VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, Public Affairs Officer
Veterans ID cards to be available starting in November – By: Leo Shane III ? 5 days ago
WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs officials will start issuing new veterans ID cards next month, giving recipients an easy way to provide their military service for business discounts and other promotions.
The move, first reported by Military.com, comes two years after Congress passed legislation for the cards. A VA spokesman said they’ll be made available for no cost to any veteran who applies through the department’s website.
The new cards won’t replace VA medical cards or official defense retiree cards, and will not carry any force of law behind them.
But supporters have called a national veterans ID card a simple way to honor veterans’ service and a way to help them prove their service status for non-federal activities. They have also argued that many veterans’ practice of carrying around copies of their military discharge paperwork or other personal documents to get corporate discounts leaves them open to fraud and identity theft.
Several states — but not all 50 — give veterans the option to identify themselves on drivers’ licenses. But the national ID card through VA would give a more standard way to verify military service.
VA officials have not yet said how long it will take to issue cards after a veteran has requested them.
Legislation authorizing the cards was sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and passed through Congress without objection. About 21 million Americans are veterans, with another 1.3 million individuals currently serving in the military.
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 November 1, 2017. 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 3 weeks. For more information please go to: https://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 1-855-574-7286 TTY: 1-800-877-8339 Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (ET)
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 availalbe 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.
New Retirement System Outreach: The Pentagon asked the VFW to help spread the word about next week’s webinar and Facebook chat on the new Blended Retirement System, which takes effect in the new year. The first event is a webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 1-2 p.m. EDT, featuring Mr. Andy Corso and Maj. Michael Odle from the Pentagon Office of Military Compensation Policy, and Mr. Stewart Kaplan, who works for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. The webinar requires advance registration and can only accommodate 1,400 participants. The second event is a Facebook Q&A on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 1-2 p.m. EDT, with #AskRobyn, the Defense Department’s Blended Retirement System, along with colleagues from the Thrift Savings Plan. No registration is required. https://www.facebook.com/events/1278659685572603/
For those who remember him, Troy Hensch the VFW State Commander 2015 through 2016 who helped re-open the Hugo VFW Post after the Tornado hit died Friday October 13, 2017 at 2 am at his house in Lawton, OK. Services have yet to be announced but I will note them here, next week.