Editor’s note: Please see this clarification on accessing your proof of service letter through eBenefits.
On July 20, 2015, the president signed into law the Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015. This act allows Veterans to apply for an identification card directly from VA. The VA identification card will allow Veterans to demonstrate proof of service for discounts at private restaurants and businesses.
It should be noted that the identification card is different from a Veteran Health Identification card or a DoD Uniformed Services or retiree ID card. As such, the VA identification cards cannot be used as proof of eligibility to any federal benefits and does not grant access to military installations.
When available, Veterans will be able to request an ID card from VA for a fee. VA is currently making plans to implement the new law in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while protecting Veterans’ personal information. We estimate that VA will be able implement the program in 2017. The cost of each card has not yet been determined.
In the meantime, Veterans who would like an identification card that displays their military service do not have to wait until VA implements the new law. You have several options:
- You can access and print a free Veterans identification proof of service letter through the joint VA/DoD web portal, eBenefits. This serves as proof of honorable service in the Uniformed Services, as defined in laws about the Department of Defense (DoD). Veterans can get a free eBenefits account by going to https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage.
- Your driver’s license or state identification card can carry a Veteran designation. This option is currently available in 49 states, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. We expect the 50th state, Washington, to offer this service in August 2017. Veterans wanting more information should contact their state department of motor vehicles or state department of Veterans affairs at http://www.va.gov/statedva.htm.
- Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can obtain a free Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC). For more information, please go to http://www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/vhic/index.asp.
- Veterans who have retired from military service can receive an identification card from DoD. For information on obtaining or renewing such a card, please contact your nearest DoD identification card facility. You can find the location of these facilities through this link: https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/appj/site.
This article was submitted to Vantage Point by the Veterans Benefits Administration.