When it comes to ex-spouses of military service members receiving government benefits, there are some specific rules and regulations that come into play. If you are the ex-spouse of an armed service person, you will want to familiarize yourself with these laws. You may be able to qualify for valuable military benefits that you weren't aware were available.
One way to qualify for benefits as an ex-spouse is to be what is known as a "20/20/20" ex-spouse. As a 20/20/20 former spouse, you will be able to receive commissary and exchange benefits in addition to medical benefits. Here is what you need in order to qualify as a 20/20/20 ex-spouse: 1) You need to have been married for a minimum of 20 years, tracked from your marriage date to the official date of your divorce; 2) Your service member ex-spouse needs to have completed a minimum of 20 years of service that qualifies him or her for retirement pay; and 3) You need to have been married for at least 20 years during your ex-spouse's military service career.
There are some other things you need to know about 20/20/20 former spouse benefits. Namely, if you are currently receiving an employer-sponsored medical insurance benefit, you will not be able to receive TRICARE or other medical care from the military. That said, if you can decline the insurance from your employee plan, then you will become eligible for TRICARE.
Finally, do not forget to get your 20/20/20 former spouse military identification card. In order to get your ID card, you will need to bring some documentation to the ID office. Documentation required for your ID includes: 1) a certified copy of your divorce papers; 2) a certified copy of your marriage certificate; and 3) the DD214 of your service member ex-spouse if he or she is now retired. In addition, you will need your ex-spouse's Social Security number. Just to be safe, make sure get in touch with the ID office to ensure you have all the documents required.
Ex-spouses of military service members have important rights following divorce. If you have any questions about your rights in your military divorce, make sure to discuss your current situation with a Mississippi military benefits attorney.
Source: National Military Family Association, "Benefits," accessed Dec. 24, 2015