A problem with the Defense Department system that tracks eligibility for benefits and entitlements left 1,112 airmen and their families without medical benefits for about two weeks earlier this month.

Air Force Personnel Center spokesman Mike Dickerson said that during the first week of January, the Air Force realized there was a problem with the routine refresh of Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, data. In his Tuesday email to Air Force Times, Dickerson said that the Air Force put its daily refresh of DEERS data on hold as soon as it realized there was a problem.

But by that point, Dickerson said, data errors had already caused 1,112 airmen to lose their DEERS eligibility.

This had unfortunate consequences for those airmen and their families, Dickerson said. Not only did they have their medical benefits suspended, their identification cards were deactivated, he said.

Dickerson said it took several days for the Air Force and the Defense Manpower Data Center to figure out what went wrong and identify which airmen had lost their DEERS eligibility. The Air Force sent out initial notifications to the affected airmen on Jan. 19, he said, and by the end of that day, the problems were corrected.

A database glitch left 1,112 airmen and their families without medical benefits for about two weeks earlier this month. Pictured is the 16-chair, $1.6 million Hemodialysis Center at the David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III/Air Force)
A database glitch left 1,112 airmen and their families without medical benefits for about two weeks earlier this month. Pictured is the 16-chair, $1.6 million Hemodialysis Center at the David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III/Air Force)

AFPC has now confirmed with DMDC that all corrective actions have been completed and the affected airmen have had their DEERS access restored, Dickerson said.

On Friday, he said, AFPC sent a follow-up message to affected airmen with additional guidance on how to make sure their services and ID cards were fully restored. Dickerson said anyone who is still having problems should call the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-565-0102.

Dickerson said only the Air Force was affected by the glitch.