It might seem a bit surprising – but there is no standardized Identification Card for veterans. Military retirees with 20 years or more service have their own ID card. And veterans who use VA health services have another. But there was no ID card for all veterans - until now.
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-R) of Sarasota sponsored the 2015 law that created the Veterans Identification Card to make it easier to officially prove one’s military service. But after more than two years, the VA only just opened the application process this week.
“In my mind and my experience, I think it’s unacceptable that it’s taken two years to do this,” said Carl Hunsinger, chairman of the Manatee Veterans Council and a retired Air Force Retired command chief master sergeant.
Several years ago, Hunsinger saw the need for a standardized veteran ID card after watching a homeless vet pull out his tattered discharge form (DD-214) to prove he qualified for services.
“This sheet of paper cannot only become illegible over a period of time and damaged, but also can be easily forged,” Hunsinger said.
So, he took the problem and some suggested solutions to his congressman, Buchanan. It took about a year to pass the law that was signed by President Barack Obama in July 2015.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the VA announced it was officially accepting applications for the Veteran Identification Card. But according to the Military Times, the final design of the ID has not been decided and it could take up to two months before delivery.
The new standardized card, however, will not be accepted as proof for VA disability and medical benefits and there’s no guarantee that businesses will accept it as proof for veteran discounts.