There are several ways that being the former spouse of a military Servicemember can retain privileges for benefits.? These benefits can be for everything from the PX, to commissary, to even medical benefits.? Full benefits are extended to a former spouse of a military Servicemember when:
- -The former spouse is not re married, and remains unmarried while receiving the benefits.
- -There was a 20-year overlap between military service and the marriage
- -The Servicemember and the former spouse had been married for at least 20 years.
Such former military spouses are referred to as: Former Military Spouses.
Because they meet these three conditions they qualify for full benefits as long as they remain unmarried.? If a former spouse to a Servicemember is covered by their own employer health plan, then they do not qualify for benefits from the military for medical coverage.? But should this coverage cease; if they are still unmarried then their former military medical coverage can be reinstated after applying.? If a Former Spouse remarries, then all benefits and privileges they qualified for previously are terminated upon their marriage. If the marriage that is subsequent is ended by divorce or death, then their previous eligibility for Base Exchange, theater, and commissary privileges may be reinstated.
In this situation medical privileges for the former spouse cannot be reinstated once they were terminated because of a marriage.
Limited Former Privileges-
If a former spouse was divorced before 1 April 1985, and meets the other qualifications of the 20/20/20 former spouse there are some cases where only part privileges are possible.? If the former spouse has:
-Only a 15-year (not 20 year) overlap between military service and the marriage.
-The Servicemember completed at least 20 years of active duty military service.
-The parties were married for at least 20 years.
In this type of circumstance, then there are limited benefits available. These benefits include:
A renewable 4-year ID card authorizing Medical Benefits, no Base Exchange privileges, no theater Privileges, and no Commissary privileges. Former Spouses who qualify for limited benefits that end their marriage between 01 April 1985 and 30 September 1988 are allowed medical coverage for two years.? This is a strict two-year entitlement that ends after two years.?
Former spouses with limited benefit qualifications who are divorced after 30 September 1988 qualify only for one year of medical benefits. All Former spouses who seek benefits of any type must qualify under the basic requirements of the 20/20/20 or the 20/20/15 former military spouse requirements.? Otherwise there is no qualification for any benefits possible.
Sharon Craig says
I want to know when Former Spouses who were married for more than 20 years, but do not meet the 20/20/20 criteria are going to get an even break? I was married for 29 years. I was short by 3 months of the 20/20/20 criteria. I feel unjustly treated. When is someone going to fix this miscarriage of justice?
Maureen O says
I am very sorry for your challenges (so hollow of a word) you have and most likely still are facing. It is a great injustice that we the “former spouse” are left behind and forgotten. I was married for 22 years, with my husband for 25/26 years. With him from the beginning of his career. From boot camp, through two wars, foreign countries, countless moves, etc, etc, etc just like all military spouses, no matter if you served five years of fifty years. We are left behind and forgotten. Our service to our country is not acknowledged , the magnitude of our rolls are belittled if they even register at all, and we are definitely not remembered when divorce is brought into the picture. Even sadder is when the “former spouse” is “former” due to actions from the active duty spouse. All the service, sacrifice, support, time and grade that the “former spouse” has invested stands for nothing. Our numbers are high and they only continue to climb. You, Sharon Craig, will be in my prayers.
Melissa S. says
Does anyone know if there is an organization out there “fighting” for the benefits of former military spouses? I find it very hard to accept that I can retain my Tricare Insurance ONLY if I do not remarry, while military members can remarry without any restrictions whatsoever. Did the government stop to think that the reason some of us may have gone through a divorce was due to “indiscretions” of the military members? Did they ever stop to think of the sacrifices WE made to “join” the military? I think we, as former spouses, need to stand together and see if we can change this!!
B George says
As a Former Spouse married for 25/26 years less 9 months of the 20/20/20 criteria. Please add me to the list of standing together for Justice for fair treatment. We were there with them and our children moving from place to place.We were promised part of the retirement which is reduced each year by VA Disability Benefits.Because the military member doesnt want us as Former Spouses to have any part of their retirement. What about those of us that are disable and still caring for the children going to college without help from some of those military members. They can move on (the military member). However, give us our fair share of benefits as Former Military Spouses That Were In The Military Front And Back Ground As Long As The Military Member Was. Without Us They Wouldnt Have Lasted All Those Years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
D Bryan says
I agree. Former military spouses need to stand together and fight for our rights. We drug our kids from place to place and changed jobs every few years and spent very, very much time alone taking care of the family so the military member could do his/her job. Then when the military member decides he/she wants a divorce, we lose out on benefits. I think we should get full medical benefits same as the military member and the portion of the full retirement that we have earned; not what is left after VA. I agree with B George. They wouldn’t have lasted without the support they got from us.
Marisa Tolonen says
I think we should all join together to get these well deserved benefits back. I lost mine by a gap of 4 years of the marriage overlapping the military service, and my friend lost it by only 10 days!!! Every year we petition Congress through our representatives for this law to be changed, but nothing is being done. There are some organizations that are also trying to overturn these laws, however, I don’t foresee any hope unless a miracle happens. It would be a great victory if we could at least get the medical care which is much needed as we grow older, as I agree with all of you: these benefits should have lasted for life.
