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.

17 Comments on "TRICARE: ID Card Changes"

  1. SSgt (retired)Lonnie L Darby | June 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    Can we change them right Away?

  2. M E Erpenbach | June 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

    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?)

  3. Fred E Powers | June 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm |

    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.

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

  5. DiningDiva | August 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    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.

  6. Christine S | August 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

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

  7. Jane Johndrow | December 30, 2011 at 10:28 am |

    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?

  8. 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. (

  9. james Legato | March 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    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?

  10. C. M. Olson | April 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    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

  11. vicky l westbrooks | December 21, 2013 at 11:22 am |

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

  12. Linda mcfarland | June 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm |

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

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

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

  15. Nancy McPherron | June 16, 2015 at 5:42 pm |

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

  16. Debra Feagin | August 11, 2015 at 7:04 pm |

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

  17. Gloria Peden | October 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm |

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

Comments are closed.