Soldier, Civilian and Family Readiness

Army Continuing Education System (ACES)

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If you are a member of the Armed Forces on August 1, 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) may offer you the opportunity to transfer benefits to your spouse or dependent children. In order to transfer benefits to spouses and/or dependents, a Soldier must apply through the DoD transferability application website (https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/) to determine if your dependents are eligible to receive the transferred benefits. After DoD has made the determination that your dependents are eligible to receive the transferred benefits, you must submit an "Application for Education Benefits" with the VA who will process the application and make payment.

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According to Army Regulation 621-5, Tuition Assistance is not available for spouses to use. However, the Education Center often has information available for spouses in regards to different programs that are available that do offer some funding assistance.

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To get the most current information in regards to becoming an Officer, visit the Education Center or go online to http://www.goarmy.com/rotc.html

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In both cases, a Soldier's Tuition Assistance per fiscal year is only good for that year. This money cannot be transferred to spouses.

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There are computers for general usage available at the Army Education Center during its normal operational hours.

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To get credit for military experience, you will need to get a Joint Services Transcript (JST) sent to the school that you are attending. You can do this by visiting the JST website at: https://jst.doded.mil/. Once your home school receives your JST, they will do an evaluation and award you credit where applicable.

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The local school that offers Green to Gold is Columbus State University at 706-507-8031 or 706-507-8805.

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To learn more about your GI Bill benefits, stop by the Education Center to speak with one of the counselors. You can also learn more about GI Bill benefits at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/.

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Soldier, Civilian and Family Readiness

Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP)

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The Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, is a comprehensive program, which combines deterrence, prevention, and treatment designed to strengthen the overall fitness and effectiveness of the Army and to enhance the combat readiness of its personnel and units by eliminating alcohol and/or other drug abuse. (ASAP mission and objectives are listed in para 1-30, AR 600-85).

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Unit commanders must observe their soldiers' behavior and intervene early to identify possible alcohol and/or other drug abusers, refer these soldiers for evaluation by trained medical personnel, recommend enrollment in treatment programs, and when appropriate, process soldiers for separation. (More information on the unit commander's role in ASAP can be found in para 1-31, AR 600-85.)

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There are five ways for a Soldier to be referred to ASAP –

 

  1. Self Identification (Voluntary) – The Soldier goes to his/her chain-of-command and requests to see a counselor for an alcohol and/or drug abuse issue.
  2. Commander/Supervisor Identification – A Soldier can be referred in this way if his/her commander becomes aware, observes, or suspects that a Soldier is a substance abuser.
  3. Biochemical Identification – A Soldier that comes up with a positive results from a urinalysis or a breath/blood alcohol testing method will automatically be referred to the Counseling Center for evaluation.
  4. Medical Identification – Healthcare providers/physicians may refer a Soldier if it is apparent upon examination that the soldier is abusing alcohol and/or other substance. The Soldier's unit commander will be immediately notified by the referring medical personnel.
  5. Investigation and/or apprehension – Soldiers that are identified by military or civilian law enforcement as being involved in an alcohol and/or drug related incident will be referred to ASAP for counseling within 72 hours of the incident by the Soldiers' unit commander
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DA Form 8003

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If you are using drugs or abusing alcohol, YOU ARE ALREADY IN TROUBLE, you just haven't been caught yet. You could also cause yourself health problems. If you want to avoid potential long-term problems, Self Referral is the way to go.

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  1. The commander will evaluate and provide periodic feedback to the counselor about the soldier's duty performance during care.
  2. Review ongoing evaluations of the soldier's progress and participation provided by the ASAP counselor and meet with the soldier to discuss the evaluation.
  3. Participate in Rehabilitation Team meetings with the ASAP clinical staff. (Chap 4 of AR 600-85 addresses the rehabilitation process.)
  4. Make the final determination of the success or failure of the soldier's rehabilitation (normally within 3 to 6 months of initial enrollment).
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All personnel will give a urine sample for testing annually; however, there is no set schedule for this. Personnel are selected at random by the Drug Testing Program once your UPL has input your unit's personnel roster. For example: if your unit has 135 personnel assigned, then you have a 1 in 135 chance of being selected. The software doesn't discriminate on who it picks for the next urinalysis.

