For military spouses who rely on full military benefits, losing coverage due to a divorce could mean huge financial and medical loss. Thankfully, there are provisions that may help keep you covered.
If you and your military ex-spouse meet certain criteria, you may be able to retain lifetime medical coverage and more – even after a divorce.
20/20/20 Rule requirements
To meet this rule, the following must all be true:
- The marriage lasted for at least 20 years
- The military spouse has at least 20 years of creditable service
- 20 years of credible service was carried out during at least 20 years of the marriage
20/20/20 Rule benefits
If you meet the 20/20/20 rule requirements, you may keep the following military benefits:
- Lifetime medical coverage through Tricare
- Access to the military exchange
- Commissary privileges
- Base privileges
All benefits of the 20/20/20 rule are terminated if the former spouse remarries.
Medical benefits are suspended to former spouses that receive medical coverage through an employer-sponsored health care plan.
If the marriage lasted for at least 20 years and the military spouse has at least 20 years of creditable service, an overlap of only 15 years of marriage and service qualifies the former spouse to receive partial benefits under the “20/20/15” rule.
Former military spouses who do not meet requirements for the “20/20/20” rule or the “20/20/15” rule may still be eligible for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program if they do not remarry before the age of 55, are enrolled as a dependent in an approved healthcare program and are entitled to a share of the service member’s military retired pay.
Other exceptions may apply, depending on the specifics of the circumstance.
If you are seeking a divorce from a military member, contact a military divorce lawyer for advice. Regardless of the length of your marriage or how much creditable service your former spouse has, you may still be entitled to benefits.