This post is a reflection of my humbling experience while attempting to turn in my daughter's military ID card.
My daughter made the decision to move on and out...I was cool, actually excited for her regardless of her other life choices and decisions, happy that she made the decision...but that is an entirely different blog post.
Since she is my military dependent...connected through Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) which entitles her to medical and dental care through TRICARE I told her to give up the military ID card. I went to the Soldier Service Center to turn in her ID card.
The waiting room was full as I signed in and I sat down until they called my name. It was probably my shortest wait in a military ID card facility. Others who signed in before me were called and issued numbers...my experience went like this:
Service rep: What can we do for you today?
Me: I am here to turn in my daughter's ID card and remove her from DEERS.
Service rep: Did she join the military or get married?
Me: No, she has moved out of her registered address.
Service rep: OK, so you want to update her address.
Me: No, I want to turn in her ID card and and remove her from DEERS.
Service rep: The current DoD (Department of Defense) ruling states that the child family member (aka dependent) are entitled to the ID card including medical care until they are 21 even if they do not live with you. They are only required to turn in their ID card if they join the military (then they receive their own card) or get married.
I can only imagine the look on my face as I wanted to complete the effective communication process by stating what I believed I heard.
Me: So you are telling me that I have to continue paying for her medical and dental insurance and she can have access to the rights that come with the military ID card yet I can't claim her on my taxes, she can run off and get married and I wouldn't know it to turn in her ID card because I am the military retiree?
Service rep: Yes...and she can keep the ID card until she is 23 if she can provide documentation that she is in college.
So in my learning experience I was humbled...no more or less than any other day. For anyone else out there who may have a child with a military ID card, who is also a legal adult, who you thought may come off your DEERS, TRICARE, or any other military benefit simply because they moved out...the times have changed.
To my daughter: Be safe, be strong, enjoy life, learn from your decisions, enjoy the transfer from college to the school of life, and from our favorite book, Love You Forever, (Munsch): I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as your living my baby you'll be. Thank you once again for enlightening my world...I will continue to learn from you, with you as you continue on your own journey...and don't forget to make that dental appointment before that cavity gets the best of you.