Veterans who apply for ID cards through the Department of Veteran Affairs program rolled out last year should start to see a faster turnaround time in October, officials said Aug. 31.
"VA is establishing a data-sharing partnership with the Department of Defense that will essentially automate much of the VIC eligibility determination process starting in October, thus substantially expediting card deliveries to Veterans," Curtis Cashour, a VA spokesman told Military.com.
Current turnaround time for mailing the cards is typically "up to 21 business days from the time a veteran's application is approved," Cashour said.
But application processing times can take up to six months, he said, "depending on individual veterans' service circumstances."
To date, 138,337 veterans have applied for the ID card, while 47,241 cards have been mailed, Cashour said. That number is a substantial increase from the about 90,000 applications and 21,000 cards awaiting mailing in early May.
Cashour noted that not all individuals who have applied for the card qualified.
Any honorably discharged veteran is eligible to receive one of the new veteran ID cards through a program established last year. Ordered by Congress in 2015, the cards are meant to serve as proof of military service at private businesses. They are not considered official forms of federal or state identification and do not entitle veterans to any VA or Defense Department services or benefits.
Currently, veterans can access the application by entering the VA's site through the DS Logon system, managed by the Defense Manpower Data Center, or through ID.me, a private secure identification service used by private companies. Veterans then certify their eligibility by submitting their personal information, a copy of a government ID and a shoulders-up photo that will be printed on the card.
Applications for the card first opened last year through the VA's website. But the process was almost immediately suspended as visitors overwhelmed the system.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.