Making Your Parents Your Military Dependents

Making Your Parents Your Military Dependents
Photo by FredFroese/Getty Images

(This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)


If you’re providing financial support to a parent, it makes sense to figure out what types of benefits can help you with that responsibility. For active duty and retiree families, it is possible to have your parent declared a secondary dependent, which grants them some of the privileges of being a military dependent.


In order to successfully apply for secondary dependency, you must be able to prove that you provide over one-half of the applicant’s monthly living expenses, and that their income is less than one-half of their monthly living expenses. Application is made through DFAS (Army and Air Force) or through your branch’s Secondary Dependency office (Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy.) You’ll have to submit a DD Form 137-3 (forms and instructions are available at this link) and supporting paperwork to substantiate the dependency. (The Coast Guard form is CG-1758.)


If dependency is awarded, your parent will be eligible for a Uniformed Services ID card and may obtain primary medical care at a military treatment facility on a space-available basis under the TRICARE Plus program. You will be eligible for travel allowance for PCS moves and BAH at the with-dependents rate. You may also be eligible for larger housing when living on base.


[RELATED: MOAA's 2020-21 TRICARE Guide]


You’ll have to reaffirm your parent dependency every four years.


The secondary dependency process requires a significant amount of paperwork, but it can help with some of the challenges of supporting a parent, especially if you are still on active duty.


Every Officer Has Two Families

For over 90 years, MOAA has been working to get servicemembers and their families the benefits they deserve.


About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell

Horrell is a personal financial educator, military spouse, and member of MOAA's Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council. Get more finance tips at