Begich Introduces Bill to Create “Vets ID Card”
Builds on Record of Simplifying Everyday Life for Alaska Vets
Responding to Alaska veterans’ calls for a simpler way to identify as veterans and receive a range of benefits, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today introduced legislation that would
create a “Veterans ID” card.
The card would serve as a means for veterans to receive benefits like reduced prices on pharmaceuticals, discounts from retailers for consumer products and businesses looking for ways to show their appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our veterans. Alaska currently has the highest number of veterans per capita of all 50 states.
“We should be doing everything within our power to make everyday life simpler for our veterans who have sacrificed for our country,” said Begich. “Having this basic ID and making everyday activities like shopping or applying for a loan or a job easier is the least we can do for our veterans and their families.”
Currently only veterans who served at least 20 years – or have a service-connected disability – are able to get an ID card from the Veterans Administration (VA) signifying their service. The only option available for all other veterans is to carry a paper form called a DD-214 that contains various forms of personal data, including their Social Security number and service details, putting them at risk for identity theft.
Begich’s bill would make the ID card optional for veterans. Veterans would not be required to carry or obtain one and it also would not confer any health care eligibility or VBA benefits to the veteran.
Today’s announcement builds on Begich’s record of working to streamline services for our veterans. He has previously demanded the VA address the unacceptable backlog of claims and negotiated agreements between Alaska Native tribal health organizations and the VA to allow rural veterans to access health care closer to home instead of traveling to Anchorage or Seattle. Begich also introduced the Alaska Hero’s Card Act to allow Alaska veterans to have the choice to access care from clinics and other treatment facilities close to home.
Sen. Richard Burr, Republican Senator from North Carolina, is also an original co-sponsor of S.778 The Veterans ID Card.