Understanding the 20/20/20 rule

As a military spouse, you have likely come to rely on the many benefits you and your family enjoy in Battle Creek due to your spouse's service. Yet such benefits do not make military marriages immune to hardships. Many have come to us here at Vandervoort, Christ & Fischer, P.C. after having seen those hardships bring an end to their marriages with concerns over whether their access to military benefits would continue. If you find yourself in the same position, then understanding what to expect following your divorce can help you in planning your post-separation life. 

The good news is that if you have children (who are also the biological children of your servicemember spouse), you do not need to worry about them; being his or her children, their benefits will continue to until they reach they age of majority (and even beyond in certain situations). Yet what about yours? Typically, you lose your entitlement to benefit coverage as soon as your divorce becomes final. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule. 

According to the National Military Family Association, you remain eligible for benefits provided you meet the requirements of "the 20/20/20 rule." To qualify, you must have been married to your servicemember spouse for at least 20 years (20 years of which must have overlapped his or her military service), and he or she must have accrued 20 years of service creditable towards retirement pay. If you meet these requirements, you can continue to have access to: 

  • Medical insurance through TRICARE
  • Annuity payments from a Survivor Benefit Plan
  • Access to commissary and exchange 

You should know, however, that those benefits end if you choose to remarry. You can learn more about retaining military benefits following divorce by continuing to explore our site. 

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