Benefits and savings you want

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) reduces your total annual out-of-pocket expenses for routine dental care and saves you money when it comes time for more extensive—and expensive—dental treatment.


Are You Eligible for the TRDP?

Eligibility requirements for enrollment in the TRDP are set forth by the federal government in the laws that established the program. Eligibility to enroll in the TRDP is verified through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). To be enrolled in the TRDP, an individual must be one of the following:

  • A member of the Uniformed Services who is entitled to retirement pay, including those age 65 or over.
  • A member of the National Guard/Reserves who, regardless of age, has transferred to Retired Reserve status. This includes those in the “gray area” who are under age 60 and entitled to retired pay, but might not yet be receiving it.
  • A current spouse of an enrolled retired member as described above.
  • An enrolled member’s eligible child
    • Up to age 21 (including stepchildren, adopted children and court-ordered wards). Beneficiaries in this category are eligible up to the end of the month in which they turn 21.
    • Up to age 23 if enrolled in a full-time course of study at an approved institution of higher learning (proof of full-time student status may be required).
    • Older than age 23 if the child has a disabling illness or injury that occurred before his/her 21st birthday, or that occurred between ages 21 and 23 while the child was enrolled in a full-time course of study at an approved institution of higher learning.
  • An un-remarried surviving spouse or eligible child of a deceased member who died on retired status or who died while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days and whose eligible family members are not eligible, or are no longer eligible, for dental benefits under the active duty family member dental plan (TRICARE Dental Program).
  • A Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient and eligible immediate family members, or an un-remarried surviving spouse/eligible immediate family members of a deceased MOH recipient.
  • A family member of a non-enrolled member who meets certain criteria. Under most circumstances, the retiree must enroll in order for a spouse or other eligible family member to enroll. However, eligibility rules implemented October 1, 2000 allow the spouse and/or eligible child of a non-enrolled member to join the TRDP with documented proof that the non-enrolled member is one of the following:
  1. Eligible to receive ongoing, comprehensive dental care from the Department of Veterans Affairs
    • In general, comprehensive dental care entitlement is limited to those veterans who are:
      • In receipt of a compensated service connected dental rating,
      • A 100% service connected rating,
      • A permanent-and-totally disabled (unemployable) service connected rating,
      • Who have been classified as former Prisoner of War for a period of at least 90 days
  2. Written documentation needed to verify eligibility: submit a copy of the correspondence from Veterans Affairs identifying service connected disability rating. This type of enrollment should be submitted via paper application as the Beneficiary Web Enrollment system is unable to accommodate enrollment without the sponsor.

  3. Enrolled in a dental plan that is available to the member as a result of employment separate from his/her Uniformed Service, and said dental plan is not available to his/her family members
  4. Written documentation needed to verify eligibility: submit documentation from employer stating coverage does not extend to spouse and/or family members.

  5. Prevented from being able to obtain benefits under the enhanced TRICARE Retiree Dental Program due to a current and enduring medical or dental condition.
  6. Written documentation needed to verify eligibility: submit documentation from treating physician stating dental care is no longer needed.

If a retiree meets any one of these three criteria and wishes to enroll a family member without joining the TRDP, written documentation will be required (as identified above) to be submitted with the enrollment application form. Documentation can be submitted online using the Online Inquiry TRDP Online Customer Service Inquiry Form and selecting the option for "Submitting Retirement Orders (For New Enrollment)” and electronically attaching a copy of the documentation. Or you can mail to Delta Dental at Delta Dental of California, Federal Government Programs, PO Box 537008, Sacramento, CA 95853-7008.

About Survivor Eligibility

In the unfortunate event of the death of an active duty service member, or Guard/Reservist who had been on active duty for more than 30 consecutive days, the surviving spouse and children are automatically eligible for the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) Survivor Benefit plan. If the family was already enrolled in the TDP when the sponsor died, they’re automatically enrolled in the Survivor Benefit plan. If they didn’t have the TDP when the sponsor died, they can enroll at any time. Spouses are eligible for three years beginning on the date of the sponsor’s death. Children remain eligible until age 21, or age 23 if enrolled in a full-time course of study at an approved institution of higher learning and if the sponsor provided over 50% of the financial support at the time of his/her death. The government pays 100% of the TDP Survivor Benefit plan premium for these individuals while they are enrolled.

Once the three-year TDP Survivor Benefit period ends, surviving spouses are eligible for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP). Surviving family members who no longer qualify for the TDP Survivor Benefit may also be eligible to enroll in the TRDP. Note: If a Survivor enrolls in the TRDP within four months after his/her three-year period in the TDP ends, he/she would be allowed to forego the customary 12-month waiting period and would be eligible upon his/her TRDP coverage effective date for major services such as cast crowns, onlays, bridges, partial/full dentures, dental implants and orthodontics. A letter from the TDP contractor verifying that the survivor’s three-year coverage period has ended is required in order for the TRDP to consider the waiver of the 12-month waiting period.

For more information about the TDP Survivor Benefit, visit

Individuals Who Are Not Eligible

By law, individuals who are not eligible for this program are:

  • Former spouses of eligible members.
  • Remarried surviving spouses of deceased members.
  • Family members of non-enrolled retirees who do not meet one of the three special circumstances noted above.

Back to top

Oral Health Oral Health

Our SmileWay Wellness program has information about oral health to help create added value from our dental insurance.

Visit our Wellness Site


Email Updates Stay Informed