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My Ex Won't Get ID Card for Our Son

Ms. Vicki

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 father 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,  my 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 the other benefits to which he should have access (commissary, etc.)?


Dear DeDe,

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 age 22 or under 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

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Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.

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