While members that are still currently serving and retired military personnel have ID cards to prove their status, many veterans that have been discharged from the military only have a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, commonly referred to as a DD214. Listed on the DD214 is the status of release, awards/decorations, release date, etc.
The DD214 is a very important document, allowing ex-military personnel to apply for a myriad of services, from VA benefits to military discount offers. Keeping a copy of your DD214 with you at all times just isn’t a feasible solution for proving your veteran status, however. Many states now offer, or are in the process of introducing legislation to add veteran’s status to your state issued driver’s license.
Having the special designation would allow veterans to easily prove their status, freeing them from the necessity of carrying their separation paperwork with them. In Arkansas, the new legislation took effect in July 2011, and upon supplying your DD214 when renewing, updating, or applying for your driver’s license, the word VETERAN is placed directly under your photo. Most states charge no extra fee if you are renewing your driver’s license already, but may require a small fee if you are just updating it to include your veteran’s status.
Gaining official benefits will still require your DD214, as it has more detailed information about your service, but with a veteran status state ID, veterans would be able to receive discounts from merchants or offer proof of their military status if it is requested by veterans organizations they may join. This can be a tremendous help for veterans who deserve to receive discounts but may not currently have proof of their military service.
As of right now, 11 states have passed legislation, with the others either pending legislation or with no legislation passed. Some counties in New York and New Jersey are currently issuing veteran’s ID cards until legislation can be pursued to include them on the driver’s licenses. For a more complete list of where states stand on the issuance, please visit this site. To request copies of your DD214 if you have lost it, you can submit a request through the National Archives.
Supporting legislature that aids benefits is a great way to show your support. Contact your local legislators and get involved!