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Services are authorized for all ID Card holders authorized medical services in a military medical facility, and personnel eligible for services under the Federal Civilian Employees Occupational Health Services program.

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Every urine sample is tested for THC, Cocaine, and Amphetamines. Tests for the other drugs are done on a random rotational basis; these drugs include Opiates, Barbiturates, LSD, and PCP. Tests for Steroids are done as a probable cause test only. If you suspect a soldier is on a specific substance that is not regularly tested for, notify the IBTC or the Urinalysis Lab when your UPL turns in the unit's samples for testing.

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No.

hELLO

Casualty Assistance

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No, the Army will not assist with funeral or burial costs. The Army will only provide military honors during the funeral/burial. However, if your spouse did not retire but received an honorable discharge, he/she is entitled to be buried in a national cemetery. If your spouse retired after 20 years or more of service, he/she is entitled to be buried in a Government Cemetery or in a national cemetery.

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The Survivors Benefits annuity payment normally takes 30 to 60 days to process from the date the application is received by DFAS before the payment begins. If it has been more than 60 days, contact the Retirement and Annuity Pay at 1-800-321-1080 to check on the status of the application.

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If he/she was a veteran who was honorably discharged, he/she is entitled to a two (2) man Military Funeral Honors team. If he/she was a Medal of Honor recipient, retired, or on active duty, he/she is entitled to full military honors.

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The following personnel are authorized government paid travel to the burial of an active duty Soldier: Spouse, Mother, Father, Mother-in-law, Father-in-law, siblings (Adopted), children of the deceased.

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Only eligible children who are covered by FSGLI are entitled to the benefit. You must bring a copy of the death certificate to the Casualty Assistance Center, building 35, room 129, Soldier Support Center for assistance in completing all required documentation.

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The Casualty Office is located in building 35, room 129, Soldier Support Center, 1st floor. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Yes, if your spouse was retired, the Casualty Assistance Center will mail you a Casualty Assistance Guide for Survivors. This guide will provide information to assist you in applying for all your benefits and entitlements (i.e. getting a new ID card, Veteran Affairs (VA) and Social Security). Most agencies require a death certificate once you receive the death certificate, you should contact the point of contact listed in your Casualty Assistance Guide for Survivors. If your spouse was a veteran or 100% disabled, the Casualty Assistance Center does not provide assistance. You should contact the local Veterans Affairs administration office.

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Death Gratuity is $100,000.00. This is paid to all beneficiaries listed on active duty Soldiers Record of Emergency Data (DD Form 93).

Soldier, Civilian and Family Readiness

COVID-19 Vaccine

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Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. During public health emergencies, when there is good scientific reason to believe that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its use through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), even if definitive proof of the effectiveness of the drug or vaccine is not known.

FDA pre-licensure approval is considered for treatment or prevention of diseases that are very serious.

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No, it’s not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. Vaccines against COVID-19 use inactivated virus, parts of the virus, or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.

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Yes, it is very important to get the influenza vaccine, particularly this season when both influenza viruses and COVID-19 will infect people.

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Each potential recipient of COVID-19 vaccine will receive a vaccine-specific Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Fact Sheet for Recipients from the FDA, which will provide the following information:

  • Basic information on COVID-19, symptoms, and what to discuss with a health care provider before vaccination
  • Who should and should not receive the vaccine
  • That recipients have the choice to receive the vaccine
  • Dosage and vaccine series information
  • Risks and benefits of the vaccine
  • An explanation of what an EUA is and why it is issued
  • Any approved available alternatives for preventing COVID-19
  • Additional resources
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Early COVID-19 vaccines will be given in a two-dose series separated by 21 or 28 days, depending on the product. Vaccines from different manufacturers will NOT be interchangeable. The vaccine must receive the same vaccine for both doses.

