• Rep Buchanan Introduces Bill To Give All Veterans ID Through The VA

    Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida introduced new legislation to give all veterans a standardized form of federal ID to cut down on identity theft when proving military service.

    The reason why identity theft is such a pressing concern is that veterans who don’t have federally issued ID are forced to prove status with the DD-214 document. However, the document contains sensitive information like social security numbers, which puts veterans at risk.

    Previously, ID through the Department of Veterans Affairs has only been available to a select few, who have either served a minimum of 20 years, or have received medical care for a service-related disability. This means that large swathes of veterans often have a difficult time proving they’ve served in the military. As a result, veterans are often unable to take advantage of discounts and promotions offered by businesses, among other concerns.

    Buchanan’s bill, which so far seems to have attracted significant bipartisan support, aims to remedy the problem with a federal VA ID system that is budget neutral.

    “Over the years I have heard from countless veterans who have expressed frustration over their inability to prove their military service in our Armed Forces,” Buchanan said in a press release. There are more than 70,000 veterans in Buchanan’s district in Florida. “A simple, affordable, standardized ID card will make life a little bit easier for our veterans and serve as a reminder to folks that these brave men and women deserve all the care and respect a grateful nation can offer.”

    Since the legislation has been introduced, advocacy organizations like AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans for Common Sense have stepped up to the plate to add their endorsement.

    “AMVETS is especially supportive of this cost-neutral legislation because it will not only provide a much needed improvement over the current proof of military service document, the DD-214, but it will be carried out in a fiscally responsible way which will have minimal impact on the Veterans Administration which finds itself mired in the midst of massive claims backlogs and other issues,” Diane M. Zumatto, national legislative director for AMVETS, said in a statement.

    At a time when the Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling to find the funds to complete projects, Buchanan’s project is budget neutral—that is, the fee for the card is paid by the veteran. Current estimations place the fee amount at around $2 dollars. The bill directs the VA Secretary to review the program every five years to ensure that it stays budget neutral.

    “The proposed Vets ID Card is separate from any state vets ID or driver’s licenses and would not impact those programs,” Joe Sangiorgio, press secretary for Buchanan, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It helps veterans cut through red tape and save money. Moreover, one standard federal ID card will help cut through the confusion that comes with having a patchwork of 30+ separate state IDs that may or may not be an acceptable form of ID to meet a veteran’s needs.”

    Legislators previously introduced this bill back in 2011, but it died in Congress. This time around, the bill is attracting much more support, riding off momentum created by a scandal-plagued VA.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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