Veteran ID Cards: What your options are now and in the future
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 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 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.
VA Caregiver Support
Caring for Veterans with TBI
Family Caregivers play an important role in recovery. You can offer support, encouragement, and guidance to your injured family member, and help ensure the treatment plan established by the medical professionals caring for the Veteran is followed.
What is TBI?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when something hits the head hard or makes it move quickly. Injuries may be due to blasts in combat, or as a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls, falling or flying objects, or assaults.
There are some common physical and mental changes that can occur with TBI depending on the type and severity of the injury. Some symptoms may be present immediately, while others may appear later.
- Physical changes may include: problems with vision, weakness and coordination, as well as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, pain, and sleep disturbances.
- Thinking changes may include: memory and learning problems, decreased concentration, problems with judgment, and slower thinking.
- Emotional issues may include: irritability, problems managing anger or frustration, depression, anxiety, adjustment difficulties, and problems with social functioning.
- It is often difficult for an individual with TBI to multitask, so give one instruction at a time. Try using lists, memory notebooks, and calendars to organize daily tasks.
- Be sensitive to the issue of fatigue. If your family member seems tired or overwhelmed, suggest they take a break.
- Establish a routine in which your family member pre-plans activities for the day. Scheduling the most important activities for the morning is a good idea, because energy levels tend to decline over the course of the day.
- Attend visits to the medical provider with your family member and provide detailed information about the Veteran’s progress and challenges. Ask questions and take notes.
- Be supportive and patient, and don’t forget to also take care of yourself. Remember, you are doing the best you can and you are making a difference in your loved one’s life.
- For support and information about the assistance available from VA, call VA’s Caregiver Support Line toll-free at 1-855-260-3274.
- To learn more about TBI, diagnosis, and treatment, visit VA’s Polytrauma website, or VA’s Public Health website.
- For training on how to care effectively for yourself as a Caregiver, try VA’s Caregiver Self-Care Courses
By the way, if you want to complain, add your support, or have something you want added to this article contact me at 580-271-0897 or Email me at BobKinsler@aol.com. This is the veterans’ news and if you have something let me know, please.