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The Veterans Benefits Administration has created a "survivors" website for spouses and dependents of military personnel who died on active duty and for the survivors and dependents of veterans who died after leaving the military. The website is organized into two broad categories - death in service and death after service. It provides website visitors with information about a wide range of benefits for the surviving spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents of deceased veterans and active-duty personnel. The site also has information from and provides links to other federal agencies and organizations that offer benefits and services to survivors and dependents. Visit the Veterans Benefits Administration site to learn about your benefits.
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Each of the military services maintains a discharge review board with authority to change, correct or modify a discharge or dismissal that is not issued by a sentence of a general court-martial. The board has no authority to address medical discharges. The Veteran or his surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative may apply for a review of discharge by writing to the military department concerned, using Department of Defense Forms DD293 and DD149. You can obtain these forms from your local Veterans Services Office, VA regional office (call 800-827-1000, or from any Veterans Service Organization (VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, etc.).
The Veterans Identification Card Act 2015 (Public Law 114-31) was enacted on July 20, 2015. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is drafting regulations that will allow VA to implement and enforce the legislation. However, this is a lengthy process that requires time for a public comment period as well as approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The rule making process is expected to take 12 months or more. VA is also in the process of developing procedures and policies to implement the VA ID card program. VA currently estimates the program will be implemented in 2017.
In the meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs continue to provide a Veterans Identification Card (VIC) for veterans to use at VA medical facilities. The VIC will be issued only to veterans who are eligible for VA medical benefits and only for the purpose of identification and check-in for VA medical appointments. The new card protects personal privacy by not showing Social Security Numbers or dates of birth on the front of the cards.
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 available 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 to 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.
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.
Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can obtain a free Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC).
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.
Information about the services that the Veterans Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program provides to veterans with service-connected disabilities can be found at Veteran Readiness and Employment site.
The website provides information about vocational counseling available to active duty service members and veterans who have recently separated from active duty. You will also find information about vocational counseling and special rehabilitation services available to dependents of veterans who meet certain program eligibility requirements.
Did you know that Military Retirees must update their DEERS record and Retired Identification Card when becoming eligible for Medicare, normally at age 65? Once updated, your new Identification Card will never expire.
Additionally, the new Identification Cards no longer display your Social Security Number. There is a new DoD ID Number on the front and a DoD Benefits number printed on the back. If your Retiree Identification Card currently displays your Social Security Number, you may get a new one anytime.
To find the nearest ID Card Office and to schedule an appointment, go to the ID Card Office Online site.
Remember to bring 2 forms of government-issued identification.
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