Did you know that veterans can get an ID card to show proof of their military service? It’s a great way to show your pride in your service and makes it easier to take utilize veteran benefits and discounts. In this blog post, we’ll tell you how to get a veterans ID card and show you some of the benefits of having one.
What Is A Veterans ID Card?
A Veteran ID card is a form of identification issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans and military personnel as part of the Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015. A Veterans ID card allows Veterans to demonstrate proof of service without carrying a copy of their DD214 forms. This card is often used for military discounts on goods and services offered by private individuals or organizations to veterans.
The Veteran Identification Card is for military retirees, physically-challenged Veterans, former prisoners of war who served on active duty, and those with military status.
One thing to note is that Veteran ID card offers federal benefits. Aside from discounts on goods, this card also helps speed up the security screening process at airports and allows veterans to access military commissaries and exchange stores, as well as state parks that offer free or reduced-fee camping for Veterans.
Who Is Eligible For A Veteran ID Card?
To be eligible for a Veteran ID card, you must have served in the military, been honorably discharged from serving the United States Government, and not have any outstanding warrants or convictions. Here are the categories of people who are eligible for the card:
The main categories of people eligible for the card are military retirees. If you have served in the military for 20 years or more, you are eligible to receive a Veteran ID card. To be eligible, you need not have fought in the war or been injured in the line of duty.
Physically Challenged Veterans
Those who have been physically challenged due to their military service are also eligible for the card. This includes Veterans who have lost limbs or suffered other injuries while serving in the military.
Former Prisoners Of War
If you served as a prisoner of war during any armed conflict, you are eligible to receive a Veteran ID card. According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, former prisoners of war (POW) are Veterans who, during active military service, were forcibly interned or detained in the line of duty by an enemy government or its agents or a hostile force.
Also, Veterans currently serving or have served in active military service during peacetime and were forcibly detained or interned by a foreign government, its agents, or a hostile force are regarded as former POWs. The Veteran status will be conferred if the circumstances of the internment were comparable to wartime internment (for example, Iran, Somalia, or Kosovo).
Served On Active Duty
Those who have served on active duty are also eligible for the card. Active duty is defined as full-time service in the armed forces, including members of the National Guard and Reserve who were called to active duty.
Those With Military Status
Anyone conferred with military status, such as a Purple Heart Recipient, are also eligible for the card. You will need to provide proof of your military status to be eligible.
Types Of Veteran ID Cards
There are four main types of Veteran ID cards:
Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
The Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) is issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs and is used for VA benefits. Veterans are more likely to develop certain health conditions, such as PTSD, and the VHIC allows them to get the care they need.
To be eligible for a VHIC, you must be enrolled in the VA health care system. If you are not registered, you can visit the nearest VA medical facility or call the Veterans Health Benefits number.
Veterans Identification Card (VIC)
The Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is issued by the Department of Defense and is used to access military benefits and discounts. As stated earlier, It is a form of photo ID card Veterans use to get discounts offered at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. With this, Veterans with this identification card won’t need to carry around their military discharge papers or share sensitive personal information to receive discounts.
Veterans Designation On A State-Issued Driver’s License or Identification Card
Another type is the veterans designation on a state-issued driver’s license or identification card. This option is available in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Service Organization Veteran ID Cards
Many veterans service organizations provide ID cards, including the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). These are not government-issued identification cards, but many businesses accept them as proof of military service.
How To Get A Veterans ID Card
There are specific steps you need to follow to get a Veteran ID card, depending on which type of card you’re applying for. However, the general steps include:
Create A VA Account
You can create an account or sign in with an existing Login.gov, ID.me, DS Logon, or My HealtheVet account. If you don’t have any of these veteran accounts, you can create a free Login.gov or ID.me account.
Get A Photo Taken
You will need to get a photo taken for your ID card. The image must be a recent one that clearly shows your face. Make sure to remove any hats or sunglasses that might obstruct your face.
Submit An Application
After you have gathered all the required documents, you will need to submit an application for a Veteran ID card. You can do so by mail, fax, or online.
Information Needed For An Application
When you are ready to apply for a Veteran ID card, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Copy of a current and valid government-issued ID, such as a national passport, a driver’s license, or a state-issued identification card.
- Your mailing address
- A digital copy of your DD214, DD256, DD257, or NGB22 that you can upload. This could be in a .pdf, .jpeg, or .png file format.
- A recent photo of yourself (taken within the last six months).
- Your Social Security number
- A copy of a current and valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card.
What Happens After Application?
Once you’ve submitted your VIC application, Veteran Affairs will check your eligibility and verify that:
- The ID you submitted (driver’s license or passport) is valid
- Your character of discharge meets eligibility requirements
- The image you’ve chosen to appear on the card meets the photo requirements
Once they have verified your eligibility, you will receive an email about the status of your application. If they don’t know or can’t determine your discharge status, it will take more time to process your application while we verify that you’re eligible. (They may need to request records from the National Personnel Records Center.)
If you get an email from them requesting more evidence or information to process your application, you will need to sign into Access VA and update your application with the requested material.
Frequently Asked Questions About Veteran ID Card
How Much Does A Veteran ID Card Cost?
One of the great things about Veteran ID cards is that they are free of charge. There is no fee to apply for or receive a Veteran ID card. The primary requirements are that you must be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and have an honorable discharge.
Do I Need A Veteran ID Card To Get Discounts?
Most businesses that offer veterans discounts will require some form of proof of services, such as a DD-214, VIC, or other military identification. However, some businesses do not require any evidence and offer a discount to anyone who identifies as a veteran.
What Are Some Other Benefits Of Having A Veteran ID Card?
A Veteran ID card can help veterans receive discounts on things like travel, hotels, car rentals, and entertainment. Additionally, a Veteran ID card can be used as proof of service when applying for veteran benefits.
What Other Forms Of ID Can You Use Instead Of A Veteran ID Card?
You can use any of these forms of ID to get the same discounts:
- A Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC),
- A DoD identification card, usually a Common Access Card (CAC) or a Uniformed Services ID Card, is required for access to many facilities.
- A state-issued driver’s license or ID with a Veterans designation
Note: If you already have one of these, a Veteran ID Card is not required, but you can still get one.
What Can You Use Your Veterans ID Card For?
You can’t use your Veteran ID Card to:
- Prove your eligibility for any federal benefits
- Access military bases or installations
- Access military commissaries or exchanges
- Present as a form of identification at the airport
- Check into a VA hospital
- Show as proof of wartime service to get a special license plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles
- Show as proof of retirement from the Armed Forces
In conclusion, Veterans ID cards are an important form of identification for veterans. It proves that you are a veteran and have access to certain benefits. In this article, we discussed what Veterans ID cards are and how to get one. We also talked about the eligibility requirements for a Veteran ID card and what to do after applying. If you want to learn more about the process of applying for a Veteran ID card, contact us!