Ask a Service Officer: Veteran ID cards

Q: Where can I get a veteran ID card to use for discounts to restaurants and retailers?

A: Unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t issue a veteran ID card for the purpose of discounts at retailers and restaurants. The Department of Defense only issues cards to active duty, current reservists, retired personnel and their dependents. And the Department of Veterans Affairs only issues cards to veterans who are currently enrolled in the VA health-care system.

However, many states such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan have veteran ID cards that can be used to receive discounts from retailers and restaurants. Veterans can request the ID card from their local Department of Motor Vehicles. The following information is oftentimes required:

  • An honorable discharge status from the U.S. Armed Forces
  • A DD214 proving military service that displays branch of service and discharge date and status
  • A valid, unexpired driver's license

Meanwhile, the Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), issued by VA, is for identification and check-in at VA appointments. It cannot be used as a credit card or an insurance card, and it does not authorize or pay for care at non-VA facilities.

In February 2014, VA began issuing the VHIC to newly enrolled veterans and enrolled veterans who were not previously issued the old VIC but requested an identification card. As of May, VA has been mailing VHIC to six million enrolled veterans.

Enrolled veterans who do not have the old VIC may contact their local VA medical center’s enrollment coordinator to arrange to have their pictures taken for the new cards, or they may request a VHIC at their next VA health-care appointment. Veterans must provide proper identification in order to receive the new cards.