Friday, April 11, 2014

Military Life & Your Military I.D.

Being new to Military life, you have a lot of things to learn. I could go on for pages and pages about all of the important things, but today I will focus on your Military Identification Card. This extra I.D. card that you put into that slot in your wallet is a life line in Military life. Keep it safe, don't lose it, and take it with you everywhere you go. Kind of like your drivers license, except this card is more like a secret code to get into a club, and if you don't have one you're S.O.L.

As soon as you get married, make an appointment A.S.A.P. with DEERS to get it. Your spouse should know where to take you, and they can help you set up the appointment and go with you for it. Hopefully your appointment to get your Military I.D. card won't be too far out from your arrival/move in date. Mine was a few weeks after I had moved onto base. That means I couldn't really go anywhere or do many things without my husband, because he had the secret card to get in. I couldn't go grocery shopping or anything, and it sucked. 

You will need your Military I.D. for a number of important things. If it is a secure base, which most are, then you will need your Military I.D. to get onto the base. If you don't have one (depending on the base), then being with someone, like your spouse, that does have one will let you onto the base. But you will still need to give them some other form of identification like a drivers license.

There is a fairly new thing going on at the Commissary and the PX/BX. You now have to show or scan your Military I.D. card at check-out. My guess for this new precaution is to make sure that those who are buying the goods are in fact Military members. Being able to shop at these stores give you good deals, and items are tax free. They want to make sure that the right people are using these features the way they are intended. If you have a Military I.D. then they are intended for you. A little bonus going on at Commissaries nowadays is an online coupon system where you receive a card and make an account online following the instructions on the back of the card. You then get access to many coupons, which you simply click "save" and the coupon is saved to an online account associated to your coupon card. No need for clipping coupons, just bring that card after "saving" coupons to the commissary and scan it at check out. It's a really nice thing to have. Don't be afraid to clip coupons still, you can add on more savings that way!

You will also need you Military I.D. for any medical reason. Doctor and hospital visits require you to have your Military I.D. With your Military I.D. you get your benefits of health care from Tricare (you will receive a Tricare card in the mail once signed up).

And last but not least, the Military discount. You will need your Military I.D. card to flash at a restaurant or store that offers any type of Military discount in order to get it. Most places offer 10% discounts, but some places and hotels, like Disneyland for instance, offer some way nicer chunks off the original price. Don't be embarrassed to ask for a Military discount when out somewhere, saving a few bucks here and there really adds up. My husband and I have been places where they didn't have a Military discount, but the manager was nice enough to give us her own discount just because we asked if they had one. It never hurts to just ask! 

***If an establishment says that they need to photocopy your Military I.D. card, do not let them do so. It is against the law and in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Part I, Chapter 33, Section 701 and is punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. Some establishments are unaware of this law, but you can tell them of it. You are allowed to show them your card for discounts and such, just do not let them photocopy it.***