May 24, 2018

Veteran Identification Cards - Frequently Asked Questions

Veterans Identification Card Fact Sheet

On July 20, 2015, the President signed into law the Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015, Public Law (PL) 114-31 which amended Chapter 57 of title 38, United States Code to require that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issue an identification card to Veterans that request a card and present a DD-214 or other document that validates service in the military, naval or air service in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Veterans can use the VIC with participating vendors in lieu of their DD-214. Implementation of the VIC closes the gap for individuals that do not have an identification card that designates them as a Veteran. Moreover, it allows the VA to ensure Veterans are able to take advantage of the benefits and discounted services available to them without compromising Personal Identifiable Information (PII) that is visible on the DD-214. The VIC does not replace the or serve as an alternate means of identification in place of the Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) or retirement card issued by the Department of Defense, or other state or federal identification highlighting their Veteran status. Veterans who have served honorably will be able to apply for a VIC online using Vets.gov or AccessVA.

Key Facts:

• On November 29, 2017, VA launched the Veterans Identification Card (VIC) Program.

• Veterans can submit an electronic application for the VIC using Vets.gov or AccessVA. To sign in, they can use their ID.me account or the same log-in that they use for their eBenefits account (DS Logon).

• Individuals that have a character of discharge type of Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) are eligible for a VIC.

• Individuals with a Dishonorable, Other than Honorable conditions or Bad Conduct discharge are not eligible for a VIC.

• The VIC can be presented to Vendors for discounted goods and services without compromising Personal Identifiable Information (PII) that is visible on the DD-214. Vendor’s acceptance of the VIC is voluntary and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the VA.

• The VIC does not reflect entitlement to any benefits administered by the VA, DoD, or any other federal department or agency.

• The VIC will serve as proof of service for Veterans who do not have a form of identification that designates them as a Veteran.

• The VIC is not meant to duplicate Veteran identification cards currently issued by the VA, DoD, or state department or agency.

How to Apply for a VIC

• Veterans can apply for a VIC using Vets.gov or AccessVA

Explanation of Initiative

• The VIC can be used in lieu a DD-214 and will provide Veterans who served a minimum obligated time in service, but did not meet the retirement or medical discharge threshold with a more portable and secure alternative for proof of service.

VIC FAQ’s

Q. What is the Veteran Affairs identification card (VIC)?

A. On July 20, 2015, the President signed into law the “Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015”. This Act allows eligible Veterans to be issued an identification card directly from VA.

Q. How can the VIC card be used?

A. The VIC can be presented to Vendors for discounted goods and services without compromising Personal Identifiable Information (PII) that is visible on the DD-214. Vendor’s acceptance of the VIC is voluntary and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the VA.

Q. Is there eligibility criteria in order to qualify for the VIC?

A. Yes, any Veteran who served in the Armed Forces (includes: active Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines as well as Reserve Component, National Guard, or Coast Guard) and have a character of discharge type of Honorable, General (Under Honorable Conditions) may request the VIC. Veterans Affairs will review eligibility to ensure a Department of Defense form DD–214 or other official document of discharge is present and a character of discharge type is annotated describing the service of the Veteran.

Q. Are individuals that served in the Reserves, National Guard, or Coast Guard eligible for a VIC?

A. Individuals that served in the Army Reserve, the Navy Reserve, the Marine Corps Reserve, the Air Force Reserve, the Coast Guard Reserve, the Army National Guard of the United States, or the Air National Guard of the United States qualify for a VIC if they received a DD-214 or other approved document of discharge and completed their obligated time in service.

Q. Are individuals that have an Unknown or Uncharacterized discharge status eligible for a VIC?

A. Individuals with an uncharacterized or unknown discharge status may be eligible. They will have to submit a copy of their DD-214 so that we can verify the nature of discharge and determine eligibility.

Q. I served in Army from 5/11/2005 - 5/10/2009 and Navy from 5/11/2009 - 3/18/2011. However, when I was discharged from the Navy in 2009, I received a dishonorable discharge. Am I still eligible for a VIC?

A. No, if you have multiple segments of service that are not all honorable or general (under honorable conditions) you are not eligible for a VIC.

Q. Are all individuals that have VA benefits automatically eligible for a VIC?

A. No, the two are not the same. VA can render a Character of Discharge Determination on discharges that are not Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) and can assign limited benefits to an individual. VA cannot change the discharge of record on the actual DD-214 and that is the discharge field that determines VIC eligibility.

Q. Will the Veteran be required to be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) in order to verify eligibility for VIC?

A. No, not all Veterans retain their DEERS account after they are discharged. All active duty and retirees are automatically kept enrolled in DEERS. A VIC applicant does not necessarily need to have a DEERS account or be eligible for a DEERS account. It is required if they need to use a DS Logon. However, ID.me does not require that same system verification and individuals can access the application from there. If the Veteran has a DEERS account, they need to ensure it is updated with current information before they try to use their DS Logon to access Vets.gov or AccessVA.

Applicants can update their DEERS information using the information below:

• Visit your personnel office or contact the Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office at 800-538-9552. You can find your nearest personnel office at: http://www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/.

• Visit the DEERS website at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/bwe/indexAction.do.

• Go online to TRICARE to update your information: http://www.tricare.mil/DEERS .

Q. Will the VIC give a Veteran access to any other benefits, goods, or services that they don’t already get with their Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC); DoD retired identification card or state-issued identification with a Veteran designation?

A. No, the VIC does not reflect entitlement to any benefits administered by the VA, DoD, or any other federal department or agency. The VIC will serve as proof of service for Veterans who do not have a form of identification that designates them as a Veteran. The VIC is not meant to duplicate Veteran identification cards currently issued by the VA, DoD, or other federal or state department or agency. If a Veteran already has a VHIC, retirement card issued by DoD, or state issued identification with a Veteran designation they do not need to apply for a VIC. The VIC does not qualify individuals for additional benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and does not serve as proof for any benefits to which they may be entitled

Q. How can Veterans submit a request for a VIC?

A. Veterans can submit requests for a VIC on Vets.gov or AccessVA

Q. How do I sign in to Vets.gov?

A. You can sign in with your DS Logon account (used to access eBenefits or MilConnect)—and we’ll connect your account to Vets.gov through ID.me. ID.me is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe. If you have a basic or advanced (non-premium) account, you’ll need to verify your identity through ID.me. We can also help you use ID.me to add an extra layer of security to your account (called 2-factor authentication). If you don’t have a DS Logon account, you can create an account for Vets.gov through ID.me.

Q. What if the Veteran does not have an ID.me account, can they still apply for the VIC?

A. Yes, the same log-in used for eBenefits or DS Logon, can be used to log into their Vets.gov or AccessVA account.

Q. For Veterans without the ability to submit an electronic application, is there another way to submit a VIC request?

A. We encourage all Veterans interested in applying for the Veteran ID card to visit Vets.gov or AccessVA. At this time those are the only methods available for applying for the card.

Q. Will the VIC allow me to access military post or installations?

A. No, the VIC will not grant you access to military installations.

Q. Will the VA charge a fee to issue the VIC?

A. Veterans will not be asked to pay for the Veteran ID card. To ensure security of Veteran information, the application process is managed within the VA and the printing and shipping costs for the card are covered through a public-private partnership agreement.

Q. Is the list of vendors that offer discounts to Veterans available online?

A. Promotional discounts and services offered to Veterans may vary by location. Check with your local retailer to verify if they offer discounted goods or services to Veterans.