Congress recently passed the Veterans Identification Card Act, a new bill that would create a government issued Veterans ID card, something that many veterans have been requesting for years. The bill was unanimously passed by both the House and the Senate. President Obama signed the bill into law on July 20, 2015.
A Solution Many Veterans Have Been Seeking
Currently, the military only issues ID cards for current servicemembers, retirees, and certain veterans with a 100% disability rating. The only option many veterans have to prove their service is a VA ID card used for health care (if eligible), or a state-issued drivers license with a Veterans Designation (but not all states currently offer this).
Many veterans who were not eligible for the above ID cards had a difficult time proving their military service, and often carried a DD Form 214, which contains personal information that should be kept secure (such as the veteran’s SSN, birthday, etc.). Best practices for avoiding identity theft recommend leaving your SSN and other personally identifying information in a locked and secure place to avoid potential loss.
When Will We See the ID Cards?
This bill was only recently signed into law, so we are still waiting for the official word on when the VA will begin issuing ID cards. This should happen as soon as the process and details have been finalized and the VA gets the details and process in place. The bill authorizes the VA to begin as soon as two months from now, but it may take longer. The VA is also authorized to charge individuals for the cost of the card (the price has not been set as of the publication date).
Card for ID Use & Proof of Service Only
The new ID cards will only be valid for proving military service. The new cards cannot be used for benefits through the VA, or to access military installations or receive other military or veterans benefits. However, those who are currently eligible for benefits through the military or VA will continue to have them through their current methods.
We will update this article in the future when more details become available.