Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011
Macomb County poised to issue ID card for veterans
By Linda May
Macomb Daily Staff Writer
Many businesses honor veterans and those currently serving in the military with discounts on goods, services and dining. Offerings can range from free meals at restaurants chosen from a limited menu, percentage discounts or “buy one, get one.”
But most businesses require some proof of military service such as a Department of Veterans Affairs Universal Access Card, which is used for medical services at VA facilities, an armed services military ID or a DD-214 form, which is a vet’s discharge paper.
Many counties around the country issue a veteran’s ID card and, pending final approval by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, it will soon happen in Macomb County.
The board’s Justice and Public Safety Committee unanimously gave its approved Tuesday and the full board is scheduled to vote on the issue Oct. 20.
Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh said there have been all positive responses to the cards on the county level and she expects approval by the full board.
Veterans would then be able to get an ID card for $10 from the Macomb County Clerk’s Office that confirms veteran status.
Fred Humig of Washington Township, who first proposed the idea to Sabaugh, was a military police sergeant who served in Korea and in the U.S. from 1966-68. He said he “got tired” of carrying around his DD-214, which is usually on a letter-size sheet of paper and contains personal information, like a veteran’s Social Security number.
“Many counties in the U.S. are giving out picture identification cards,” Humig said. “Counties have been initiating these programs to thank vets for their time in the armed forces.”
Humig said Michigan’s Charlevoix and Emmett counties issue ID cards to vets.
“I got an appointment to meet with Carmella Sabaugh and made a presentation for my case to have the clerk’s office help vets by the issuance of ID cards,” he said. “She really liked my idea, especially since they just purchased a new photo ID maker for concealed weapons permits. This new machine could be used for other types of identification. My only request to the county is that I get the first card, if possible. The prototype looks similar to the example from another state that I provided to them.”
Sabaugh said the design of the card is still being decided, paper will be ordered, and the first cards will be issued on or around Veterans Day which is Nov. 11. Veterans need to present a photo ID such as a driver’s license, and proof of military service, such as a DD-214, in order to apply for the card.
Though not many businesses advertise it, they give regular discounts of 10 percent or more to veterans. Vets should ask whether discounts, even giveaways, are available.
Merchants require proof that a person is a military veteran. Sometimes they accept a membership card in a veterans service organization such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Fast-food restaurants, pizza places, sit-down dining establishments, steakhouses and ice cream stores often participate. Stores that sell clothing, shoes, accessories, beauty supplies, vitamins and even pet products may offer discounts. Several cellphone companies and computer and electronics stores will deal with veterans as do major auto manufacturers, auto parts stores and repair shops. Travelers should check with car rental places, limo services, movie theaters, hotels, resorts and theme parks and museums.
Availability varies widely by store, and may be offered only in certain states, and can be discontinued at any time without notice. Humig said some Michigan casinos offer meals and deals to vets.
There are good reasons for filing a DD-214, which is a free service, with the county office.
“Veterans are not required to file their 214s with the county clerk,” said Kermit E. Harris, director of the Macomb County Veterans Services Department. “It is strictly voluntary. However, when they do, the document becomes part of the county records and is always available in case the veteran or his or her survivors need a copy to prove service or veteran status. When the veteran needs a copy of a 214 to file a claim with the VA and can’t find one, they can then go to the clerk’s office and get it.”
Harris said that if a spouse needs a copy for a funeral director to prove the veteran’s status or get an American flag for a coffin, it is readily available.
“I filed mine with my county clerk’s office when I got out (of the service) and have had to get copies twice,” Harris said. “I advise vets to put a copy on file.”
U.S. Representative Candice Miller announced Tuesday her support for the Veteran’s ID Card Act.
“As a former Secretary of State, I appreciate the importance of providing access to a secure ID card. For those men and women who have served our nation in times of peace and in times of war, the current option available for all veterans is to carry a paper identification form called a DD-214. This does not properly protect their personal information and is not a sufficient option for many of our veterans,” Miller said.