Do You Need A New Military Retiree ID Card?

Mar 09 2012

Published by at 1:39 pm under Military Benefits

One of our MOAA members received an unwelcome surprise recently when he tried to enter a Navy facility in Tennessee. His military retiree ID card was confiscated!

His diligent follow-up led him to request MOAA assistance, and it turns out that what happened to him could affect many of our members.

If you have a retiree ID card that was manually prepared (on a typewriter), it’s time to go to the nearest RAPIDS facility (Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System) to get a new card. How can you tell if you have a manually prepared ID card?

  • If your picture was cut from photographic paper and pasted on the card before lamination, leaving a raised photo on the card;
  • If there are no bar codes on the reverse; or
  • If the card stock is a version prior to Oct 93 (printed at lower left on reverse)

then you have a manually prepared card, and should get a new one. In these days of heightened security, the manually prepared card just can’t meet today’s tighter standards.

The military stopped issuing manually prepared ID cards in 1993. A base commander has discretion to bar access to a military facility of any retirees with these manually prepared cards. If you attempt to access that facility, your card may be confiscated. It may be returned to you, but the card will be invalidated, usually with a hole punched through the Social Security Number (SSN). You will need to get a new ID issued. Spouses aren’t affected by this issue, because until recently, their ID cards needed to be renewed every four years.

Be sure to check the backside of your ID Card for the Medical Expiration Date. This is when you will turn age 65. Go to the ID Card office before this date to ensure you are ready to transition to the Tricare for Life health plan. Enroll in Medicare Parts A & B before you go. Get the MOAA publication “Aging Into Medicare and Tricare for Life” for details about the change over.

The modern ID card has some distinct advantages. It will mask your SSN for one thing. It will also enable electronic scanning at military facilities for another, making your identification quicker and less prone to errors. This is especially important now as bases transition to electronic scanning gates.

You can make an appointment at a RAPIDS facility to get a new card issued to you. Visit the search page for ID Card offices ( or type RAPIDS Site Locator into your internet search engine. Once on the RAPIDS page, enter your zip code and RAPIDS will serve up the ID card facilities in your geographic area. Call ahead to the ID Card issuing facility for any special requirements. Remember that you will need two forms of ID to receive a new card. Your old ID and a passport or state-issued driver’s license is usually sufficient.

Plan ahead, and don’t have your next base visit interrupted before it begins.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Do You Need A New Military Retiree ID Card?”

  1. Retired LDOon 21 Mar 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Reminds me of a time a few years back when I went to get the base ‘sticker’ for my car renewed using the ‘old’ ID card I was issued when I retired in ’77.
    The young lady sailor behind the counter didn’t recognize the old ID card and went and checked with her supervisor as to its validity before she would issue my ‘sticker’.
    She told me my ID card was older than she was!

  2. Dave Gleasonon 21 Mar 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I had read about this elsewhere and when I asked about this at our ID card facility at NAVSTA NORFOLK I was told that it was not necessary to get one of the new ID cards, that the old one [FORM 2] was perfectly acceptable.

    I’m going to get it in writing.

    Thanks for the second heads up!!

  3. Gene Howeon 22 Mar 2012 at 1:12 am

    My ID card has nothing printed on the lower left on reverse as stated in your article. It does have a date printed on the lower right ( 1 May 79).
    The first son of a bitch that tries to confiscate my ID card is in for a sore jaw, at the least.

  4. Joe Stevenson 22 Mar 2012 at 11:33 am

    It is easy to tell if they are using the system. It is normally exposed by the long line of car in front of you waiting to gain access as they check your ID with Rapids!! If they try it at rush hour no telling how long the line will be!

  5. Arthur Whittumon 25 Mar 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Drove into DC/Buzzards Point last July and turned in my old ID from 1979 – guess I’m not that skinny any more. Getting a new one was painless. Although I was taken aback somewhat by the PO3 feather merchant that walked/squeezed in front of a CAPT without acknowledging him or “by your leave” … or even “excuse me” so he could wait on a female LT. If it was me, I’d a shortened up his leash a foot or two. But that’s just me.

  6. Jan Smithon 11 Jun 2012 at 8:46 am

    I just called our local RAPIDS office, and they told me that my DD Form 2 blue ID card is perfectly valid, and that if I came in for a new one today, it would be exactly like the one I have except that they no longer put the Social Security number on it. You’d think that if DoD were to discontinue the DD Form 2, we would have been notified.