|The ID Card: Ticket to the QOL Support System
Source: By Perry Lockhart for LIFELines
Of all the birthdays I've celebrated, the one I'll always remember is when I turned 10. Not because of the presents, or the trip to Shakey's Pizza, or even the demolition derby I got to watch with six of my friends. No, it was the trip to the base personnel office so I could get my first military identification card that impressed me the most.
No more sitting in front of the commissary waiting for Mom to finish her grocery shopping. No more depending on Dad to get me into the base pool. No more begging Mom to buy candy at the Exchange. Now I could now do it on my own. At 10, I had finally arrived. I was somebody. I had ID.
The military identification card is the ticket to the services, activities, discounts, and facilities reserved for military personnel and their families. With it, spouses and children have all they need to take advantage of the vast resources of a military installation. Without it, doors shut, windows close, and access is denied.
The military identification card is an essential part of military life. It is such an important item that the first thing a husband and wife should do after their trip to the altar is go to the nearest ID card office to enroll in the Real Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS), enroll in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), and get the new spouse an ID card.
The Ins and Outs of ID Cards
The Department of Defense spells out regulations on military ID cards for all branches of military service. In general, spouses and dependent children 10 and older are eligible for a card. The order outlines special cases in which ID cards can be issued to younger children, stepchildren, and ex-spouses.
Getting an ID card is a simple process. When a spouse or family member becomes eligible, the service member and spouse must take the following steps:
· Take verifying paperwork (marriage certificate, birth certificate) to the unit administration office.
· The administration office will verify eligibility and complete a DD Form 1172, Application for Uniformed Services Identification Card DEERS-Enrollment.
· Take the completed DD Form 1172 to the nearest RAPIDS/DEERS office to receive the ID card.
· RAPIDS/DEERS personnel will update and verify the information in both online databases and issue the ID card.
Make sure enrollment in DEERS is accomplished at the time an ID card is issued because DEERS enrollment controls the ability to receive medical care from a military treatment facility and the TRICARE network. While the Department of Defense is working to consolidate both these databases, at this time personnel data is contained in both systems and must be updated separately.
The accuracy of DEERS information is critical to accessing the military medical system, which provides care to military personnel and their families. No amount of pleading, badgering, or crying will open the door to medical care if the system doesn't reflect the correct information.
As soon as an ID card is issued, it's possible to take it for a spin around base. Use it to open the doors to the commissary, where average savings of 29 percent over civilian grocery stores can be found. After the commissary, run over to the Information, Ticket and Tours booth to get a military discount to the local movie theater, Disney World or a number of other local attractions.
And in the years to come, take a look around base and enjoy knowing that the military ID card opens thousands of doors that only those who serve will ever step through.