Military veterans in Long Beach and throughout the state can now apply for a “veteran” designation on their identification cards as part of a new collaboration between the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
The announcement was made Tuesday—a day before Veterans Day—in Sacramento by officials from CalVets and the DMV, as well as by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, who authored the 2014 piece of legislation allowing the designation.
“With the growing population of veterans returning to California, it is our responsibility to help make sure they are well-equipped to integrate back into civilian life,” Frazier stated on his Facebook page. “Assembly Bill 935 helps us fulfill that pledge to our veterans. Proof of military service is now literally at the individual’s fingertips, which will help ensure that California veterans are receiving all the benefits and services they’re rightfully entitled to.”
Starting Thursday, November 12, veterans can obtain a “veteran” designation on state driver licenses and identification cards through the following steps:
1. Obtain your military discharge certificate, known as DD214. If you need help getting your military records, contact any county veteran service officer.
2. Take your DD214 and government identification to any CVSO to obtain your Veteran Status Verification Form. You can also make an appointment with any CVSO by calling 844.737.8838 or finding a local CVSO at www.calvet.ca.gov.
3. Make an appointment with the DMV online or by calling. Then bring your VSVF to any DMV field office. Pay any application fees in addition to a $5 Veteran designation fee, and complete all application and testing requirements. To schedule an appointment at the DMV visit www.dmv.ca.gov or call 800.777.0133.
The bill will help the state identify the estimated one million veterans who are unaccounted for and not receiving benefits, stated Pete Conaty, a retired Army veteran and advocate.
“Once these individuals are identified, this bill has the potential to bring in an estimated $750 million in direct federal benefits annually to our state’s military service members. It took four legislative bills over a two-year period to finally achieve this goal, and we want to thank Assemblyman Frazier for his tenacity on this issue,” Conaty added.
According to DMV officials, veterans can check the “yes” box on their forms when asked if they would like to receive veteran benefit information. This would then allow the DMV to forward the contact information to CalVet to provide benefit information to the requesting veteran.
“I'm proud that our state makes it easier for veterans to self-identify, and putting it on the driver’s license makes it significantly easier for veterans to be recognized as veterans,” said VA Long Beach spokesman Richard Beam. “Whether it’s showing your ID to the cashier or showing your ID to get a veteran's benefit, I think it's a great thing and I think a lot of our veterans will be utilizing it.”
For more information on Long Beach’s DMV office, click here.
Above, left: photo courtesy of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.