Need to update your information in DEERS? It should be pretty easy, right? After all, you've done the hard work by registering to start with. Your kids are already registered, too. This should be simple.
(Haven't registered you or your kids? We've got help for that over here.)
But it won't be, because this is the military -- and nothing is simple. Nothing.
Why are we talking about this now?Thanks to the Affordable Care Act every American needs to include a form with their annual income tax filing that proves they have health insurance for their household through their employer, buy it themselves -- or pay a fine.
The forms are provided by their employers. For you, that means the DoD will be sending you one in January.
The problem? To send you that form the DoD has to have the social security numbers (SSN) of all of your dependents on file. And they are missing SSNs from about 430,000 military households. That means they need you to update that information or you're going to be stuck paying the fine (even though you totally had Tricare).
How do you know you need to make the update? You'll get a snail-mail letter about it noting the specific dependents for whom they are missing numbers. If you have more than three dependents missing SSNs in the system, you'll get more than one letter, DoD officials said.
And, yes, you may get a letter even though you SWEAR you already turned in the information. But has that ever stopped the DoD from needing it again? No, no it has not.
Here's how to update your information in DEERSWe really, truly wish all the things could be done online. And some of them can be. For example, you can update your address, email address and phone number in DEERS by visiting this website. But that's about it.
Everything else -- like adding your child's social security number -- must be done in person at an ID card office.
How to find a military ID card officeFortunately one more thing is online -- the location of all of the military ID card offices. You can visit this website to find your nearest military ID card office and then make an appointment with them instead of just showing up and waiting what could be hours to be seen.
What to take with youIf your service member is the one doing the updating, all he or she has to do is take the social security numbers they are updating. If you're the one doing the update, however, you're going to need a special power of attorney for military ID cards or a form DD 1172-2, which has to be filled out and notarized. No, I'm not kidding.
There have been some reports of spouses updating social security numbers at an ID card office without power of attorney or the DD 1172-2. DoD officials did not respond to repeated requests for clarification on whether or not some ID card facilities are allowing spouses to update without one of those documents.