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All vaccine recipients will be provided a copy of the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card after receipt of the vaccine. It is recommended that the second-dose appointment be made at the time of initial vaccinations, or instructions provided on procedures for second dose follow-up. If a vaccine recipient has a smartphone, it is recommended that they take a photo of the vaccination record card as a back-up copy and set a calendar reminder for receipt of the second dose.

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The DoD is confident in the stringent regulatory process and requirements of the FDA. Manufacturers are required to submit their raw data for the FDA to review. Safety, immune response, and efficacy data from the trial stages are submitted to the FDA before they are authorized for use and distribution. Per FDA requirements, DoD will be monitoring and tracking vaccine reports of vaccine side effects through various surveillance activities both internal and external to the DoD.

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The DoD will offer vaccine to civilian and contractor staff with direct patient care and to those who normally receive vaccine for occupational health purposes, as authorized in accordance with DoD regulation.

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No. The vaccine will be offered on a voluntary basis. Priority populations are highly encouraged to receive the vaccine. When formally licensed by the FDA, a vaccine may become mandatory for military personnel, as is the case for the influenza vaccine.

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People who are offered the first-available vaccine are considered to be in groups that are most in need of COVID-19 protection. Vaccinated people will be protecting themselves, as well as their families and all people with whom they interact. Evaluation of the first-available vaccine will continue, even after its pre-licensure release. The release of other vaccines cannot be fully predicted, so people who are offered the first-available vaccine will be encouraged to receive this vaccine.

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Yes, based on Department of Defense prioritization. While there is limited vaccine availability, vaccination distribution prioritization will focus on those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces, and those beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19. TRICARE beneficiaries empaneled at a DoD military treatment facility (MTF) are eligible to receive the vaccine at a DoD MTF.

TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian jurisdiction, when available.

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To the greatest extent possible, beneficiaries in priority groups who are enrolled at Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) should come to the MTF to be vaccinated. This will ensure the maximum number of vaccine opportunities allocated to jurisdictions other than DoD are available for the non-DoD population. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian jurisdiction.

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Because the duration of immunity from natural infection with COVID-19 is unknown, vaccine may have value in protecting people who have already had the disease. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Talk with your provider if you have been previously infected with COVID-19.

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Yes. The intent of the vaccine is to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’ll still need to wear appropriate face covings and practice physical distancing in order limit the spread of the virus. Additionally, initially, we will not have enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone who wants the vaccine and COVID-19 pandemic risks will continue. We will continue to recommend wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, for everyone, until the pandemic risk of COVID-19 is substantially reduced.

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The current vaccine(s) trials have not studied the safety and efficacy for children and manufactures are not currently asking the FDA for authorization to vaccinate children. 

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We don’t know how long protection will last following vaccination but it will be critically important to measure long-term protection (at least two years) in the phase 3 trials and in other groups prioritized for early vaccination. We are still learning about the duration of protection following infection with COVID-19 and it is too early to tell how long protection will last.

Soldier, Civilian and Family Readiness

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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Any person can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, universities, business, and state and local government.

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FOIA References

FOIA Regulations

Soldier, Civilian and Family Readiness

General Order # 7

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This General Order applies to all individuals, whether military or civilian, who are assigned, attached, live or work on, and visit the MCoE and Fort Benning area of responsibility. Military personnel who violate General Order #7 may be subject to administrative or disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Federal employees who violate this General Order may be subject to disciplinary action or administrative action, including limited exclusion from the installation. All other persons who violate General Order #7 may be subject to administrative action, including possible exclusion from the installation.

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General Order #7 goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. January 3, 2021.

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The return to HPCON B+ will be contingent on conditions of the virus in our area and its threat to our community. General Order #8 will be published to cover January 19, 2021 and beyond.

