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 www.tricare.mil/ssn.
General information about the removal of SSN from ID cards can be found at www.dmdc.osd.mil/smartcard.