It’s been more than two years coming, but veterans are now able to apply for a Veteran Identification Card through the VA. The new form of identification can be used by veterans to show proof of service in order to obtain discounts and services, such as discounts at restaurants and other businesses that offer specials for men and women who served.
While the new veteran ID cards will not be considered official government-issued identification or replace VA medical cards and defense retiree cards, they will be much easier to carry around than discharge papers and other documents to prove veteran status. They can be obtained free of charge to any veteran with an honorable or general discharge by applying online at www.vets.gov.
The veteran ID cards were originally rolled out in November by the VA, but the amount of interest in them crashed the webpage in less than a week. It was announced this week that the issue has been fixed and applications are again being accepted online.
“The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most veterans to show proof of service,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement. “With the card, veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around their paper DD-214s to obtain veteran discounts and other services.”
Congress passed the legislation to create the new identification cards for veterans in 2015, but veterans have had to wait two years while the details were worked out for their creation.
“Goods, services and promotional activities are often offered by public and private institutions to veterans who demonstrate proof of service in the military, but it is impractical for a veteran to always carry Department of Defense form DD-214 discharge papers to demonstrate such proof,” states the Veterans Identification Card Act in 2015.
Any veterans who were able to complete the application process online when it first opened should receive their ID cards by mail in March. Veterans who apply online can also download a temporary copy to have on their phone or print on paper until their official card arrives.
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Not only are discharge papers and documents hard to carry around, they also have personal, sensitive information on them. It is hoped that the new veteran ID cards will help cut down on identity theft in addition to making life just a little bit easier for the men and women who served in the Armed Forces.
The ID cards are free of charge to eligible veterans. According to the VA, they are being printed through a partnership with Office Depot and should arrive within 60 days of applying. Veterans who apply for the new ID card are asked to create an online account and upload a valid, government-issued ID and recent photo.
To apply for the new Veterans Identification Card, fill out the application at www.vets.gov.
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.