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The United States has set a new high for cases of COVID-19 to date. Due to the aggressive spread of this virus, continued aggressive prevention and mitigation measures are necessary to reduce the transmission of the disease. As Fort Benning goes into the Holiday Block Leave period in the coming week, it is prudent that the installation, upon the return of thousands of trainees and permanent personnel from traveling outside the local area, increase the HPCON level to Charlie. Restrictions on certain activities remain essential to preserving the health of Soldiers, Civilians, and Family Members. In continued alignment with the public health emergencies declared at the federal, state, and local levels, it remains prudent to restrict certain activities in order to maintain good order and discipline, health and safety, and ensure the readiness of our force. Whether on or off-post, mask wear is mandatory. We will make decisions based on the disease, not our desires.

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All personal travel is limited to a 50-mile radius of the installation. All other travel will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and requires first GO/SES in the chain of command approval. Personnel that reside beyond the 50-mile radius are permitted to go to their residence.

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All personnel who are on an approved leave status outside of a 50-mile radius of the installation which terminates during the effective timeframe of this order, will remain subject to General Order #6 until the termination of leave or the return to within 50 miles of the installation, whichever occurs first.

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Within the guidance of local off-post communities, outdoor physical activities such as running, biking, walking, and family camping are encouraged, but limited to groups of 15 or less. Adhere to social-distancing guidance addressed below. All other travel is prohibited.

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Physical training. Large groups or mass formation unit physical training is prohibited. Exceptions include Army course requirements (e.g. Ranger School physical assessment). Units may execute physical training within their unit footprint in groups of 15 or less.

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All personnel will maintain a separation of six feet distance from all other personnel at all times both indoors and outdoors. Face masks and coverings must be worn whenever the appropriate social distancing of within six feet of others cannot be maintained or when within an enclosed space with others.

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Individual barracks rooms are restricted to the assigned occupants. No other person is allowed in any given barracks room except an individual assigned to that room and individuals conducting an assigned task on behalf of the command, such as a health and welfare inspection. At no time will more than three military personnel be present in a single barracks room at any given time.

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Social gatherings are limited to groups of 15 and must allow for proper social distancing. Military personnel residing in barracks are prohibited from engaging in “barracks parties” or outdoor “block parties.” All other military personnel and Civilians are similarly prohibited by

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All personnel are required to adhere to the directives of medical personnel and Commanders regarding an Order into Quarantine or Isolation, and to the current Fort Benning policy on personnel movement. Persons that recommended to test, isolate, or quarantine by the Public Health Emergency Officer or members of the FBGA Preventative Medicine Team will comply with the given guidance. Civilians and Family Members must adhere to these directives and applicable local restrictions. Violators may be barred from the Installation.

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Quarantined personnel must immediately inform their chain of command and/or medical personnel if they exhibit any medical symptoms. Quarantined personnel will be placed in isolation under ROM in designated on-post facilities, their on-post residence, or their off-post residence for a period of no less than 14 days, or as otherwise directed from medical personnel.

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Personnel confirmed positive will be placed in isolation under ROM in designated onpost facilities, their on-post residence, or their off-post residence for a period of no less than 10 days, or as otherwise directed from medical personnel.

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Personnel that are tested for COVID-19, or receives a positive test result, outside the Martin Army Hospital network will notify their chain of command, supervisor, and/or their contract POC. This will be followed by quarantine or isolation protocols immediately following the administration of the test until otherwise directed by a medical professional.

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Requests for waivers of any provision of this General Order must be submitted by the endorsing commander through the chain of command to me for decision. Subordinate commanders may impose additional restrictions consistent with this General Order if necessary for good order and discipline, but do not have the authority to unilaterally grant exceptions or exemptions to its provisions without my authority unless such authority is provided herein. Any additional restrictions imposed by a commander will be forwarded to the MCoE and Fort Benning Office of the Staff Judge Advocate for review.

hELLO

Identification Cards Branch/DEERS

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The Main Post ID Card office hours of operation are Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are closed on all Federal holidays. We will also be closed on the following training holidays (27 Nov 2020, 24 Dec 2020, and 31 Dec 2020).

