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The Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is an identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for eligible Veterans for use at VA Medical Facilities. The VIC protects the privacy of Veterans' sensitive information, as it no longer displays the Social Security Number or Date of Birth on the front of the card. The VIC will only display the Veteran's name, picture, and special eligibility indicators - Service Connected, Purple Heart and Former POW, if applicable, on the front of the card. Only Veterans who are eligible for VA medical benefits will receive the card. Unofficial cards such as the Veterans Advantage Card offer discounts to Veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project, unlike the official Veteran identification card offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The only purpose of the card is for identification and check-in for VA appointments at VA Medical Centers (VAMC), Outpatient Clinics (OPC) and Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC). The VIC cannot be used as a credit card or an insurance card, and it does not authorize or pay for care at non-VA facilities.
This is not a “veterans discount card.” However, there are a variety of different forms of ID, including a military identification card and the Veteran Identification Card (VIC). There are also membership cards issued by various veteran’s groups, including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Many people use their DD214 for identification.
None of these identifications automatically entitle you to any discounts or privileges. Each individual business determines its own criteria for offering a discount, and each individual business determines to whom it is going to offer a discount.
The VIC can not be used to gain entry to military bases. However, it can be used as an ID upon request by gate guards when entering the base with an escort, such as active duty personnel, or one who has base access. According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, access to the Post or Base Exchange system is generally restricted to active-duty soldiers and their direct dependents. Former service members have access, and will be issued standard military ID cards if they are 20-year retired veterans, medically retired veterans, or 100 percent service connected VA-rated disabled veterans. 100% service connected disability ID Cards are identical to retired cards except: they are tan in color; and they only allow for use of the Exchange, Commissary, and MWR.
Many veterans groups and printing companies advertise offers for "Veterans ID Cards". However, these are not an official veterans identification card issued by the government, and it is highly unlikely these cards would be recognized in any official capacity. Caution should be used before giving any personal identification to a non-government organization.
Veterans should contact the VA Medical Facility where they took their picture to request a new card be re-issued. Since the photo is retained, there is no need for the Veteran to go to the VA to retake a picture for the card. Identifying information such as name and other information will be asked to assure proper identification of the caller.
A new VIC Card was introduced in 2004 to reduce Veterans’ vulnerability to identity theft and to demonstrate the VA’s commitment to securing the confidential personal information of enrolled Veterans. Veterans with the old and outdated version of the VIC (which displays the Social Security Number and the Date of Birth), must replace the card with the new card. Veterans with the old card should report to their local VA Medical Facility to have a new card issued.
In 2014 the Veterans Administration will establish a newly designed Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) to replace the Veterans Identification Card (VIC). The new Veterans Health Identification Card comes with additional security features and a different look and feel, will replace the old Veteran Identification Card, first issued in 2004. The new cards will protect against identity theft and will be personalized with the emblem of the veteran’s branch of service. Other new features add “VA” in Braille, to help visually impaired veterans, along with VA phone numbers and emergency-care instructions.
If you served in the active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health benefits as well.
Reserves or National Guard members with active duty for training purposes only do not meet the basic eligibility requirement.
Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that they may determine their enrollment eligibility.
Veterans who may qualify:
This is not a comprehensive list and veterans should check with the VA to see if they qualify. Many unique circumstances lead to qualification.
Presently, veteran identification cards are only issued at the federal level by the government for entry into VA Medical Facilities; DD Form 214, a "certificate of release or discharge", has been issued to all veterans since 1950. The DD214 is criticized as being too bulky and sensitive to carry around for veterans' benefits in comparison to a pocket-sized card.
On September 2011, the Veterans ID Card Act, HR 2985, was introduced by Reps. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, both Army veterans. The bill would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue photo identification cards to veterans who are not retirees (who receive identification cards from the Department of Defense) but who also do not presently receive VA medical benefits.
Other jurisdictions at the state, county and municipal levels have also created their own identification card schemes for easier veteran access to discounts and other benefits within the jurisdiction.
In New Jersey, the movement for veterans' ID cards has taken effect on a county-by-county basis. A bill allowing all counties in New Jersey to issue state-created veterans' ID cards, S-323, is being sponsored by Sen. Jim Whelan.
In Florida, the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs issues Disabled Veterans' Identification Cards to Florida residents who are certified by the US DVA as eligible for disability compensation. In Delaware, VICs are issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Pennsylvania Govenor, Tom Corbett, announced VA recognition for all entitled benefits to Veterans residing in The Great State of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania now issues state identification cards for veterans. The designation is an American Flag which will appear on the front of the driver's license or state issued identification card. DD-214 will continue to be used as proof of discharge/ and proof of honorable military service.
Virginia's governor, Bob McDonnell announced the launch of a Virginia Veterans ID Card program on May 30, 2012. The card will identify veterans and establish their status with retailers who may offer discounts to veterans. To qualify the veteran must have a valid Virginia driver's license or DMV ID card and present a DD-214, DD-256, or War Department Adjutant General's Office (WD AGO) document. The fee for the card as of May 30 is $10; the cards do not expire. Veterans can apply in person at any Virginia DMV office, on line at www.dmvnow.com, or by fax.
In North Carolina, a veteran may have a "VETERAN" designation placed on state driver licenses and identification cards. The applicant must present a copy of their DD Form 214 showing an honorable discharge. Veterans with currently valid licenses may have their license reissued with the "VETERAN" designation by paying the appropriate fee for a duplicate license at their local DMV office.