Veterans will have to wait an unknown amount of time before they can get a photo ID card from the Department of Veterans Affairs under a law passed in 2015.
The law, known as the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID card to any honorably discharged veteran who applies for one. Getting the card can come with a fee, the law states, and the card must contain the veteran's name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number.
The VA estimated in March 2016 that the cards would be available this year. However, repeated requests by Military.com to VA officials for an update on the timeline for availability went unanswered.
"VA is currently making plans to implement the new law in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while protecting veterans' personal information," officials said in a 2016 statement. "We estimate that VA will be able implement the program in 2017."
The legislation is designed to help all veterans have a way to prove their service without carrying a copy of their DD-214.
"Goods, services and promotional activities are often offered by public and private institutions to veterans who demonstrate proof of service in the military, but it is impractical for a veteran to always carry Department of Defense form DD-214 discharge papers to demonstrate such proof," the law states.
Veterans who receive health care from the VA or have a disability rating can get a Veteran Identification Card photo ID, also known as the VA health card, and military retirees hold an ID card issued by the Defense Department.
Proof of service letters are also available to all veterans through the VA's ebenefits website, but don't include a photo. Some states will include a veteran designation on driver's licenses if requested.
Before offering the new identification cards, a proposed policy governing the program and fees must be published in the Federal Register and opened for comment. No policy proposal has been published.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.