The Veterans Identification Card Act 2015 (Public Law 114-31) was enacted on July 20, 2015. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is drafting regulations that will allow VA to implement and enforce the legislation. However, this is a lengthy process that requires time for a public comment period as well as approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The rule-making process is expected to take 12 months or more. VA is also in the process of developing procedures and policies to implement the VA ID card program. VA currently estimates the program will be implemented in 2017.
In the meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to provide a Veterans Identification Card (VIC) for veterans to use at VA medical facilities. The VIC 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.
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 that 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 for any federal benefits and do 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 to 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 card through the joint VA/DoD web portal, eBenefits. This paper identification card serves as proof of honorable service in the Uniformed Services, as defined in the laws of the Department of Defense (DoD). Veterans can get a free eBenefits account.
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 the state Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can obtain a free Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC).
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.