Can My Grandson Be Registered in DEERS?

Maj. Russel Tart spends a moment during his lunch break to hug his grandchildren April 23, 2020
Maj. Russel Tart spends a moment during his lunch break to hug his grandchildren April 23, 2020. (Army National Guard/Brian Mason)

My husband is in the military and my grandson lives with us. I'd like for my grandson to be able to access military benefits like healthcare. How do we get him in DEERS under my husband?

Let's just cut to the core: Unless your husband adopts your grandson or he's officially placed in your husband's custody by the state, the military will not give your grandson military benefits. And if you were a military retiree custody is not enough -- your grandson would have be legally adopted to receive benefits.

Grandchildren are not considered military dependents, according to the DoD, and only military dependents can receive benefits. That means your grandson cannot access healthcare or use on-base childcare or recreation classes that require him to be registered to use.

The good news (but you've probably already realized this) is that some military benefits don't require registration in DEERS. Shopping for your grandson at the commissary and taking him with you to access on-base recreation like pools or events are all available apart from DEERS.

So what are your options for getting him benefits? If your grandson is going to be living with you long term, consider working with his parents to get your husband custody of him through the state. Once that is done, you can take your paperwork to DEERS and get him registered. 

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Benefits Family and Spouse