CIRCLEVILLE - An act signed by President Barack Obama on Monday will authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue a photo identification card to any honorably discharged veteran, but a similar ID has been available to local veterans for about two years.
The Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, signed into law July 20, will extend the availability of veteran ID cards previously limited to those who fulfilled retirement obligations from the armed forces or had a medical-related discharge.
The legislation will take effect in 60 days, and the cards will be available for a fee through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The local version, however, is free to any honorably discharged veteran through the local Veterans Service Office on West Main Street.
Lou Jordan, financial assistance investigator for the Pickaway County VSO, said he has issued about 250 of the ID cards since the program's inception two years ago this month, and some veterans even come from out of county to get the cards that are not available in their home counties.
"These are not good for any type of government assistance or anything like that," Jordan said. "It's just a way for someone to prove they're a veteran. It's handy for things like when businesses or restaurants offer veteran discounts, and it's a lot easier to carry around than your DD-214."
The new cards that will be offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs also serve as proof of veteran status only and do not serve as proof of entitlement to benefits through the VA, according to the act signed Monday.
The local photo ID includes the veteran's name, address, branch of service and date of discharge on a card officially issued by the local VSO and is available to any honorably discharged veteran at no charge, Jordan said.
Any veteran interested in obtaining a free ID card may contact the local VSO at 740-474-3650 or visit the office in the county annex building at 141 W. Main St., Suite 300, Circleville.