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Buchanan's Bill to Replace DD-214 With Veterans ID Card Passes Senate Without Opposition

June 23, 2015 - 10:45am
Vern Buchanan
Vern Buchanan

On Monday, the U.S. Senate amended and passed with unanimous consent  a bill from a Florida congressman which ensures every veteran receives an ID card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs without burdening taxpayers. The House passed the bill last month with 402 representatives backing it and no votes cast against it.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., introduced the Veterans ID Card Act earlier this year. Buchanan’s bill would ensure all veterans receive ID cards from the VA instead of just those who served 20 years in the armed forces or are seeking medical treatment for service-related wounds. 

In pushing his bill in recent months, Buchanan has noted veterans are forced to carry DD-214 paperwork, which contains sensitive information including Social Security numbers, and an ID card would be more convenient and would do a better job of keeping their personal information secure.

“A simple, standardized ID card will make life easier for our veterans and serve as a reminder that our brave service men and women deserve all the respect a grateful nation can offer," Buchanan said on Tuesday. 

Buchanan insisted his bill was budget neutral since veterans who opted for the ID card would have a small fee which the VA secretary would examine every five years.

In the Senate, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., offered an amendment to Buchanan’s bill ensuring all veterans would be elegible for the ID card, sending the bill back to the House. Buchanan’s office expects the bill to sail through the House once again and be signed into law by President Barack Obama. 

Congressional co-sponsors of the bill included U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the committee. Other congressional representatives from Florida who co-sponsored the bill include Republican U.S. Reps. Ander Crenshaw, Ron DeSantis, Mario Diaz-Balart, David Jolly, Bill Posey, Dennis Ross and Ted Yoho, and Democratic U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings. The bill has also won the backing of veterans groups including AMVETS and Veterans for Common Sense (VCS).

Anthony Hardie, the director of VCS, praised the bill on Tuesday. 

“Veterans who have honorably served their country deserve to have a simple, straightforward way to prove their veteran status,” Hardie said. “Veterans for Common Sense supports sensible legislation like Rep. Buchanan's Veterans ID Card Act.”


Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN


How do you apply for a card?

My friend a , WWII vet (was a quartermaster on a assault craft , D Day the 6th of June 1944 at Omaha beach) Tried to get a ID card ( he has no service connected disability) from the VA - local OPC- He had his DD214 and Honorable discharge papers with him.. -He was sand bagged by the clerks there-- He finally gave up - --There was no sympathy , no understanding, just a very COLD atmosphere, which was not Veteran friendly- The clerk's seemed disinterested in their jobs- No bill in Congress is going to change that situation--AND it will cost the VA a lot of $$ to implement any change -- It is a disappointing situation for veterans' who go to VA OPC clinics to get rudimentary care and are NOT serviced----The percentage of dissatisfaction can not be tallied - because , most veteran's are not vocal about their VA benefits or lack of VA benefits -- BUT , if you hang around a VA OPC , the obvious lack of attention to the job at hand is extraordinarily there in plain sight ---

When first enlisted in the Navy in 1950 we were given a service number that didn't come close to our ssn and I still remember mine.

Please walk us through the process of getting one of these cards. Thank you.

My Service ID # is indelibly imprinted on my mind. What else do you need?

I have NOT read all the comments. I have a retired military ID card that has a 10 digit number assigned to it in place of the SSAN. However, wherever I go within the military system they always ask for the SSAN, "Say What". The article states that between the Senate (Blumenthal) and the House (Buchanan) they keep tossing the stuff back-and-forth for amendments, etc. It is no wonder that nothing ever gets done in "Congress", the direct opposite of "Progress" because of all the dilly-dallying and changing a word here and a letter there. Despite what someone had said about common sense - all I can say is that there is NO COMMON SENSE in either of the Houses of, again, CONGRESS. Remember PRO is for and CON is against.

About time! I had been carrying copies of my DD-214 in my car glove box along with a copy of my military discharge to use for retail discounts on purchases. I readily found that not all would accept a DD-214 as the person(s) didn't understand that it was an official document and wanted to see an actual frame-able discharge document which doesn't make much sense to me other than being prettier than the DD-214. I attempted to reduce my DD-214 and discharge papers to wallet size and laminate but then the printing was too small and some retailers balked at honoring the discount as they could not read the very small print. I also agree with ray v that as a former service member with an id card you should be able to shop in any px or bx. Do former congressional members benefits continue after they leave office? And, finally let's hear it for LOWE's who recognize all military veterans past and present for a 10% discount. Some competitors do not consider veterans of past conflicts like WWII, Korea and Vietnam eligible for discounts.

