Veteran status to appear on drivers' licenses for better benefit access

Darien veterans now have a simpler way to prove their veteran status through an addition to state drivers’ licenses or ID.

The symbol of an American flag will be used to denote prior service in the Armed Forces, and will provide veterans with a much more convenient way to prove their eligibility for veteran’s discounts and other services than has existed to date, according to State Sen. Carlo Leone, a Democrat who represents the southern portion of Darien and most of Stamford, and also Senate chairman of the Veterans ‘ Affairs Committee. Leone led passage of enabling legislation last year.

“Until now, proving one’s status as a veteran required display of official military discharge papers,” Leone said. “This is not only inconvenient, as the papers are not wallet-sized, but also risky and unwise, as discharge papers are official documents that should be kept in a safe location, much like a birth certificate. These new licenses and state-issued IDs solve that problem.”

Leone added, “Our veterans deserve to be recognized for their service everywhere they go, and to receive all of the benefits they have earned through their sacrifice.”

Veterans living in Connecticut may apply for new driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs immediately, which will begin to be issued on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.

At least 30 days prior to visiting a DMV or AAA office, veterans must submit to the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs a completed application and proof of honorable discharge, such as a DD-214. The Department of Veterans Affairs will verify the veteran’s military status and electronically notify DMV of the request prior to the driver’s license or ID card being issued.

Veterans should take note that the process to apply for the flag symbol is different from, and takes longer than, the process to apply for a veteran’s license plate.

The flag symbol application may be downloaded online at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website and clicking on “Application for Veteran’s Flag”. The flag symbol will be added to veteran’s license or ID card at no additional cost at renewal time or when it is first issued.

Veterans can request a flag symbol by mailing an application and additional documentation to the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs at: CT Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Attn: Veteran’s Flag on Driver License or ID Card, 287 West St., Rocky Hill, CT 06067

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