The estimated 85,000 veterans of the U.S. military in Santa Clara County will be eligible to receive photo identification cards to access health care and other services via a new program launched Thursday.
The Veterans Identification Card System will provide free cards for veterans to use to file claims for medical, disability and other benefits, Santa Clara County veterans services director Richard Herrera said.
The new cards were unveiled at a news conference Wednesday morning in Santa Clara, Herrera said.
The card system will be launched officially on Thursday, June 12.
Herrera, himself a U.S. Navy veteran of the Gulf War, said the cards will show the branch of the military the holder served in, the war they fought in and whether they are suffering from a disability.
The cards will be used in place of papers, known as DD Form 214s issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, that veterans now use to verify
their status at veterans hospitals and elsewhere, Herrera said.
The new, wallet-sized ID cards will be easier to carry than the DD-214s, which are one to two pages long, Herrera said.
The ID cards issued in Santa Clara County may be used throughout the state for identification, he said.
The card system is currently being offered only in a few counties in California and has been endorsed by the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers and the state Department of Veterans Affairs, Herrera said.
To obtain an identification card:
Make an appointment with the Santa Clara County Office of Veterans Services, located at 68 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara, 95050, by calling 408-918-4980.
Bring copy of discharge papers (DD 214) showing Honorable discharge or General (Under Honorable conditions) discharge and photo I.D. such as a driver's license or military I.D.
Complete a short application form found at sccgov.org/vets, or arrive 15 minutes prior to appointment to fill it out at the office.