By Debbie Gregory.
The Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015 was enacted so that veterans who weren’t entitled to military retired pay nor enrolled in the VA health-care system could prove their veteran status without having to carry their DD214s.
As the Department of Veterans Affairs prepares to accept applications for the new cards in November, questions remain: will veterans need cellphone contracts in order to enter an online national registry, a step that must be completed before they can even apply for the cards? Will the VA enter into sponsorships with private companies to produce the cards? Will the cards carry corporate logos on them?
But probably the most confusing part of the act is the stipulation that the VA must issue hard-copy photo IDs to any veteran who applies and pays a fee. The law does not stipulate that an honorable discharge is required. So will the ID cards be available to veterans with bad paper discharges? Because when the VA begins accepting applications for the cards in November, veterans with less-than-honorable discharges will not be eligible to apply.
According to VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour, “Only those Veterans with honorable service will be eligible for the ID card.”
Apparently, only veterans with honorable discharges are eligible to register for and receive an ID during the first phase. Perhaps future phases will be more inclusive. Who knows? And apparently, the ID card will be brought to veterans courtesy of Office Depot!
AMVETS has tweeted images of the new ID card, which carries an Office Depot logo on the back, along with “Saluting you today and every day. Thanks for taking care of business.”
Cashour said that Office Depot is absorbing the cost of making the cards, so that veterans can receive them without having to pay for them.
To apply for one of the new ID cards, you will need to apply online, although the specific website has not been announced. You must also register with Vets.gov, a website that authorizes users through third-party verification company ID.me, to support identity and authentication.