TRICARE: ID Card Changes


TRICARE beneficiaries should make sure they have their Social Security number committed to memory.  It won’t be found on new Department of Defense ID cards.

As of June 1, 2011, SSNs are no longer printed on new ID cards issued to members of the Uniformed Services, retirees and family members.  The new cards will look basically the same, but will have a unique DoD Identification number in place of the SSN. For those eligible for benefits, such as health care, a DoD Benefits number (DBN) will be on the back.

The elimination of visible SSNs is a DoD response to the increasing need to protect the privacy and identity of ID card holders, but it may raise questions when it comes to obtaining health care or pharmacy benefits. Health care providers have always used social security numbers to check TRICARE eligibility and file claims.

For TRICARE beneficiaries, the DBN is most important. Many systems can accept it already, but beneficiaries using the Military Health System and TRICARE should be prepared to state their SSN (or their sponsor’s) when accessing health care or pharmacy benefits.

The change to new IDs for all members and families is expected to take about four years. Existing ID cards are good until they expire; including retiree cards marked “INDEF.” Beneficiaries who want a new ID without their SSN are advised to make an appointment before making the trip to an ID card facility.

TRICARE beneficiaries and providers can get more information, see ID card samples and view frequently asked questions at

General information about the removal of SSN from ID cards can be found at

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.
  • SSgt (retired)Lonnie L Darby

    Can we change them right Away?

  • M E Erpenbach

    You know that old saying “what goes around, comes around”? We used to have “Service Numbers” but they were phased out and replaced by SSNs. Now we are replacing SSNs with DBNs. I guess that braintrust up in DC will keep on changing everything until we are so confused with all the numbers we will have to have them tattooed on our arms. (sound familiar?)

  • Fred E Powers

    I am retired Air Force (21 years) I need a tricare ID Card. How do I get one. Fred E Powers USAF Ret. T/Sgt.

    • reader

      It is your regular retired ID card.

  • tommie

    where can I go to renew my I. D card for military retiree

    • AMCS Max Shelmadine

      My wife and two granddaughters that live with us need to renew their military ID card used for medical purposes

      • amcsmaxshelmadine

        We live in NE Indiana.

    • tommie,

      “How to Get a Replacement Military Dependent ID Card

      In addition to being in the DEERS system, you will need at least 2 forms of ID. For more information about where to go, contact your local base personnel office, or visit the Rapids Site Locator (RSL) for ID card requirements and to locate the nearest ID Card Facility/RAPIDS Station based on City, Zip, State or Country.”

  • DiningDiva

    This information was announced last summer in the weekly military report and was suppose to have been implemented when it was announced last June (that 2010 not 2011). My husband has been retired since 2004 and for a brief period in the mid 90’s they edited the SSN to only show the last four – then they went back to listing the full SSN.

  • Christine S

    Yes they are availble now and you should! I hate giving my SSN everytime I go see a provider!

  • Jane Johndrow

    I live in Houston TX and need to renew my military ID. I am the spouse of a deceased veteran. Does anyone know a place close to Houston for this?

    • lisha

      there is a place located off old gaveston road i belive. the address i have is 14657 sneider st. houston 77032

    • Jeff B

      Located on Ellington Field:

      NOSC Houston
      14555 SCHOLL ST
      Houston, TX 77034

      Phone Numbers: (832) 380-7400, (832) 380-7000
      Fax Number: (832) 380-7415

  • Sharon

    I work for a health care provider (North Region). It would be nice to have the website to verify eligibility online to accept the new ID numbers. (

  • james Legato

    I am a vet with a personal ID card, I am told that only ones whom can get a ID card now is disable veterans.
    Since I am not disable the local stores will not let me have veteran discount because I do not have an ID card. So is there a place to get one or is my local office just screw up?

    • jamesLegato

      OH darn I screw up , I meant to say I am a Vet without a personal ID card.
      sorry to confuse the issue right out of the gate.

      • Mike

        Some stores only give it to Active duty, which pisses me off, as a Retired. Or they only do certain days. Oh Ok we will only protect your freedom on those days too. Don’t insult us, just don’t offer any at all.

        • Mike,

          LMAO, please, tell me when you have ever protected my freedom?????

    • Jay

      you cant get a military ID but you can get a VA ID to prove you are a veteran.

  • C. M. Olson

    I have turned 65 and am eligible for Tri Care for Life. I have enrolled in Social Security parts A & B. I have a new ID card but Express Scripts just denied a refill because they say my prescription benefits have expired. Anyone have an idea of how to get this fixed

  • vicky l westbrooks

    sex assault victim 30 months service with army progressed to cancer can I get a va health benefits id card

  • Linda mcfarland

    I live close to Lexington ky and I need my I d card renewed. Where do I go to

    • SFCHAM

      Ft Campbell

  • nancy adams

    I. Live. In. Richmond. Via. Where. Do. I. Get. My. Renewal. I’d. Card

  • frank legg

    i live in port barre la. where do i get my I.D. card?

  • Nancy McPherron

    I live near South Bend Indiana and need to renew my ID card. Where do I go to get that done?

    • dave

      any national guard or military base

  • Debra Feagin

    i have a tricare card from 2005 do i need to an updated one.

  • Gloria Peden

    I live in DeKalb, MS. Where do I go to get my TriCare card nenewed. It has expired.