Qualifying for Your Military ID Card

By Rod Powers

Part of Veterans Benefits For Dummies Cheat Sheet

It can sometimes be difficult to know who qualifies for veterans benefits. ID cards are issued for other military benefits, including shopping, travel and Tricare. Here is a list of basic qualifications:

  • Military members on active duty.

  • Members of the active (drilling) National Guard or Reserves.

  • Retired active-duty members. Active-duty members can retire after performing at least 20 years of active-duty service.

  • Retired National Guard and Reserve members who are receiving retired pay.

  • Veterans who have received the Medal of Honor.

  • Honorably discharged veterans who have been rated as 100 percent disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) due to a service-related injury.

  • Dependents of those listed here. Dependents include a veteran’s spouse and children.

Exceptions for former spouses

In most cases of divorce between a military member and his spouse, the nonmilitary spouse will lose her ID card and privileges, with two exceptions, known as the “20/20/20” rule and the “10/20/10” rule.

Surviving family members

Under certain conditions, surviving family members of deceased military personnel are authorized to retain their ID cards:

  • Members who died while on active duty under orders that specified a period of duty of more than 30 days or members who died while in a retired-with-pay status.

  • National Guard and Reserve members who died from an injury or illness that happened or was aggravated while on active duty for a period of 30 days or less.

  • National Guard and Reserve members who qualified for retirement and were receiving retirement pay.

  • National Guard and Reserve members who qualified for retirement, but weren’t receiving pay because they hadn’t reached age 60.

  • Honorably discharged veterans rated by the VA as 100 percent disabled because of a service-connected injury or disease.

  • Medal of Honor recipients.