The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, commonly referred to as DEERS, is a database that is used to determine eligibility of military members and their dependant family members for benefits. DEERS keeps records for active-duty and retired armed forces members, members of the reserves, National Guard, and civilian members of the Department of Defense. Civilian members of the Department of Defense will need to register with DEERS to receive their common access card (CAC).
Being enrolled in DEERS is necessary to receive Tricare benefits, which is the insurance used by the military. Registration in DEERS is automatic for military members, but it is not for their spouses and children, and military personnel will need to sponsor their dependent family members. Spouses and children of military personnel are not able to receive benefits until they are registered with DEERS. Family members who are eligible for DEERS are spouses, biological children, adopted children, and step-children. In the case of infant children, the first 60 days after their birth they can receive Tricare benefits, even if they haven’t been registered with DEERS. After the first 60 days, they will need to be registered to continue to receive full benefits. Dependent children are eligible for DEERS benefits until they reach 21 years of age, or 23 years of age if they remain unmarried and attend an accredited institution of higher education.
It is a simple process for military personnel to sponsor dependent family members for DEERS benefits, and the entire process can be completed in a single day. Sponsors will need certain documents when registering family members with DEERS. Spouses will need to accompany their sponsors to be registered in DEERS and bring certain documents. The documents needed for a spouse’s registration are their marriage license, picture identification card, birth certificate, and social security card. Dependent children will need their birth certificate and social security card; for step-children, the marriage license of the military member and their parent will also need to be presented. The DD Form 1172 will need to be filled out, and sponsors will be required to sign the DD Form 1172 during the registration process. The DD 1172 Form can be obtained over the internet, but will need to be returned to an identification card workstation in person. When the form and supporting documents are given to an identification card workstation, spouses and children who have reached at least 10 years of age will receive military identification cards.
After registering for DEERS military personnel should make sure that all their information, such as address and status, remains current.