Military retirees and dependents who hold traditional laminated paper military ID cards are not required to upgrade to new IDs until their current cards expire, despite reports of older IDs being rejected, Pentagon officials said this week.
Some military retirees and dependents have reported via social media being turned away at military installation gates by guards and base security personnel who say the old-style cards are no longer valid. Instead, those users report, they are told they must get an upgraded ID to access the installation.
Pentagon officials, however, said old-style ID cards should still be accepted so long as they are not expired.
The Next Generation Uniform Services Identification, or USID, was introduced in 2020 and is the first retiree and military dependent card update since 1993. The new cards, which closely resemble the Common Access Card, or CAC, used by troops, are hard plastic and, unlike the previous version, include a color ID photo. The next generation IDs are issued to replace old IDs as they expire.
"Bottom line: Expired USIDs are being phased out; non-expired USIDs continue to be accepted as usual," Army Maj. Charlie Dietz, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. "We are not directing any sort of 'upgrade' of non-expired USIDs for the purpose of base access."
Military retirees and their dependents over age 65 whose ID cards do not expire are not eligible for the upgrade unless their current cards are lost, stolen or damaged.
Retirees and dependents with expired ID cards, however, do need to renew -- and soon. About a half million dependent and retiree ID card holders were allowed to use expired IDs over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But Pentagon officials have ended those extensions. Active-duty dependents, as well as Guard and Reserve family members whose ID cards expired before July 31, 2021, have until Oct. 31, 2021, to get a new ID card. Retirees and their family members whose cards expired before the end of July have a deadline of Jan. 31, 2022.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story has been updated to reflect Next Generation USID rules for retirees over age 65.