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Children's Medical, Base Exchange, and Commissary Privileges

The following provides information relating to identification card eligibility and conveyance of medical benefits and shopping privileges for children:

Medical Care Eligibility

Unmarried Children under 21

Unmarried children of active duty or retired members are entitled to medical care by law until age 21, according to Title 10, Section 1072, United States Code. This includes step, legal custody ward and adopted children.

Exception: TRICARE Young Adult Program allows medical benefits only, with no shopping privileges, up to a child's 26th birthday. Children who are turning age 18 or older, remain eligible for medical care, including issuance of an ID card. The emancipation of a minor child where the minor is free from the control of a parent or guardian and is considered independent remains eligible for medical benefits. In this instance, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System reports a child's eligibility, regardless of emancipation, for medical care until age 21 unless they marry or join the active service in the military.

Note: Children who join the military and subsequently separate from the service, and are under the age of 21, or under the age of 23 and attending an institution of higher learning as a full-time student remain eligible for an ID card, reflecting medical care. This also includes children who join the Reserve and Air National Guard components and are not on active duty for 31 days or more.

Students over Age 21 (but not yet 23)

Students enrolled full-time in an accredited institution of higher learning, leading to an associate's degree or higher, remain entitled until graduation or age 23, whichever occurs first. The sponsor must be providing over 50 percent of their support and certify the support requirement in block 21 on the DD Form 1172-2, Application for Uniformed Services Identification Card--DEERS Enrollment.

Note: Students enrolled less than full-time in two institutions of higher learning may not combine hours to qualify as full-time student.

Incapacitated Children over Age 21

Children who become incapacitated prior to age 21 (or between 21 and 23 if enrolled as a full time student) and are incapable of self-support remain entitled to medical care if medical sufficiency is met and the sponsor is providing over 50 percent of their support as determined by an approved dependency determination. The dependency determination application is forwarded to:

Note: As of Nov. 4, 2009, the dependency application is forwarded to the DFAS-IN / JFLTBA, ATTN: Air Force Dependency Team, 8899 East 56th Street, Indianapolis IN 46249-1200. To contact this office by telephone, dial 888-332-7411 or 317-510-0129. To send this office fax message, dial 317-212-4141, or to contact this office by email, send a message to DFAS-IN_AF_Dependency@DFAS.MIL. Sponsors may send their dependency determination application directly to DFAS-IN.

Commissary Eligibility

Children under and over Age 21

Unmarried children, under age 21, of eligible sponsors are entitled to commissary privileges if they reside in the household of the sponsor or in one maintained by the sponsor. In addition, the sponsor must be providing over 50 percent of their support. The same holds true for children over age 21 that qualify as students or incapacitated children. Incapacitated children's residency is verified through a dependency determination.

Note: In the case of a final divorce, children residing in the household with a former spouse who is not entitled to commissary privileges are not eligible for commissary privileges. Specific reference for access to commissary privileges for children are listed in AFI 36-3026, ID Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their family members, and other eligible personnel, Table A2.1, and DoDI 1000.13, 5 December 1997, ID Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their dependents, and other eligible individuals.

Base Exchange Eligibility

Unmarried children, under age 21, are entitled to base exchange and Morale, Welfare and Recreation privileges if the sponsor certifies in block 21 on DD Form 1172-2 that he/she is providing over 50 percent of the child's support. Children over age 21 remain entitled if qualified as a student or an incapacitated child. Incapacitated children's support is verified through a dependency determination with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

(Updated as of February 2016)

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