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Does My Son Get Benefits If His Biodad Deploys?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have a two-year-old son with a man in the National Guard. I found out that my son’s father is going to try and deploy to Afghanistan.

My son is not listed as a beneficiary or as a next of kin. If and when my son’s father deploys, will my son get any type of military benefits?

If they do grant my son benefits but his father remarries before he deploys, will my son receive anything? Or will it all go to his wife and her four kids? Her kids do not belong to him; my son is the only biological child that he has.

Since my son’s father is in the Guard, he also has a civilian state job, which the state takes child support from. Will the military be responsible for taking the child support out of his checks that he is obligated to pay each month?

Sincerely,
CJ

Dear CJ,

I understand that you have to advocate for your son. It must be hard to know that your son’s father is supporting another woman’s children, albeit his wife’s children (he is their stepfather). But your son belongs to him too. I hear you loud and clear.

Let me answer as much as I can. Your son should be listed on his sponsor’s Defense Enrollment and Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) form. Your son’s father can make those changes through his personnel office, by phone at (800) 527-5602 or he can make an appointment online.

If your son’s father goes on active duty or deploys for more than 30 days, your son should have an ID card. This will mean that your son would be able to visit any base or post and use their health-care facilities, PX, commissary etc. during the time of his father’s activation.Your son could also use the Tricare health-care program and use any provider that will take Tricare payments.

Make sure your son has a military ID card. You will also receive something to show that you are his guardian. You can get more information from the National Guard  here.

Regarding your son as a beneficiary: His father does not have to make him a beneficiary. A servicemember can name anyone they choose to be their beneficiary, just like you or I could.

In other words, his beneficiary could be his wife. He could leave her everything or he could name his son as one of his beneficiaries on his life insurance policies (SGLI). You should discuss this matter with your son’s father before he deploys.

Your state should continue to help you secure child support payments. If not, you should know what unit your son's father is with and the name of his commander and first sergeant. They should intervene and make sure that he continues to support his son financially.

Again, I hope you have an amicable relationship with your son’s father so that you can freely discuss your concerns.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is 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.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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