Mar 09 2012
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 (http://www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl) 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.