Procedures for Obtaining Medical Support from Military Parents


Publication Date: May 29, 1996

Information Memorandum IM-96-02

Office of Child Support
Enforcement (OCSE)

Information Memorandum

Memorandum No. 96-02                                 

Date:May 29, 1996

U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Washington, DC 20447



SUMMARY: The following information summarizes the issues and procedures to obtain medical support at military facilities or medical coverage through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS)

BACKGROUND: Obtaining medical support from the military for a child support recipient is easier than you think, but not the same as notifying a civilian employer of an existing court order against an employee. Before anything else, the child must first be determined to be a military dependent and enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

CASE #1: Where the family is intact, the military member, known as the sponsor, initiates enrollment of the child into DEERS by certifying the child is a dependent in terms of support and residency by providing the necessary documents and then filling out a DD Form 1172.  If the child is residing in the military member's household, paternity does not have to be determined; however, he has to certify that he is providing over 50 percent of the child's support.  For example, this could be the case if a military father has accepted his wife's child by a previous marriage.

CASE #2: For a child of a IV-D case, the documents needed for enrollment into DEERS should include a paternity determination, birth certificate, and a court order for child support--or other means of proving support.  The process is essentially the same in both situations.  While in the first case the military member will initiate action, in the second case the custodial parent will go to the nearest military base or enrollment site and present the appropriate documents to the verifying officer.  In this case, the verifying official will assist the custodial parent in filling out the necessary paperwork,and before the DEERS enrollment can be completed, an attempt will be made to have the sponsor sign the paperwork. The attempt to contact the sponsor could be the next day, or the next week, depending on where the sponsor is located. The normal procedure is to have the sponsor sign the paperwork. If the sponsor is unwilling to sign, the verifying official may sign on behalf of the sponsor after all efforts to obtain the sponsor's signature have failed and those efforts are documented.

The custodial parent may start the process by mail and then come in to sign final documents.  If the child is over ten years old, a military dependent's identification card will be issued, so a picture will be taken.  Although the mail-in process normally takes more than ten days, the custodial parent may want to start that way to have the processed and to give the sponsor time to sign the form.

In the event a custodial parent has a child in desperate need of medical assistance, a temporary I.D. can be issued at the discretion of the base-level chief of personnel. Note: if medical care is given and the eligibility to the entitlement is later determined to be inappropriate, the custodial parent will be held liable for the cost of that medical care.

If the custodial parent wishes to enroll by mail, they should contact the enrollment site or the nearest military installation for instructions.  Location of the nearest enrollment site or military installation, can be obtained from the DEERS telephone center helpline noted in this IM.

Once enrolled in DEERS, the child is eligible to receive medical care in two ways.  The child can obtain medical care and medications from military hospitals and clinics free of charge.  The child can also use the cost share medical coverage, CHAMPUS, with civilian health providers.(Always try to get health care from a uniformed service hospital or clinic first.  Using the military facilities, instead of CHAMPUS, saves money and paperwork.) Military bases have Health Benefits Advisors to assist custodial parents on their medical options and choices.

CHAMPUS uses the term "share" rather than "covered" because the cost is "shared" by the beneficiary after an annual deductible cost is satisfied.  Claims to CHAMPUS can be submitted up to a year after treatment.  Date of coverage is determined by either the child's date of birth or date of parent's enlistment, not the DEERS enrollment date.  A CHAMPUS handbook is available (see address below) that answers many questions and provides more information and instruction for CHAMPUS users. Reminder.  If you or the custodial parent have questions on DEERS--or are unable to determine the nearest military base or enrollment site, contact the DEERS Telephone Center from 6:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, at the following numbers:

800-334-4162 (California only)
800-527-5602 (Alaska and Hawaii only)
800-538-9552 (All other states)

If additional help is still needed to locate the nearest enrollment site, ACF Regional offices can call the Central Office to access a database that will identify nearby enrollment sites based on zip codes.  The information provided will lists contacts, phone numbers to verify necessary documents, and hours of operation.

CONTACTS: For more information on CHAMPUS coverage and to obtain a copy of the free handbook write to:  OCHAMPUS, Public Affairs Branch, Aurora, Colorado 80045-6900, or call (303) 361-1000/1129.


David Gray Ross
Deputy Director
Office of Child Support Enforcement

Current as of: