court or by a recognized adoption agency in anticipation of legal adoption by the member, may be eligible under certain conditions.