Northwestern Press

Monday, December 17, 2018

Guest View II

Thursday, January 11, 2018 by The Press in Opinion

Honoring veterans using special ID card

One of the many ways in which our communities show their appreciation of our veterans and current servicemen and servicewomen is by stores and companies offering them discounts and other promotions or services.

In order to receive the discount, a person typically needs to show his or her DD-214 form, which most people do not feel comfortable carrying around with them.

At both the state and national levels, veterans can now get a special card clearly indicating their service in the armed forces, which is a more convenient and safer way for veterans to demonstrate their status other than carrying cumbersome documents that may include sensitive personal information.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has recently announced an application process for a national Veterans Identification Card available to veterans.

This includes veterans who served in the armed forces and the reserve components, and who have an honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions.

To request a VIC, veterans must visit vets.gov and click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” on the bottom of the page.

In addition, Pennsylvania’s veterans now have the opportunity to have a special veterans designation included on their state driver’s license or nondriver ID card.

This option was made possible because we, in the Legislature, voted to have it added.

Veterans have to apply to receive the designation and provide appropriate documentation as proof of their service.

The designation will be added to a license at no charge at the next date of renewal.

However, if veterans want the designation before their next renewal, they will have to pay for a duplicate license.

To apply for a veterans designation, go to dmv.pa.gov and click on the “PA Veterans Designation” link.

Please keep in mind that these special ID cards are for the primary use of veterans to show to local merchants for discount and other promotional offers; further documentation is still needed to obtain VA benefits and other veteran services.

In a further effort to help area veterans, I offer the opportunity for veterans and their family members to come and meet with an outreach specialist from the American Legion one day each month at my district office.

These special hours provide personalized service for veterans to have their questions answered about benefits and services they have earned.

Services available to veterans and their dependents include assistance with compensation, pension, death benefits, education and health care, as well as any issues pertaining to veterans benefits.

Veterans do not need to be a member of the American Legion to receive these services.

Appointments to talk with an outreach specialist are offered the second Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at my district office at the Lower Macungie Township Administration Building, 3402 Brookside Road, Macungie.

Anyone interested in speaking with the department service officer should call the office at 610-965-9933 to schedule an appointment.

Veterans are also encouraged to contact my office any time they need assistance with a state-related matter or with accessing services.

My staff and I are always happy to help.

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Editor’s note: State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, a Republican, represents the 134th Legislative District, which includes Alburtis, Lower Macungie Township, Macungie, Salisbury Township (Wards 4 and 5) and South Whitehall (Districts 3 and 4) in Lehigh County; and Hereford, Longswamp, Richmond and Rockland townships, and Topton borough in Berks County.