Veterans ID cards for former UK Armed Forces' service leavers are expected to be made available by the end of 2019 – but what is known so far about how to apply and the requirements for an application?
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced last year that the new Veterans ID cards would be issued to service leavers - that process has now started.
Cards will also be available to other veterans towards the end of 2019 – however, an exact date has yet to be confirmed by the MoD.
What is the Veterans ID for?
Until plans for the Veterans ID card were made, there was no way for veterans to easily prove the fact that they had served. Previously, personnel were required to hand back their ID card (MoD 90) upon being discharged.
The new Veteran ID card is to have two functions: to provide a memento of service, to maintain a tangible link to the Armed Forces, and to allow Veterans to easily verify their service to the NHS, their local authority, and charities, enabling them to access support and services where needed.
How will it be phased in?
Delivery of the new UK Veteran ID Card will be rolled out in two tranches:
Phase 1: The Veterans ID Card has already been provided to all Service Leavers as part of the discharge process with effect from 18th February 2019, and retrospectively to those who left on or after 17 December 2018.
Phase 2: Applications from the wider Veteran Community will be encouraged once the process has been agreed.
Can older veterans apply?
The application process has yet to be agreed and will be made available by the end of 2019. However, veterans who have already left the Armed Forces can register for the Defence Discount Service card, if they have haven’t already.
While the Veteran ID card will act as proof of service and Veteran status, the Defence Discount card is recognised online and in high street shops to obtain Armed Forces discounts on a wide range of offers from things such as holidays, cars, days out, fashion, gifts, insurance, phones and many other items.
The website is free to sign up to and to use the online discounts.
To get your card, you can apply for it here and also find the list of companies which accept the discount card.
From this year personnel leaving the Armed Forces are also able to keep their military ID card, known as the 'MoD Form 90', in the hope that it will allow them to maintain their emotional connection with their service.
Corners of their MoD form 90 will be cut off to indicate the card is no longer valid - although this has raised some concern about maintaining security at bases and other secure locations.
Anyone interested in advice or details regarding the Veterans ID card should contact Veterans UK, which is a 24-hour service that directs ex-forces personnel to a range of support available to them.
Services include housing and financial advice and career guidance.
Top picture: Veterans ID card. MoD Copyright.