The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act is a federal law that provides certain benefits to former spouses of military members. These benefits include your right to retirement pay, medical care as well as the use of the exchanges and commissaries.
If you are entitled to the use of the commissary, exchange and or medical services depends upon how long you were married to the service member, and the length of time your spouse served in the military. To retain full military benefits upon divorce from a service member, you must meet the requirements of the “20/20/20 Rule.”
An un-remarried former spouse is entitled to receive medical, commissary, exchange and theater privileges where he or she was married to the military member for at least 20 years at the time of the divorce or annulment. The military member has performed at least 20 years of creditable military services and the former spouse was married to the service member during at least 20 years of the member’s retirement creditable service. So, if you were married to the service member for at least 20 years, and your former spouse has performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retirement pay, and there is at least a 20 year overlap of the marriage and military service you are entitled to full commissary, exchange and health care benefits after the divorce or annulment.
In the event you do not qualify under the “20/20/20 Rule,” you may still qualify for benefits under the “20/20/15 Rule.” Here you may be eligible for one (1) year of transitional military benefits for purposes of military medical care only. Similarly, the “20/20/15 Rule” requires that the services member perform at least 20 years of creditable service, the parties’ were married at least 20 years and the period of the marriage overlapped the period of service by at least 15 years.
Should these requirement be met, the former spouse will be entitled to retain TRICARE medical coverage, but only for the transitional period of one year. However, you will not retain your military exchange or commissary privileges.