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Effective immediately, the following provides the priority of service for ID Card/DEERS assistance.

We will issue CACs only on a walk-in basis at the Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) Center, Bldg 2295 from 0730-1530 Monday - Thursday based on the priority listed below. This is limited daily service. Once we reach the maximum number we can assist, no additional personnel will be allowed.

  • Priority 1 - Active Duty, DACs, CTRs (Lost, Stolen, Confiscated, Expired or expiring within 21 days)
  • Priority 1 - Single Soldiers in-processing and need a CAC/ID Tags
  • Priority 2 - New Hires (DACs and CTRs)

We will issue CACs/USID Teslin's on a walk in basis at the Soldier for Life Center, Bldg 9230 daily from 0730-1130 or until capacity is met based on the priority listed below. Afternoons are reserved for appointments only and emergencies which will be handled on a case by case basis.

  • Priority 1 - Active Duty, DACs, CTRs (Expiring greater than 21 days and less than 30 days)
  • Priority 1 - Military Students Attending a Course at Fort Benning
  • Priority 2 - Full Time College Students (21 yrs.) and Soldiers retiring from active duty within 7 days
  • Priority 3 - Retiree and Family Member ID Cards
  • Priority 4 - Promotions
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Fort Benning's Main Post ID Card office is located in the Soldier for Life Center, building 9230, located next to the Commissary.

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Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, and the Department of Defense's limited ability to return Identification (ID) Card facilities to normal operations while complying with all safety pre-cautious, the Under Secretary of Defense has approved an extension of the Uniformed Services ID Cards expiring 1 January 2020 through 30 June 2021. Uniformed Services ID Cards are the DD Form 1173 - Identification and Privilege Card for Family Members and DD Form 2 (Retired) - Identification Card for Retirees. This is good news for Beneficiaries. As long as the cardholder's affiliation is unchanged, USID cards which expired on or after January 1, 2020, are authorized for continued benefit use through June 30, 2021 and access to military installations.

This policy is not applicable to the Common Access Card (CAC) or dependents turning 21 years old. Unless an unmarried adult child is attending school as a full-time student with extended eligibility, approved as an incapacitated dependent, or enrolled in TRICARE Young Adult, the affiliation ends when the ID card expires and therefore is no longer eligible for continued benefits.

Tricare will allow beneficiaries to be seen by a provider and will accept claims even if the ID card is expired. Beneficiaries must provide the sponsor's full social security number and benefits number that is listed on the back of the Military ID Card to the provider. No lapse in TRICARE coverage or benefits.

Uniformed Services ID Cards are the:

  • DD Form 1173 - Identification and Privilege Card for Family Members
  • DD Form 2 (Retired) - Identification Card for Retirees

Tricare will allow beneficiaries to be seen with expired ID cards. Beneficiaries must provide the sponsor's full social security number and the benefits number that is listed on the back of the Military ID Card to the provider.

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Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, and the Department of Defense's limited ability to return Identification (ID) Card facilities to normal operations while complying with all safety pre-cautious, the Under Secretary of Defense has approved an extension of the Uniformed Services ID Cards expiring 1 January 2020 through 30 June 2021. Uniformed Services ID Cards are the DD Form 1173 - Identification and Privilege Card for Family Members and DD Form 2 (Retired) - Identification Card for Retirees. This is good news for Beneficiaries. As long as the cardholder's affiliation is unchanged, USID cards which expired on or after January 1, 2020, are authorized for continued benefit use through June 30, 2021 and access to military installations.

This policy is not applicable to the Common Access Card (CAC) or dependents turning 21 years old. Unless an unmarried adult child is attending school as a full-time student with extended eligibility, approved as an incapacitated dependent, or enrolled in TRICARE Young Adult, the affiliation ends when the ID card expires and therefore is no longer eligible for continued benefits.

