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GCN : December 2013
GCN DECEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM 31 portal provides a convenient way for service members, retirees and their families to keep in- formation up to date. Authentication to the site can be done with the DOD Common Access Card, a Defense Fi- nancial and Accounting Services myPay ac- count, or through a DOD Self Service Logon credential from DMDC. The site allows users to: • Update contact information in DEERS • View current health care enrollments • Manage TRICARE enrollments • Locate the nearest military ID card issuing facility • View personnel information • Transfer education benefits to eligible family members under the post-9/11 GI Bill • View ID cards • View group life insurance information • Obtain proof of insurance under a TRICARE managed program • Find answers to frequently asked questions. Medical beneficiaries can receive automatic notifications on anniversaries that effect ben- efits, such as 18th, 21st, 23rd and 65th birth- days. The milConnect portal serves more than 42 million beneficiaries, and it also can be ac- cessed through a mobile application for An- droid devices, available at Google Play. DMDC has plans to create applications for the iPhone and other platforms as well. Having a centralized source for information on military benefits has produced savings for both end users and DOD. Nearly 6 million ben- efit change notification letters to beneficiaries are generated annually by DMDC, and delivery of these letters online through milConnect has reduced the number of mailings for an estimat- ed savings of $576,000 during the first year of the new site. • BY WILLIAM JACKSON Navigating the bureaucracy of military and veterans' benefits can be a challenge, not only for Defense Department personnel and their dependents, but also for DOD offices that must track millions of beneficiaries. In the wake of sequestration budget cuts, the department is eager to move to online delivery of information and services as a cost-effective and environ- mentally friendly alternative to paper. The recently rebranded and relaunched milConnect Web application is a portal for ac- tive and retired military personnel and their families to check, update and manage infor- mation about benefits and services from DOD and the Veterans Affairs Department. The site provides secure access to personal information, health care enrollments and personnel records 24-hours a day. MilConnect began life in December 2008 as the MyDoDBenefits website and was made over for a relaunch in 2011 by the Defense Manpow- er Data Center, DOD's personnel information service. DMDC maintains personnel, medi- cal benefits, manpower, training, security and financial records for millions of active and re- tired members of the services and the reserves, civilian DOD personnel, spouses and eligible dependents. MilConnect is the front end for the DM- DC's Defense Enrollment Eligibility System (DEERS), a database of information about all service members and dependents. Registration in DEERS is a requirement for receiving ben- efits under TRICARE, the health care program for uniformed service members. Because incor- rect information in the DEERS database can cause delays in providing health care and other benefits, members are encouraged to keep in- formation in the system updated. The online One portal for all military bene ts Revamped milConnect gives military personnel and families a central source for managing benefits and services PROJECT AT A GLANCE PROJECT: milConnect OFFICE: Defense Manpower Data Center TECHNOLOGY USED: Web application using custom shared libraries for loose coupling of dependencies, linking data from a variety of DOD, federal, state, local government and private sector sources. TIME TO IMPLEMENTATION: Originally launched in 2008 as MyDoDBenefits, updated and rebranded milConnect in 2011. BEFORE: Paper-based management of personnel and benefits records in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System for active and retired service members and their families. AFTER: Online management of data and enrollment for services by 42 million active duty and retired military personnel, DOD civilian personnel, Guard and Reserve members, their spouses and eligible dependents.