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 program being unveiled today.
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 set to be unveiled at a news conference this morning in Santa Clara, Herrera said.
The card system will be launched officially on Thursday.
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 stateDepartment of Veterans Affairs, Herrera said.