Online access simplifies dependent updates
Family situations can be complicated, but updating family benefit information doesn’t have to be now that it can be done online.
Dependent family members must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and in many instances must have a valid dependent identification card, to access medical, dental and other benefits. In the past, Airmen geographically separated from their dependents faced a multi-step, back-and-forth process to accomplish some of these updates in DEERS.
Those days are history, thanks to the Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) self-service portal, said Ed Yoder, Air Force DEERS Project Office, Air Force Personnel Center.
The self-service portal is one of several tools developed by the Defense Manpower Data Center in an ongoing enterprise-wide initiative to expand online customer self service options for Department of Defense and uniformed service populations.
“Most Airmen can’t drop what they’re doing to resolve DEERS and ID card problems,” Yoder said. “And if they’re deployed or stationed separate from their dependents, they face even greater challenges. This new system capability will help Air Force members take care of their families.”
Implemented in September, the RAPIDS self-service portal allows common access card-holders to digitally sign required documents which are then accessible to all ID card-issuing facilities worldwide. A dependent who is thousands of miles away can then go to the nearest RAPIDS ID card-issuing facility and complete the update process or have a new ID card issued.
Prior to the online option, members had to go in person to a military personnel office, sign in, wait for their turn, complete and wet-sign the forms, and fax them to the dependent’s servicing personnel section so that the dependent could complete the paperwork and get their new ID.
“That was the simple process,” Yoder said. “If a member’s situation was unusual in any way, it became more complicated, requiring greater effort on behalf of the member and personnel office.”
For example, one member had to fax initial forms to his ex-wife so that she could get proof that their son was attending college as a full-time student. She then faxed the documents back and the member had to go back to the personnel section, finish the paperwork and the personnelist faxed them to the servicing section for ID card completion.
“This process is very manually intensive and it could take a several days to complete, during which time, the dependent would be without active benefits or a valid ID card,” Yoder said.
The new RAPIDS self-service process is designed to update DEERS records and renew or reissue ID cards only, Yoder said. Initial DEERS enrollment and ID card issuance requires the member’s presence. In addition to DEERS and ID card actions, members can access the RAPIDS self-service portal to add or change an email address for signature and e-mail encryption certificates, download certain applications, view and update contact information and more.
To access the portal and follow the screen prompts to add or update information, visit
For more information about personnel issues, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.