IRS may fine hundreds of thousands of Military personnel because of clerical error

Spc. Richard Howard, a human resources specialist with III Corps Special Troops Battalion, updates Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System information for Sgt. 1st Class Shane Poche, the Operations NCO for B co., 256th infantry Brigade STB, Sept. 10, 2010

Hundreds of thousands of military families have until January to update their information with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), or they will be forced to pay fines to the IRS.

As part of the Affordable Care Act beginning this year, the Pentagon is required to report healthcare coverage given to service members and their dependents. But according to a letter sent by DEERS, each dependent’s SSN must be verified in the system, in order to do so.

Troops were notified about the missing information this month, in the letters sent by DEERS. Defense Department officials said Social Security numbers are either missing or unverified for about 484,000 military dependents.

Many times, Social Security numbers for military child dependents remain unverified, because parents register them in the system as infants before a SS card is issued. They have to remember to return to DEERS at a later date, with the updated information.

Social Security numbers must be added or verified in person at a military ID office, according to military.com.  Spouses of military service members may also update the information in DEERS if they have a valid special Power of Attorney, the article said.

“The IRS will collect fees from individuals who don’t have minimum essential coverage,” the letter also states. Some Tricare users – like Guard members and reservists — don’t meet the minimum coverage requirement and will face fines if they do not purchase additional coverage.

Also in this category:  some dependent parents and parents-in-law who receive Tricare as part of the Tricare Plus program.  That program allows them to use some military treatment facilities, but does not meet the minimum coverage requirements, the article stated.

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