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Navy Retiree Is Getting Married. Will the New Wife Get Benefits?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am a 70-year-old retired USN E-9 who is considering marriage for the first time. I spent 26 years in the Navy and another 21 with the DEA.

I can't seem to find anything about the benefits she would be entitled to; such as a military ID, medical and dental insurance, survivor benefits, etc. I would appreciate anything you can help with. Thanks in advance.

Never Too Late for Love

Dear Never Too Late,

Congratulations! She must be a great a great woman to steal your heart!

Well, she should be able to get a retiree spouse ID card for commissary and exchange privileges and base access. When you register her in DEERS for that she'll also be registered with Tricare. If she's over 65, too, she'll use Tricare for Life just like you do. You'll want to call Tricare for help making sure she is registered for that.

If you are receiving a VA pension or VA benefits, then you will start receiving the pension "with a spouse," Other than that, I can't think of any other entitlements or benefits. If you find out differently, please share. 

In the meantime, I would highly suggest you contact the VA, Tricare, etc. to make sure you have the correct information. I wish you all the best!

Ms. Vicki

Correction: This article incorrectly identified healthcare benefits available to the new spouse of a retiree. Newlywed retiree spouses are entitled to Tricare.

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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.