Understanding TRICARE Survivor Benefits

by McConnell Family Law

TRICARE Survivor Benefits

After the nation took a collective pause from everything related to COVID-19 to recognize Memorial Day, we remember the anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy during World War II (D-Day) on June 6 and Flag Day on June 14. Independence Day might be celebrated a bit differently this year, but our reverence and appreciation for our brave service members remain steadfast. 

In the spirit of these solemn observances, McConnell Family Law Group wanted to make sure you were aware of certain survivor benefits offered by TRICARE, the health care program for military personnel and their dependents. 

Which Military Personnel are Eligible for TRICARE?

In addition to Uniformed Service members of the military (active-duty), those in the National Guard and Reserves are also eligible for TRICARE benefits. Retired active-duty military personnel, regardless of age, and retired National Guard/Reserves personnel may enroll in a TRICARE plan upon their retirement. The cost for retired Reservists who are not yet 60-years-old is substantially more than other Tricare plans, but still less expensive than what is generally available on the open market if healthcare is not available through employment.

TRICARE Survivor Benefits

With some exceptions, TRICARE does extend benefits to surviving family members of sponsors (military personnel). To enjoy these benefits as a surviving spouse or child under the age of 21, all information on the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) must be current. Additionally, children between the ages of 21 and 23 are eligible for TRICARE survivor benefits if they are full-time college students. 

  • If an active-duty sponsor dies in the line of duty after serving on active duty for more than 30 days, surviving spouses are eligible for transitional TRICARE survivor benefits for a period of three years. After three years, surviving spouses must  pay retiree rates to stay on certain plans. If the surviving spouse remarries, he or she is no longer eligible for this coverage. 
  • Surviving children within the applicable age range will typically enjoy survivor benefits until eligibility ends (due to age-out or marriage). 
  • Survivors of National Guard and Reserves personnel who die outside of 30-plus days of active duty service can pay retiree rates to stay on certain TRICARE plans. 


As a veteran-owned business with several veterans on our staff, the whole team at McConnell Family Law is deeply grateful for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Our firm is steadfastly committed to helping military families. As part of our devotion to serving military families, we provide a 25% heroes discount to military veterans.
If you need help with this or any other family law matter, please get in touch with our firm by calling us at 860-200-3624 (Hartford office) or 203-344-7007 (New Canaan office) to let us help you Find Peace Through Strength.

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