Article by Julian Perreira (Forces News) 22nd December 2023
Thousands of Armed Forces veterans are able to apply for an ID card, with a new option to apply online.
Veteran ID cards are set to be officially launched in January 2024 with a new digital application service to verify the status of former Armed Forces personnel.
Former personnel who left the Armed Forces prior to December 2018 can then verify their veteran status online and receive a Veteran Card in the post.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) says it is delivering the service, together with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, as part of ongoing improvements to veteran support. Veteran ID Cards will officially launch along with online application system in January. Until the Veteran ID card was created, there was no uniformed way for veterans to easily prove they had been in the Armed Forces, to ensure easier access to veteran services. Previously, ex service personnel had been required to hand back their ID card, known as a MOD 90, when they were discharged.
What is the Veteran ID card?
The new Veteran ID card provides a memento of service and maintains a tangible link to the Armed Forces, while also allowing veterans to easily verify their service to the NHS, their local authority and charities, enabling them to access support and services where needed.
Army veteran David Cussell said of the new card: “It gives us an identity. We should be able to use it to get on camps when we go for reunions and save money. It shows we are part of a big family. No matter what service you were in, we’re all veterans together.”
How is it being phased in?
Delivery of the new UK Veteran ID card has been rolled out in two phases:
Phase 1: The Veteran ID card had already been provided to all service leavers as part of the discharge process with effect from 18 February 2019, and retrospectively to those who left on or after 17 December 2018.
Phase 2: The scheme has been extended to the wider veteran community.
The Government’s rollout of the ID cards has faced criticism.
In November 2022, Labour said it could take 125 years for all those entitled to the cards to receive one based on the then-current speed of the rollout. However, the Government played these claims down and reassured veterans that the rollout was “accelerating”.
What is the application process and what are the other benefits?
Veterans can apply for their cards by emailing email@example.com, including your name, year of birth, and year they left service. They will then receive an email invitation to apply for their card.
The MOD added that further details on the digital application process will be made available soon.
A paper-based application process will also be made available for veterans who are unable to use the online service.
Earlier this year, the OVA and Ministry of Defence announced the progress it had made in a new digital verification service.
It said it will include:
- Online applications via GOV.UK
- Identity checks using GOV.UK’s new One Login service
- Automated service checking to confirm veteran status for most applications using MOD service records databases.
- Increasing MOD’s secure card printing capacity to deal with the expected applications using a new high-capacity card printing machine
- As of July 2023, 71,000 Veteran ID cards had been issued.
Veterans will be able to use their ID card to apply for the Defence Discount Service card and the Veterans Railcard.
Defence Discount Service While the Veteran ID card will act as proof of service and veteran status, the Defence Discount Service card is recognised online and in high street shops to obtain Armed Forces discounts on a wide range of things such as holidays, cars, days out, fashion, gifts, insurance and phones.
It is free to sign up to the website and use the online discounts.
To get your card, you can apply for the Defence Discount Service Card here and also find the list of companies that accept the discount card.
The new Veteran ID cards will make it easier for people to apply for the Defence Discount Service card.
From 2019, personnel leaving the Armed Forces are also able to keep their MOD 90 in the hope that it would allow them to maintain their emotional connection with their service. Corners of their MOD 90 are cut off to indicate the card is no longer valid – although this has raised some concerns about maintaining security at bases and other secure locations.
Anyone interested in advice or details regarding the Veteran ID card can contact the Veteran Welfare Service NI to help them apply.
Veteran Welfare Service (Northern Ireland) Tel: 02890 420145 Email: DBSAFVS-VWS-NI@mod.gov.uk