On July 7, 2015, Congress passed legislation which directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to issue a veteran’s identification card to a requesting veteran who is neither entitled to military retired pay nor enrolled in the VA system of patient enrollment. H.R. 91, also known as the “Veteran’s Identification Card Act of 2015″ will make it easier for a Veteran to provide proof of their military service to employers and other institutions without having to carry a DD 214 with them.
Previous to the passing of H.R.91, Veteran identification cards were only provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to Veterans who met specific criteria such as serving 20 or more years or or who have received a medical-related discharge from the Armed Forces. With the passing of the Veteran”s Identification Card Act of 2015, any Veteran who served a minimum obligated time in service and wishes to obtain a card will be able to do so.
Prior to the passing of this bill, Veterans who did not meet the above requirements only received a Department of Defense form DD–214 as proof of their service. Carrying around a piece of paper as proof that you served was not practical for many Veterans as the paper could be easily damaged. The bill states that “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.” The Veterans Identification Card will be durable enough that it can be easily carried as proof if needed.
The Veterans Identification Card will include a photograph of the Veteran, the name of the Veteran along with an identification number (Not a Social Security Number) and will specifically state that such card is not proof of any benefits to which the veteran is entitled to.
Veterans who do not already possess a Veteran Identification Card from the Department of Veterans Affairs must request the new ID Card. To request the new Veterans Identification Card, the Veteran must provide a copy of Department of Defense form DD–214 or other official document from the official military personnel file of the veteran that describes the service of the veteran. The Veteran will also need to pay a small fee. Don’t rush down to the VA just yet though. The act states specifically that “The amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the date that is 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.”
You can view H.R.91 – Veterans Identification Card Act 2015 in its entirety here.