Twenty is the Magic Number for Military Retirement

If you are in the process of a divorce or thinking about getting divorced from your military spouse, you’ve probably heard the term “20-20-20 rule” before. The 20-20-20 rule comes from the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA). For the 20-20-20 rule to apply, you must have been married to the service member for at least 20 years at the time of the divorce; the service member has performed at least 20 years of service, and you must have been married to the service member during the entire 20 years of service. In other words, 20 is the magic number: 20 years of service, 20 years of marriage, and 20 years need to overlap.

The 20-20-20 rule offers you benefits that you ordinarily would not be entitled to as an ex-spouse of a military member. Under the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Program, you may be eligible to receive medical, commissary, exchange, and theater privileges. You can receive these benefits for the rest of your life, as long as you do not remarry. This is in addition to receiving a portion of your spouse’s retirement benefits. The 20-20-20 rule is a great benefit to the person divorcing the service member and can provide an enormous amount of savings over their lifetime.

One of the greatest benefits to the 20-20-20 rule is retaining your TRICARE medical coverage. Ordinarily, you would lose these benefits as a result of the divorce. However, if you are eligible for the 20-20-20 rule, you will receive a new ID card with your own name and your own Social Security number listed as the “sponsor Social Security number”.

Military divorces can be complicated and it’s important to consult with counsel to ensure you are getting all benefits you are entitled to. Please get in touch with our office to consult with a knowledgeable attorney if you have questions related to your military divorce. If you have more questions about military divorce be on the lookout for our upcoming blogs about healthcare and deadlines and forms!

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