Understanding TRICARE Survivor Benefits

by McConnell Family Law

TRICARE Survivor Benefits

At McConnell Family Law Group, a veteran-owned business, we appreciate our brave service members. Our firm is steadfastly committed to helping military families. In keeping with our mission, we want to make sure you are aware of certain benefits offered by TRICARE, the health care program for military personnel and their dependents.

In this blog, we are highlighting our Hartford office, which is one of five convenient locations. Understanding TRICARE benefits is important for military families navigating the complexities of divorce. At McConnell Family Law Group, our dedicated Hartford military divorce lawyers can guide clients through the process of securing TRICARE benefits, and assisting eligible spouses in receiving the support they deserve. Contact us at (860) 266-1166 to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing your TRICARE benefits.

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 For Life Spouse Eligibility

There are various TRICARE programs, one of which is TRICARE for Life (TFL). TRICARE for Life specifically serves military retirees and their eligible dependents who qualify for Medicare, offering supplementary coverage alongside Medicare.

To determine TRICARE eligibility, consider whether the individual, their spouse, parent, or caregiver is a military member. If so, they are one step closer to meeting the eligibility requirements.

Individuals who have retired from the military, meet the eligibility criteria for Medicare and receive retired pay are qualified for TRICARE for Life. This includes their dependent family members, surviving spouses, and specific former spouses.

If a sponsor who retired from active duty passes away, their surviving spouse remains eligible for TRICARE unless they choose to remarry. They may remain eligible if their new spouse is also a retired service member. When the surviving spouse is enrolled in both Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance), they become eligible for TFL.

Navigating the complexities of Tricare For Life spouse eligibility can be a challenging process. A skilled Hartford military divorce lawyer from the McConnell Family Law Group can be an invaluable ally during this time, providing crucial guidance and advocacy. Contact us today to receive personalized assistance.

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.
Eligibility Benefits for Surviving Family Special Considerations
Spouse, Children < 21, 21-23 (students) Eligibility requires current DEERS info. Transitional benefits for spouses of active-duty deaths >30 days. Children aged 21-23 must be full-time students. Remarriage ends spouse’s coverage.
Surviving Spouses 3-year transitional benefits post active-duty death >30 days, then retiree rates apply. Duration varies based on sponsor’s service and cause of death.
Children 21-23 (students) Eligible as full-time college students. College enrollment required.
Survivors of National Guard/Reserves Option to pay retiree rates for non-active-duty deaths. Eligibility for certain TRICARE plans.


Again, 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 and contact us by calling (860) 266-1166 to let us help you Find Peace Through Strength.

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