Having a new baby is a busy and exciting time. And tiring. Don't forget tiring. Between the diapers and feedings, make sure you find time to enroll your baby in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) in a timely manner. DEERS is the first step in receiving military benefits for your child, including Tricare health care coverage.
Luckily, registering your child for Tricare in DEERS is automatic. All children of Tricare users are automatically covered under the insurance plan for a limited number of days.
What You Need To Do
In order to ensure that your child is properly identified in military records, and eligible for continued Tricare coverage, you must register your child in DEERS within 90 days if you are stateside or 120 days if you are outside the U.S.
To register your child in DEERS, complete a DD Form 1172-2 and submit it, along with a certified copy or original birth certificate to your DEERS office. If your child is born overseas, you will need a Consular Report of Birth Abroad instead of the birth certificate.
Contrary to popular belief, a Social Security number is not required to enter your child into the DEERS system, however it will be necessary to provide their Social Security number to DEERS once they receive a number.
DEERS can be wacky, so it makes sense to go back and verify your DEERS records. At one point, my husband and I had several extra children in DEERS (they were duplicates of existing kids.) That sort of mistake is funny; mistakes where kids are missing from DEERS are complicated and expensive.
What Else Does DEERS Do?
Medical coverage is the biggest reason why you want to have accurate information in DEERS, but it's not the only reason. DEERS lists eligibility for commissary and exchange privileges, military identification cards, life insurance benefits and educational benefits. It can also impact Permanent Change of Station issues, such as the ability to request military-sponsored visas for overseas tours.
Enrolling your new baby in DEERS quickly and accurately will save a lot of drama and hassle in the future. Find the time to ensure that it happens.
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