What is a Veterans Identification Card or Proof of Service Card and how do you get one?

The Veterans Identification Card Act 2015 (Public Law 114-31) was enacted on July 20, 2015. The purpose of the Veteran Identification Card (VIC) is to serve as proof of service in the Armed Forces which can be used to obtain discounts on goods and services offered to veterans. The VIC does not qualify veterans for additional benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and does not serve as proof for any benefits to which you may be entitled. Also, the VIC will not grant access to military post or installations.

VA will begin accepting applications for the VIC Nov. 1. For those who wish to obtain a VIC, veterans should log into Vets.gov to apply. If eligible, you will receive your ID card (at no cost to you) in the mail within three weeks. For more information please go to www.vets.gov/#. This is the only way to apply for the VIC, your medical center or regional office will not be able to assist you. Questions regarding the new VIC can be directed to the Vets.gov Help Desk (855) 574-7286 TTY: (800) 877-8339 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (ET).

In the meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs continue to provide a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) for veterans to use at VA medical facilities. The VHIC will be issued only to veterans who are eligible for VA medical benefits and only for the purpose of identification and check-in for VA medical appointments. The new card protects personal privacy by not showing Social Security Numbers or dates of birth on the front of the cards. For more information on VHIC, go to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/index.asp

VA has Service Connected, POW and Purple Heart (PH) indicators on the new VIC. Veterans who have been awarded service-connected status after their VIC has been issued or SC status is not properly documented on their card, will need to present their letter showing their SC rating to the eligibility clerk at the local VA Medical Center where they obtain treatment. After verification, the eligibility clerk will submit a request to National Card Management Directory (NCMD) System for a new card to be issued to the veteran.

Once a veteran has his/her picture taken for the new card at the VA medical facility, the card will be mailed to the veteran at the address that has been provided. To ensure that a veteran receives the new VIC card, the veteran should please verify that VA has the correct address on file. If the U.S. Postal Service cannot deliver the card, it will be returned to the facility at which the card was requested. The card will then be held in a secure location at the facility for 90 days. If the card is not picked up within the 90-day period, the card will be destroyed.

With regard to the use of veteran ID cards for store discounts, please note: The VA identification card, once available 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. [Source VA Press Release 04/27/2006 Updated 10/11/2017]

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us and as always have a great week.