More than half a million people in the military community whose ID cards have expired during the pandemic need to take action to get those cards renewed, Defense Department officials announced.

The grace periods are about to end.

And there’s another change to the long-standing policy and tradition of ID cards being issued to dependent children as young as 10. Now, cards will only be issued to children age 14 and older, officials said.

Because of challenges in getting ID cards renewed during the pandemic, DoD in June electronically extended the expiration dates to give more time to people whose cards expired between Jan.1, 2020, and July 31, 2021:

♦ Dependents of active-duty service members, and Reserve and National Guard members and their dependents, can use their expired IDs until Oct. 31.

♦ Retirees and their dependents can use their expired IDs until Jan. 31, 2022.

But those whose ID cards expired after July 31, 2021, have no extension of the deadline. They need to make an appointment as soon as possible to get their ID card replaced.

ID cards are required to use a number of military benefits, such as commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare and recreation programs. The expired ID cards don’t affect health care benefits, officials said, because those benefits are determined by a different system — the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS.

Those with expired cards can go online and make an appointment at a RAPIDS ID Card office. Officials remind ID card holders that they aren’t required to go to the ID card office they usually visit. There are many locations that can handle renewals, and some provide “walk-in” service, so you don’t have to schedule an appointment.

To find an office, schedule an appointment or get more information, visit the online ID Card office.

Officials announced in 2020 that military family members, retirees and their family members and certain others will get new ID cards as they renew or replace their IDs over the next four years.

It will be similar to the common access card used by military personnel and DoD personnel, but without the chip.

This is expected to affect more than 5 million people, but there’s time — for those whose cards haven’t expired. The transition to the Next Generation Uniformed Services Identification Card is expected to be completed in January 2026.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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