The VA has announced the rollout of the new Veterans ID card (VIC) and for a time veterans could apply for a printed version of the VIC. The program has now been put on hold due to “high volume of traffic” according to the VA. Veterans can provide their email address and be notified once the application is back online.
Veterans who apply should receive the printed version within 60 days and can monitor the status at vets.gov.
A digital version of the VIC will be made available by mid-December.
““The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most Veterans to show proof of service,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin.”
How To Sign Up For A Veterans ID Card
To do so, you will need an official government ID that has a photograph (passports are acceptable) and you will need to provide additional data such as a Social Security Number.
Veterans ID Card Benefits
The VIC will enable veterans to provide proof of service online and at government and private businesses without the need to carry around DD214 papers. This will allow veterans to easily access the many benefits that federal, state and local government institutions provide. Additionally, veterans can now more easily obtain veterans discounts that many online and brick and mortar stores provide
Who Qualifies For A Veterans Identification Card (VIC)?
Veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces or reserve components and have a discharge of honorable or general (under honorable conditions).
There are many types of military discharges including but not limited to:
- General (under honorable conditions)
- Other Than Honorable
- Bad Conduct
There are some things that result in a military member leaving uniformed service that are not technically military discharges, such as an “administrative separation” during basic training. This “admin sep” as it is sometimes known, occurs before the trainee has officially gone on to become a full-fledged member of the military.
If you desire the Veterans ID Card but do not have a discharge characterized as honorable, you will need to contact your last military command to inquire how to submit to a discharge review board for a possible discharge upgrade.
What The Veterans ID Card IS NOT
The Veteran ID Card is not a replacement for the VA’s identification for those using the Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), which is used for identification at VA facilities including patient check-in and other procedures. The VHIC is given ONLY to veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system and cannot be used as a credit card, insurance card, etc.
Military retirees also already have a an ID card provided by the Department of Defense.
The Veterans ID Card is intended to identify all honorably discharged veterans regardless of their VA health care or retiree status. It will not replace VHIC in any way, and those who currently use VHIC as identification will not be required to switch to the Veterans ID Card.
The Veterans Identification Card should not be used as a replacement for a retiree ID card or any other government ID. Veterans ID cards are not considered official government ID cards and as such should not be relied upon as identification for:
- Air travel
- Access to military bases
- Applications for veteran benefits
- Passport renewal
- Proof of age for the purposes of buying alcohol or tobacco products
- License renewals
- Access to VA healthcare, including Space A care.
The Veterans ID Card Is An Informal Type Of ID
Since the Veterans ID card is not offered as an official form of government ID, it is appropriate mainly for claiming discounts, freebies, perks, and incentives offered to members of the uniformed services that include veterans.
It may be used as “proof of service” in some cases, but these situations will likely be handled on a case-by-case basis depending on the need for proof of service. Applying for a veteran’s discount at a civilian run establishment may require nothing more than the Veterans ID Card, applying for a VA mortgage loan will definitely require more information than the Veterans ID Card is intended to provide.
History of the VIC
In 2015, Congress mandated that the Department of Veterans Affairs provide veterans with an ID card specifically designed to help them identify as retired or separated members of the United States Military. But after that initial mandate, what do veterans need to know?
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News