C Pierce says
Yes ladies, and what about us men who were 5 or 10 years into our service and were left by our ladies who in many cases neglected to take the children with them. this happened to me and made my life a pure hell. should my ex at that time been awarded anything? I wager I am not nearly the only one this happened to. I think each case should be judged on its own merit.
N Yankley says
Well, it seems I am about to join the ranks of you all. My husband is living with the next MRS. So I guess she will be on the family plan and get all that I have worked for. My divorce comes up in May and I am on disability. My son is 14, he has gotten in so much trouble in the last 3 yrs waiting for the divorce. He is on 100% adult supervision. So I couldn’t get a job if I wanted to. He has only done all of this to get his Dad’s attention in hopes that he will come back. Being on Medicare I am not that worried about loosing Tricare, though it will be a hardship. But loosing the BX and Commissary does not excite me. It still is not clear weather I loose both, since my son will still have his ID and I will be bringing him to the Doctors here and I guess have him take me to the store. Good Luck to you all, God Bless.
Shanika K. says
Well you all are not going to like what I have to say.First of all husband is in Basic Traing, Thank you. You all should have known that it would haappen, I mean when you married him it was through thick and thin, til death dose you part and no matter what you will always love. Don’t complain about the situation while your devorced its over. You all should of had a back up plan. I will never live my husban” no matter what he dose ….. I would just suck it up like a good wife because I will do just about anything to keep my family together because at the end he will want his family. If he agrees to a devorce I always have a back up plan. I will always make sure that me and my children are set. Good luck ladys…………….
Sabrina R says
Hi! My question is I was married to a man for 10 years 1/2 years all active military. I was told at the time of our divorce that I would be entile to a percentage of his retirement when he retired all I had to do was apply once he retired….when that happen I tried to find out what I needed to do and then I was told he was suppose to be written in my divorce decree…..but when I was told about it at the time of the divorce all I was told was all I had to do was go and show my marriage certificate and divorce papers to prove we were married and then apply. I’m just wondering if I can still do anything about it? Thank You for you input.
My husband is currently a Sargent in the U.S. Army and we are getting ready to go they a divorce. I was born with a Heart Condition and can’t go with out my daily medications, so with that being said will I still be able to get health benefits for a certain amount of time after we divorce?? I’m really stressing and afraid I’m goin to have to go without my medications which can kill me if I don’t take them like I’m prescribed.
Yes my sister was married to her Husband for 4 years and he really abandoned her. He ask for a divorce not her. She has never remarried to this day. Is she entitled to anything? Medical, his pension. He is retired now. Is she entitled to his retirement?
Patricia Norsworthy says
I was also married to my husband for 26 years and it ended in a divorce. we had three children. I tried to get his Guard benefits under the 20/20/20 but I was denied. I was short by 5 months and 26 days according to the 20/20/20 rule. I don’t think that is fair. At some point a waiver could be considered for spouses less than l year of the 20/20/20 rule The government need to review this rule again. We support our husbands doing the war times, and made sacrificed our careers by moving to support his military career. This rule should be reviewed and waiver for those with less than 1 year of the criteria.
I found through the “legal eagle uniformed former spouse act”, and attach also the “DOD Directive 1340-16, final rule January 28, 1983”. That if you where married for over ten years you do qualify for pension benefits and other. This through “DFAS” filling out form DD-form 2293 and faxing to them Divorce Decree and Petition. knowing the x Social Security and Branch of Service etc… Look into it because the system makes impossible for you to locate this information. It took me years. I was married for 13 years and two children.
Also, look into DAV request retiree pension. Form DA 21-0845, fill out and fax to them. Form available on internet. Good luck to all, we deserve this. He remarried and left me without anything. He retired prior to our divorce and his new wife “Trophy” is receiving all the benefits; when I put up with all his career. It wasn’t easy with two children and alone most of the time.
I agree that benefits should be granted to our former spouses and that under the criteria of 20/20/20 the remarriage policy is arcane and random. there does have to be a line drawn, you are asking the American people to subsidize the lives of those who bottom line, did not serve in the military and are not married to someone who did. In a time of no-fault divorce, expecting the veteran to continue to support an ex-spouse is difficult at best from a legal standpoint. Some common ground needs to be found, evaluate every “benefit” that really isn’t subsidized such as commissary and some insurance privileges,VA Home Loan Guarantee with funding fees and offer these to no-fault ex’s to start with. Why is it that a spouse of a retired disabled veteran who doesn’t divorce is not eligible for DIC and SBP but one if there is a divorce than both can be applied when SBP insurance is taken from the retired veteran’s retirement account in the first place and not by choice might I add. There is injustice enough for all, and nobody really seems to want to deal with it
Mary Ann Bratten says
My father served in navy from 1955 to 1959 . he never received any type of va benefits . why? He was married for 44 yes. Does his widow qualify for va benefits for survivors benefits? Name John Allen Bratten. DOB 2\18\1936 serviced on the USS prichett.46780540 u2nui is on dog tags. Thankyou
lorie E says
Married 30 years, husband retired with 70 percent disable, recovering from breast cancer wants a divorce. I am the 30,20,18.5