We should not be charged for the card. Like in the VA system if you are 30% or more disabled there should be no charge for this card. The o% through 20% should bear that brunt. And allowing Exchange access (50% and higher) would be a good thing.

I read this article several ties and it just doesn't make a whole lot sense. First of all your DD Fm 214 if you request it a copy of your 214 is forwarded to the VA at time of discharge. If for any reason your 214 is not on file at the VA, you only have to show your 214 one time and it is scanned and record into your VA file. The VA already issues a ID card which is used in several ways with the VA system. Plus the VA has direct access to our records within minutes. So what's the big deal here?

So how does this help people who served in the reserves fpr 6-8 years and don't have the DD214 but have different document? A person who served in the reserves get no benefits yet they gave for this country.

It's hilarious that Dick Blumenthal, D-Con., offered an amendment to Buchanan’s bill ensuring all veterans would be elegible for the ID card, sayings how he lied about his military service (but got elected anyway). I guess people in Connecticut don't give a sh*t about people lying about their service...

Which Corporation will have access to our information..please let me invest a few dollars so i can cash in on this deal!!

It's about time, but some dip on the hill will screw this up because they wont benefit from this.

ID Card, for what? The VA is completely political and way under funded. Here is a fact, explain this, I never used my VA medical because I had commercial insurance. I found out I had cancer and more then likely it was service connected so I went to the VA. I had three campaigns during Vietnam with two bronze stars on my DD 214. I am also retired Air Force. I was turned down by the VA because I made to much money. Basicly they thanked me for my service and showed me the door... No one asked me if I had enough money when I was making $78.00 a month, plus $55.00 for combat pay... You can trust the VA if you want to, it is all bull as far as I'm concerned... By the way my primary care doctor was with the VA and quite because of political bull. They need to fix the Va system before worrying about ID cards...

Hey buddy, i hear every eord you are saying. I've have been trying to get signed up for 20 yrs. As bad as I hate to say this, but the VA is the biggest joke in our country, except for All the non-deserving on the hill. Hange in there brother.

My only concern with the proposed bill is the impact on service organizations like the VVA and VFW being able to verify combat-related service, since that is the prime requisite for membership in those organizations.

Buchanan sure wants to be President of the USA some day!

ETS'd, not Retired. Will a new Vet ID give me access to Post/Base Exchanges, Commissaries, etc?

This is nothing new. I have had one for over 30 years and I never served no 20 years, it was just under 3 years. It appears now they will have to send off for their DD-214 and wait for it to arrive before filing a claim. The DD-214 is used to verify service connected claims. A card won't verify that.

So how do we get the card?

When I enlisted in the 1967, we were told that if we spent 20 years serving, and retired we could get free medical care for the rest of our life, access to all military bases to us PX and Exchange facilities and receive a portion of our basic pay. Simple contract we serve and receive in return. We gave up control of our lives to the demands of the military at minimum pay. It was a bag of sand, we served and they cut a whole in the bag. By closing military bases our guaranteed access disappeared to use what was promised. Military retired pay upgrades are always tied to something other than a stand along military pay bill and often never gets approved because what it is included in, thus leaving congress with a clear conscience, and let us not forget that when Congress turned all the Exchange facilities from military positions to civilian and required the exchanges to be profit making to pay for these civilian jobs, thus any savings from low prices we were getting disappeared. I for one don't not like the idea of a magnetic strip on a card that can be stolen by anyone with the technology to steal my identity. And to have to pay for such a privilege, and that is what they can call it, is morally wrong. That money could easily be found by removing the retirement programs that congress receives, full salary and medical for life after serving only one term, they should be in Social Security, likewise they should be required to travel in coach like we have to do when being transferred or catch a jump seat in a transport plane. Just look at how Nancy Pelosi travels, private military plane, top shelf booze and food and treats the military personnel like crap. The money she spends yearly would more then pay for the id cards, just another source for funding that always escapes the budget axe. If they issue an idea card, I agree they need to return to a unique id number like our old Service Number which I still remember after all these years, the Idea should also include a current photo and have the same protection as driver license are afforded. I try to use the local VA facility but it is extremely lacking in Doctors and services, especially prescription services which I have to call into San Francisco and it takes up to two weeks to receive. If you need something special you have to ride a 7 hour coach ride south and with no radio or TV on board, they had them but some jackass in San Francisco will not let the drivers use them. Not all of us have access to personal digital entertainment, most of which will not work due to the remoteness of the road. We use to have a private contractor for VA services but the doctors running the facility wanted to retire, we received super service there. So the VA built a new facility with all sorts of promises as to the service's that would be offered, most of which never developed. Even now it takes weeks to get an appointment to see someone at the new clinic. One day I was at the new clinic and gave up my follow-up appointment for another veteran who was having serious issues, I don't know what it was but his wife gave me a hug and was in tears. On that day there was only one nurse practitioner available so I rescheduled which was a month later for the next appointment. This area has a huge number of veterans and retired vets going back to WWI.

