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Facts About Survivor Eligibility

If you’re the surviving spouse of a sponsor who died while serving on active duty for more than 30 consecutive days, you and/or your children may be eligible for the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) Survivor Benefit plan.

  • If your family was already enrolled in the TDP when the sponsor died, you’re automatically enrolled in the Survivor Benefit plan. If you didn’t have the TDP when your sponsor died, you can enroll in the TDP at any time at
  • You’re eligible for the TDP for three years starting on the date of your sponsor’s death.
  • Your children can remain enrolled in the TDP until age 21, or age 23 if they are enrolled in a full-time course of study at an approved institution of higher learning and if the sponsor provided over 50% of their financial support at the time of his/her death.
  • The government pays 100% of your and your children’s TDP Survivor Benefit plan premium while you are enrolled. You are responsible for paying applicable cost-shares for covered services.
  • For more information about the TDP Survivor Benefit, visit

When the three-year TDP Survivor Benefit period ends, you’ll lose eligibility for the TDP but you’re eligible for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP).

  • If your children no longer qualify for the TDP Survivor Benefit, they may also be eligible to enroll in the TRDP.
  • By law, remarried surviving spouses of deceased members are not eligible for the TDP Survivor Benefit or for the TRDP.

Enrolling in the TRDP: What Survivors Need to Know Before, During and After

We realize it can sometimes be overwhelming for surviving spouses of deceased military members to tackle all the necessary details of moving forward with their lives after their loved one has passed away. This includes having to make important decisions about continuing health and dental coverage for themselves and their family members once their TDP Survivor Benefit has ended. We’re here to help make the transition easier for you, so we’ve listed some important things to remember before, during and after you enroll in the TRDP.


  • Check with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to make sure your personal information is up to date. The easiest way to contact DEERS is online at
  • TRDP enrollment is not automatic once your TDP Survivor Benefit ends—so be sure you have a letter from the TDP contractor verifying that your three-year TDP Survivor benefit period has ended. You’ll need to submit a copy of the letter along with your TRDP enrollment application.
  • Review carefully all the information in the For Retirees section of this website—and don’t miss our short program video on YouTube.


  • Surviving spouses may enroll online through the TRICARE Beneficiary Web Enrollment (BWE) portal or by filling out a paper application and mailing it to Delta Dental. Once your TDP Survivor Benefit ends, simply go to our Enroll Today page and follow the instructions to enroll.
  • Enroll within four months after your three-year TDP Survivor Benefit period ends and you may be able to skip the 12-month waiting period for major services such as cast crowns, onlays, bridges, partial/full dentures, dental implants and orthodontics. This waiver is not automatic, so please use the Online Inquiry form to let us know you’ve enrolled within the four-month period.
  • If you enroll in the first month after losing your TDP Survivor Benefit, be sure to use the Online Inquiry form to let us know immediately so that we can make your coverage date retroactive and help you avoid a lapse in coverage in moving from the TDP to the TRDP.
  • TRDP enrollees pay 100% of their premiums. Monthly premiums are based on your residence ZIP code; you can find your premium here. You’ll be required to make a two-month premium prepayment when you enroll and arrange to make your subsequent monthly premium payments through electronic funds transfer (EFT) or recurring credit card (RCC) payment. Be sure to complete the EFT/RCC Payment Authorization Form at the time you enroll to avoid any lapse in your dental coverage.


  • To save the most on your covered dental expenses, you’ll want to make sure you and your family see a TRDP network dentist for all your dental care needs. Visit the TRDP Dentist Directory to find a network dentist near you.
  • Sign up for the Consumer Toolkit® to manage your TRDP account. Get 24/7 access to your benefits information and processed claims, find out how much of your maximums and deductible you’ve used, and sign up for paperless dental benefits statements. When you first register, remember to use the deceased sponsor’s social security number when prompted to enter the “Subscriber ID.”
  • Refer often to your online Benefits Booklet for the most current information, and watch the program video any time you need a refresher.
  • Use the tips and tools on the SmileWay® Wellness site to help you and your family stay on the right track to a healthy, beautiful smile.
  • When you can’t find an answer to your question on this website, send us an Online Inquiry any time for a prompt and friendly response.
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