NOAA, USPHS Veterans Now Eligible for Free VA Photo ID Cards

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2018

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced the availability of new VA photo ID cards for all honorably discharged veterans, a move aimed at making it easier to claim veteran benefits without having to carry around important discharge documents.NOAA, USPHS Veterans Now Eligible for Free VA Photo ID Cards

Many argued the previous identification system – which involved showing your DD-214 that contained personal information like birthday and social security ID – made veterans more susceptible to identity theft, in addition to increasing the chances of losing the important documents. Other options for veterans previously included requesting a proof of service letter through the VA's eBenefits website or requesting a veteran designation on a driver’s license offered by the veteran’s states offices.

How to Request Free VA Photo ID Cards

The new VA photo ID cards were made available to veterans who served honorably but were separated before retirement, or who did not meet the medical discharge threshold. The smaller photo IDs are easier to transport and do not contain sensitive personal information, making it easier and safer to prove prior service.

In 2015, a new Veteran ID Cards (VICs) was mandated by the government and included the veteran's name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number. The card could be applied for online and ordered for free. Unfortunately, when the new online application tool was pushed live, two categories of veterans were left out of the process and unable to apply. Commissioned members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and members of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) are considered veterans by law, yet the drop-down menu of the ID application process did not offer these branches as options.

Although requests were reportedly made by the branches to correct the oversight, it wasn’t until an article was published on Military.com in April 2018 that the two additional service options were added and members could apply. The tool has now been updated to include these two branches as a choice for prior service.

To request a free VA photo ID card, all honorably discharged veterans can visit the VA’s veteran benefits website, Vets.gov, and visit the "Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card" page. You will then be prompted to create an account or sign in. According to the VA, veterans should receive their card within 60 days and can check the delivery status of their cards on the website.

Veterans who receive health care from the VA or have a disability rating can already get a photo ID VA health card – known as a Veteran Health Identification Card – while military retirees are typically issued an ID by the Defense Department.

NOAA and USPHS are two of the seven branches of the uniformed services of the U.S. federal government entitled to all veteran benefits, including VA health care and burial at national cemeteries. The NOAA claims more than 321 members and the USPHS claims more than 6,700 officers of its commissioned corps as of 2018.

Written by Megan Hammons

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