Tricare will allow beneficiaries to be seen by a provider and will accept claims even if the ID card is expired. Beneficiaries must provide the sponsor's full social security number and benefits number that is listed on the back of the Military ID Card to the provider. No lapse in TRICARE coverage or benefits.

Uniformed Services ID Cards are the:

  • DD Form 1173 - Identification and Privilege Card for Family Members
  • DD Form 2 (Retired) - Identification Card for Retirees

Tricare will allow beneficiaries to be seen with expired ID cards. Beneficiaries must provide the sponsor's full social security number and the benefits number that is listed on the back of the Military ID Card to the provider.

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The ID Card Center is located in The Soldier for Life Center, building 9230 next to the Commissary. Hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. We are closed on federal and training holidays. For an appointment, call 706-545-9085, or go online to:https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil to schedule an appointment.

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For an appointment, call 706-545-9085 or go online to:https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil to schedule an appointment.

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Two forms of ID (one must be a current unexpired picture ID, local state or government agency (no concealed carry permits), for example:

  • Driver's license with a valid date or "MILTARY" written in where a date should be. (*licenses with "00-00-0000" as a date are not valid and cannot be used)
  • Passport
  • Voters registration card
  • Social Security card or letter from the Social Security Administration with the Social security number printed on the letter.

Required documents:

  • Marriage and Birth certificate (*must be original document with seal intact or certified copy with seal; birth certificate can be a confirmation of birth letter from the hospital for newborns)
  • Power of Attorney if sponsor is not available (*Power of Attorney must be original with raised seal; Special POA must specify for DEERS enrollment/ update and ID Card issuance)
  • Divorce decree signed by the judge with legible file numbers

Adding Stepchildren:

  • Original marriage certificate (*even if the mother is enrolled in DEERS), original birth certificate
  • Original social security card or letter from Social Security Administration Office with the Social security number printed on the letter.
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You will need to have two forms of unexpired identification for example:

  • Driver's license (*licenses must have a valid date or "MILTARY" written in where a date should be. DL's with 00-00-0000 as a date are not valid and cannot be used)
  • Passport
  • Social Security Card
  • Voters registration card

Concealed carry permits are not valid forms of identification. Also, Civilian employees must be entered into the RAPIDS system by CPAC Contract employees must be entered into the CVS system by trusted agent. 

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If you have forgotten or have been locked out your CAC PIN, please go to the Main Post ID Card Branch at the Soldier for Life Center, building 9230 next to the Commissary. Hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to  Friday,  closed on federal and training holidays.

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If you need to update your address in DEERS, you can be accomplish that by going to the following website (if typing in address, do not forget the "s" in the "http" portion of the website or you will not be able to reach the site): https://www.tricare.osd.mil/DEERSAddress/ or you can email address changes (including address changes for geographically separated family members) to the DEERS data base. The email address for DEERS is: addrinfo@osd.pentagon.mil 

  • Your email should include the following information:
  • Sponsor's name and Social Security Number
  • The address change you want to make
  • Names of other family member affected by the address change
  • Effective date of the new address information Telephone number and area code (if available)
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The Self-service portal allows Soldiers, reservists and Retirees with Defense Department's common access card (CAC) to apply for family IDs, retirement cards or update dependents' statuses online. The RAPIDS website, https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/self_service allows Common Access Card (CAC) holders to call up the listing of their dependents; fill out and digitally sign DD Form 1172-2 for their family members to receive an ID card.

Family members must be verified in DEERS in order to use RSS. For example newly married Soldiers and newborns must be enrolled in DEERS for them to be available for update in RSS. These situation still require the presence of the Sponsor; after the initial enroll the Soldier will be able to use RSS.

After making an appointment at the website https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil/appointment/default.aspx the family member can take the digitally signed form to the DEERS Section Bldg 2638 Soldier's Plaza. The Sponsor does not have to be present if the family member has the digitally signed DD Form 1172-2.

Soldier, Civilian and Family Readiness