Sorry for misspelled word I didn't read proof frist before submmiting. My bad!

DD-214-4 peovides information dor discharge, like I read previously some merit to recieve an ID card due to the nature of discharge. On the other hand some discharges unfortunatey do notqualify because the discharge was dishonorable and are not entitle to recieve benefits. There are various type of discharge; 1. Honorable Discharge means that your performance was good to excellent. Usually retirement personnel or medical by disability are entitle to this type of discharge. 2. Generable discharge means, General discharges are given to service members whose performance is satisfactory but is marked by a considerable departure in duty performance and conduct expected of military members. Reasons for such a characterization of service vary, from medical discharges to misconduct, and are utilized by the unit commander as a means to correct unacceptable behavior prior to initiating discharge action (unless the reason is drug abuse, in which case discharge is mandatory. A general discharge may preclude a veteran's participation in the GI Bill, service on veterans' commissions, and other programs for which an honorable discharge is required, but is eligible for VA disability and most other benefits. 3. Other than honorable means An OTH is a form of administrative discharge. This type of discharge represents a departure from the conduct and performance expected of all military members. It can also be given as the result of certain civil hearings. This also means that they are bared for reenlistment. They are eligible for VA and Other Than Honorable recipients are eligible for Montgomery GI Bill benefits if they have completed at least one honorable discharge, but are not excluded from all Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits. 4. Bad Conduct Discharge, A Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD) can only be given by a court-martial (either Special or General) as punishment to an enlisted service-member. Bad conduct discharges are often preceded by a period of confinement in a military prison. The discharge itself is not executed until completion of both confinement and the appellate review process. Virtually all veterans' benefits are forfeited by a Bad Conduct Discharge; BCD recipients are not eligible for VA disability compensation in accordance with 38 CFR 3.12. 5. Dishonarable discharge, A dishonorable discharge (DD) can only be handed down to an enlisted member by a general court-martial. Dishonorable discharges are handed down for what the military considers the most reprehensible conduct. This type of discharge may be rendered only by conviction at a general court-martial for serious offenses (e.g., desertion, sexual assault, murder, etc.) that call for dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence. With this characterization of service, all veterans' benefits are lost, regardless of any past honorable service, and this type of discharge is regarded as shameful in the military. In many states a dishonorable discharge is deemed the equivalent of a felony conviction, with attendant loss of civil rights.[14] Additionally, US federal law prohibits ownership of firearms by those who have been dishonorably discharged[15] per the Gun Control Act of 1968. So all discharge are explain and some can retain thier benefits, others have to forfeit thier benefits. So it is somewhat fallacious to say that every service member can get an ID.

With just this card how can you prove you qualify for the VFW or the American Legion. Does everyone gonna need a machine to read what is on the card?

The state of North Carolina has recently implemented a VETERAN status on their state drivers licenses last year. Any veteran can bring a copy of their DD-214 to the NCDMV office to show proof to the state examiner who will verify the document after which a new Drivers License will be made and sent to you. The new card will have a notation printed on it in bold blue lettering VETERAN. They charge $10 for this. here's more about it.

I see it got amended in the Senate, kicked back down to the house to vote on the amendment. Has to be two similar bills to reach the President. Hope it doesn't stall in the House. The amendment seemed to rid of the "Honorable" criteria and just changed it by deleting that part of the bill to just. A. Those requesting the ID card. B. Must have a DD-214 on file stating service. C. Pay the required fee for the ID card. So it doesn't matter if you have bad or good paper on your DD-214. (Which kind of makes sense because this ID card is not tied in to any benefits. It's just a veteran ID card.)

I have had a Veterans ID Card for more than 13 Years now. The fact that South Carolina and Florida will not recognize a card generated by New York State is another issue. He should work to improve the care of the Vereran, Not get hime another form of ID

This would be a national ID and would be recognized by all states.

BINGO! ABSOLUTELY. And good for voting too and who knows what else. Maybe open up doors for other benefits, by retailers and employers.

I have had a Veterans ID Card for more than 13 Years now. The fact that South Carolina and Florida will not recognize a card generated by New York State is another issue. He should work to improve the care of the Vereran, Not get hime another form of ID


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