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Military Spouses & Dependents

Replacing a Dependent Military ID Once a Sponsor Is Deceased


Military identification cards are essential within the military community. Getting on the military installation, buying merchandise at the commissary or the exchange, and accessing medical benefits through Tricare all require a military ID card.

Unfortunately, renewing or replacing these ID cards can be a difficult process, so it’s important to know the necessary steps to take before your current ID card expires. This is particularly important for military spouses or other dependents whose sponsor has passed away, since the process varies for these individuals. Let’s walk through how to renew a military ID without a sponsor:

Can I Renew My Military ID Without My Sponsor?

Yes — according to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), it is possible to replace an ID card, even if your sponsor is deceased. 

When a sponsor passes away, a dependent spouse or child  may need to update their military ID card.

How Do I Renew a Military ID Without a Sponsor?

1. Make an appointment with your local RAPIDS ID office. 

Be sure to make an appointment with your local Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) office before your current military ID card expires. If your RAPIDS ID office is on a military installation, security will confiscate your expired ID at the time of your appointment.

You can use this locator tool to find the nearest RAPIDS ID office to your current location. 

2. Call the DEERS support line.

Make sure the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System updates your sponsor’s death in the system to ensure you receive a survivor ID card. Surviving dependents of deceased personnel ages 75 and over can get a permanent military ID card that doesn’t expire. To contact DEERS, call at 1-800-538-9552. This is for Defense Manpower Data Center.

3. Get your new ID cards from the RAPIDS ID office. 

Don’t forget to bring two forms of identification to your RAPIDS ID appointment — one of which must be government-issued, such as a driver’s license or passport. You should also take a copy of your servicemember’s death certificate with you. 

If you or other surviving dependents are physically unable to make the trip, call your local RAPIDS ID office. Options for replacing the ID without the dependent present differ based on location, and the local office will be best able to tell you what to do.

AAFMAA Can Help With Your Military Widow ID Card Renewal

Keep track of when your current military ID expires so you can adequately plan to renew before your card is no longer valid. AAFMAA is able to assist our Members with questions you may have relating to military ID card renewal requirements. Reach out to our AAFMAA Member Benefits representatives anytime by emailing MemberBenefits@aafmaa.com or calling 800-522-5221.