Getting a retired military ID card requires submitting an application to the appropriate military branch along with proof of adequate service. In order to receive any kind of military ID card, the applicant must also be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting Service, or DEERS.
A retired military ID card requires that the applicant has officially retired from the military. This means that he has at least 20 years of service with the U.S. military. Applicants with fewer than 20 years of service, those who simply separate from the military or those are discharged without retirement benefits are not eligible for these types of ID cards. If the applicant meets all of the criteria for a retired military ID, his spouse and any other dependents are also eligible for their own cards.
A retired military ID is distinct from a veterans' ID and is not required to access any of the benefits available to veterans. Typically, neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of Veterans' Affairs issue any kind of ID to current or former military members. To access services such as the VA Medical System, the government agency in question uses the veteran's enrollment in the DEERS system to determine his eligibility.