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CAC and Military IDs for Dependents, Retirees and Others

Obtaining and Renewing Military ID and Common Access Cards During COVID-19

Learn about the temporary updates (in place through June 30, 2021) that change issuance and renewal processes.

The military issues standard identification cards to active duty, reserve and National Guard members, retired service members, civilian employees, some contractors, family members of eligible sponsors and other eligible individuals. In addition to providing verification of identity and affiliation to the Department, military ID cards also verify eligibility for access to those benefits identified on the card. Each card will display only those benefits to which the individual cardholder is entitled, which may include military health care, commissary and exchange access, or morale, welfare and recreation access.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Common Access Card and other military IDs.

CACs are for active-duty military personnel, activated reservists and National Guard, Department of Defense civilian employees, eligible contractor personnel and other eligible populations as described in DoD policy.

Uniformed Services ID Cards are for military family members, military retirees, reservists and National Guard not in active-duty status and others who are eligible for DoD benefits such as commissary and exchange shopping and military medical benefits because of their direct affiliation with DoD.

Those who are eligible for the Uniformed Services ID Card include members on the Temporary Disability Retired List and the Permanent Disability Retired List, retired reserve (not yet drawing military retirement pay), Medal of Honor recipients, 100% disabled veterans, former members in receipt of retired pay, eligible foreign military, Transitional Health Care recipients, full-time paid personnel of the United Service Organizations and Red Cross when serving outside the United States, United Seamen’s Service personnel when serving outside the United States, officers and crews of Military Sealift Command vessels deployed to foreign countries, Select Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve personnel and retired DoD civilian employees.

Eligible family members include authorized dependents of active duty, military retirees, reservists, National Guard, retired reservists, National Guard not yet receiving military retirement pay, Medal of Honor recipients, 100% disabled veterans and former spouses eligible for 20-20-20 benefits.

You may obtain a military ID through ID Card Office Online or in person at a at any Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) site. These may be called the Pass and ID office, Military Personnel Flight, DEERS office, Personnel Support Detachment, ID Card Section, S1, One Stop, or a variety of other names, depending on the installation or branch of service. Use this RAPIDS Site Locator to find a location near you to make an appointment.

RAPIDS offices are located on military bases, at National Guard armories and at reserve training locations. The best way to find a location near you is to look at the RAPIDS Site Locator.

ID Card Office Online provides assistance to sponsors with the proper credentials (CAC or DS Logon) with preparation of the DD Form 1172-2 when it is required for ID card issuance or reissuance.

In order to receive your first military ID card, you must first be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System, or DEERS. Generally, dependents need to verify their eligibility by providing documents to prove their relationship to the sponsor, along with a Social Security number or tax ID number if you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. person. The documents required for DEERS enrollment vary depending on your relationship to the sponsor. You will then need to:

  • Complete a DD Form 1172-2. Your sponsor will need to sign and submit your form on your behalf. If you are the individual with the specific relationship with DoD, you are the sponsor. If you are a spouse, child or other individual that relies on the sponsor for over 50% of your support, you are a dependent. Dependents require their sponsor’s signature on the DD Form 1172-2.
  • Bring two forms of identification when you go to the office. Sponsors and adult family members, including children over age 18, must bring two forms of ID: 1) a valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, and 2) Any ID from this list of acceptable documents.

The renewal term for military ID cards varies depending on a wide variety of factors. This may include status, length of enlistment, age and other factors. You will need similar documentation to get your ID renewed. Check here for details.

Use the RAPIDS Site Locator on the ID Card Office Online website to find the nearest location that can issue a military ID.

If your CAC is lost or stolen, report the loss to your sponsoring command or local security office. You will need to provide documentation of this report to your RAPIDS office to receive a new CAC card.

If your Uniformed Services ID Card is stolen, you can get a replacement at a RAPIDS office. For dependents, the DD Form 1172-2 serves as the supporting documentation for a lost or stolen Uniformed Services ID Card.

Your ID should be returned to any office that issues military IDs if, for any reason, you are no longer listed in DEERS as a dependent of the sponsor. This includes when the sponsor separates from the military, when a child is no longer an eligible dependent or in the case of divorce. Expired ID cards should also be returned to an issuing office.

Unmarried former spouses are eligible for a military ID if they meet the 20/20/20 rule:

  • The sponsor served at least 20 years that is creditable in determining the sponsor’s eligibility for retired or retainer pay
  • The spouse and sponsor were married at least 20 years
  • And there was at least 20 years of overlap between the marriage and the military service

In this situation, the former spouse is their own sponsor, and the ID card is issued under their own Social Security number. In addition to their two forms of identification, former spouses must bring in their marriage certificate, divorce decree and proof of the service member’s service in the form of a Statement of Service, DD Form 214, or Dates of Inclusive Service statement to complete their enrollment.

Unmarried former spouses who meet the 20/20/15 rule have the same documentation requirements as 20/20/20 spouses, but the period of overlap is at least 15 years but less than 20 years. Their ID cards are only valid for medical care and will expire after one year.

Military dependents who are registered in DEERS are eligible for a military ID card. In most situations, dependents under the age of 10 do not need to have a military ID.

Military ID cards are not typically issued for dependents under the age of 10. However, there are situations in which it is necessary. These include:

  • The child’s sponsor is a single parent who does not have an eligible spouse.
  • The child’s parents are dual-military parents.
  • The child lives with a temporary guardian and does not reside with their sponsor.
  • The child lives with a parent who is not the sponsor’s spouse.
  • The child’s physical appearance warrants the issue of a military ID.
  • Any other unique circumstances as determined by the installation’s security office

Former dependents now using TRICARE Young Adult must present proof of enrollment in TRICARE Young Adult. They will need proof of TRICARE Young Adult enrollment, a DD Form 1172-2 signed by the sponsor and two forms of identification.

A surviving spouse and eligible children of deceased active-duty members, retired military members, Medal of Honor recipients and 100% disabled veterans are eligible for military IDs. Surviving dependents of deceased Reserve Members, National Guard Members, retired Reserve Members not yet age 60, and former members not in receipt of retired pay may also be eligible for an ID card.

Under federal law, military ID cards are issued only to those veterans who are eligible to receive medical care and other benefits provided by the DoD. This includes:

  • Retired military members
  • Those who are entitled to receive retainer pay
  • Veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to have a 100% disability rating or are 100% unemployable due to a service-connected injury or disease

If you do not fall into one of these categories, you are not eligible for a DoD ID card.

No. Permanent caregivers of Uniformed Services ID Card holders can obtain Installation Access Cards for the specific base that the authorized person uses. Each branch or base may have a different process, but generally it includes a specific form and a letter from a physician verifying the need for assistance. A caregiver can be issued an Installation Access Card to perform activities for the authorized user, including shopping and picking up prescriptions.

If you have any other military ID card questions, or any other questions about military life, let Military OneSource help you find the answers.

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