The United States military recognizes the status of military Servicemembers and their dependants, and even past spouses of military Servicemembers maintain some benefit rights. There are a number of different ways that being the former spouse of a military Servicemember can retain privileges for benefits. These benefits can be for everything from medical benefits, to using the commissary, to benefits for the military PX. The times that Full benefits are afforded to a spouse of a military Servicemember include: the spouse and Servicemember had been married at least 20 years while the Servicemember was on active duty, the former spouse is not remarried, and there is a 20 year overlap on the marriage and the military Active duty service.
Do You Qualify?
The military even has a term for this; they are called 20/20/20 military former spouses. To qualify for full benefits the former spouses have to meet all three conditions and remain not married while they receive the benefits. Also if a former spouse qualifies for benefits from their own employment for medical coverage then they do not qualify for medical military benefit coverage. But otherwise, they do qualify for full military spouse benefits if they meet the full three conditions, the same as if they were still a military married spouse. If they retire or their other medical coverage ceases then they qualify for full medical military coverage the same as if they were still a military married spouse, their medical coverage can be applied for and reinstated.
Once the former spouse remarries they no longer qualify for any military privileges or benefits. If the new marriage ends by divorce or death sometimes their previous auxiliary benefits such as commissary, theater and base exchange can sometime be reinstated. But military medical privileges in this case cannot be restarted once ended for marriage reasons.
If a former military spouse was divorced sometime before April 1985 but otherwise meets the qualifications for the military spouse 20/20/20 sometimes there are only partial privileges possible. If the former spouse qualifies only with:
-The married parties were together less than 20 years.
-The Servicemember completed 20 years or more active duty service.
-Only 15 year overlap between the marriage and military service.
In this situation there are only limited benefits. The benefits include no base exchange, no commissary, no theater, and a 4-year ID card that gives only medical benefits. Former Spouses who qualify for limited benefits that end their marriage between April 1985 and September 1988 are allowed medical coverage for two years.