By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Smithluedke, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs Office
MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Sailors planning to say “I do” this summer can add one more thing to their ‘honey-do’ list -- enrollment of their spouse in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), Navy officials said July 5.
"DEERS is an automated information system which maintains critical data on service members and dependents that is used to determine eligibility for military benefits and entitlements," said Kathy Wardlaw, records management and benefits division director, Navy Personnel Command (NPC).
DEERS maintains more than 23 million personnel-and-benefits records for active-duty, Reservists, retired military, DOD contractors and civil service personnel and their families.
The system is also responsible for producing DOD identification (ID) cards, including common access cards, and it supports delivery of medical, dental, educational and life insurance benefits.
Previously, DEERS could be accessed though the myDODbenefits Portal on the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) website. The online system has been upgraded and can now be accessed through the website milConnect. Sponsors and eligible beneficiaries can still access DEERS through the DMDC website under ‘Beneficiaries’ or users can go directly to the new milConnect website, http://milconnect.dmdc.mil/.
Sponsors, spouses and eligible beneficiaries, who are over 18 years old, are able to perform the following functions on milConnect: update contact information in DEERS instantly, view current health care eligibility, manage TRICARE enrollments, locate the nearest military ID card issuing facility, view personnel information, transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to eligible family members, update civilian employment information, view Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) information, obtain proof of insurance if currently in a TRICARE-managed program, find answers to frequently asked questions about health care eligibility and more.
“Most Sailors assume that changing their Record of Emergency Data (Page 2) will automatically update their DEERS status, but they are two separate data systems,” said Wardlaw. “The Page 2 is a Navy data input into the Navy personnel system and DEERS is the official DOD repository for family member information.”
In addition to marriage, Sailors must update DEERS within 60 days of any other life-changing event such as divorce, birth of a child or adoption and death of a dependant. Failure to do so could result in breaks in eligibility for that family.
Contact information in DEERS can be updated online, in-person, by phone, fax or mail. Two secure online options are either the new milConnect website or TRICARE Beneficiary Web Enrollment website. Both are available to people who have an active Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) issued myPay personal identification number.
For those who would like to update their DEERS information in person, the Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) Site Locator online allows service members and beneficiaries to locate the RAPIDS site nearest to them. Over 900 RAPIDS sites in 23 different countries use DEERS data to provide ID cards or related personnel support to eligible persons.
Beneficiaries can call the DMDC support office at 800-538-9552 to update addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Changes can also be faxed to 831-655-8317, or mailed to DMDC Support Office, 400 Gigling Road, Seaside, CA 93955-6771. Any other questions regarding DEERS can be directed to the NPC Customer Service Center at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC.