Dear Ms. Vicki,
My ex-husband and I divorced in 2001. He retired from the military in 2007. We had one son together, who went to live with his father at the age of 12.
Our son is now 19. He is still legally his father's dependent, but his dad won't get him a military ID, help him with his financial aid or other financing for school, or even help him get medical insurance through Tricare.
Consequently, our son, who is in college and getting very good grades while working to support himself, also has to pay for his own medical insurance through his job.
I recently lost my job and am about to start school myself, so I can't just put him on my insurance because I don't have any.
Who can my son contact to get the medical coverage that is due him, a military ID card to use, as well as information about financial aid and other benefits to which he should have access (commissary, etc.)?
This is a great question. Just because your son is in school and living with his father does not necessarily qualify him for benefits even if your ex was being cooperative.
You are right to think that unmarried children under age 21, or age 23 if they are a full-time student, can continue their ID Card benefits. They must be enrolled full-time in school to qualify. Sponsors must bring a letter from the school registrar certifying full-time course of study leading to an associate's degree or higher, and anticipated graduation date.
Also, the sponsor is required to certify on DD Form 1172 that he or she is providing more than 50 percent of the student's support.
Without your ex-husband's support, your son can contact the local ID card office or contact the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS. Their number is 1-800-538-9552. If anything can be done about this, they should know how to help.
-- Ms. Vicki