Begich Scores Big for Veterans and Privacy
New Vet ID Cards Will Not Include SSN’s
In response to urging from U.S. Senator Mark Begich to better protect veterans privacy and personal information, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will begin to offer new veteran identification cards that do not display social security numbers. The new cards will instead feature a new unique card holder identifier number.
“As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I want to do all I can to make sure our veterans have easy and secure access to the services they have earned,” said Begich. “That’s why I asked the VA to ensure their new card would allow veterans to access service without jeopardizing their privacy. This new cared will be welcome by the all the veterans and veterans groups who contacted my office with their concerns about security with the old cards.”
Begich and Sen. John Tester (D-MT) expressed their concerns about this issue in a letter sent to the VA earlier this year.
The VA announced the phased roll out of the Veteran Health Identification Cards (VHIC) today. The cards feature additional security features and will have a different look and feel. In addition to being more secure, the card has been transformed into a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC). Similar to a typical health insurance card, the VHIC displays the Veteran’s Member ID, a new unique identifier, as well as a Plan ID, reflecting the Veteran’s enrollment in VA health care.
The new VHICs will provide features that make it easier to use, such as the addition of “VA” in Braille to help visually impaired Veterans, and the printing of VA phone numbers and emergency care instructions on the cards. As part of a phased rollout, starting this month, the card will only be offered to newly enrolled and other Veterans who have not been issued a VIC. While not required to receive VA health care, all enrolled Veterans are encouraged to get a VHIC.
Enrolled Veterans can get more information about the VHIC by visiting their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator or the website www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.