Cass County Veterans Affairs Director Mitch Holmes provided his 3rdQuarter report Wednesday, to the Board of Supervisors. Holmes said one of the most popular, yet least know services available to veterans, is the “Veteran” designation on driver’s licenses.
Sample Iowa Driver’s License with the “Veteran” designation.
He said inquires about the program has brought veterans into his office at the courthouse, where they can also learn about the benefits they are entitled to, and apply for those benefits. Holmes said a total of 48 veterans applied for the driver’s license designation over the past quarter, with one dozen persons making their first trip to the VA Office in Atlantic.
Governor Branstad signed Senate File 2112 into law on April 19, 2012, requiring the veteran designation provision of the law to be implemented by July 1, 2013. The designation on Iowa DL’s and non-operator ID’s is a voluntary initiative designed to assist Iowa veterans. The Iowa Department of Transportation implemented the law January 15th, six months ahead of schedule, to demonstrate the state’s support for its veterans.
To get the designation, an honorably discharged veteran must present a copy of their DD 214 or applicable discharge document to their county Veterans Affairs office. That office will complete an Iowa DOT form and confirm the applicant’s veteran status, which authorizes the Iowa DOT to place the designation on the individual’s DL or non-operator ID. The veteran must then take the completed form to any Iowa DL issuance location and request that the veteran designation be added to his or her DL or non-operator ID card. Veterans may expedite the process by bringing a completed application form with them to the county Veterans Affairs office, along with a copy of their DD 214. The form is available online at: https://va.iowa.gov.
Holmes said several people he saw or who contacted his office, weren’t aware a V-A Office even existed in Atlantic. He said many of the veterans he’s spoken with, especially the older ones, didn’t realize they qualify for benefits available to them. Holmes said the VA has done a good job of informing the younger soldiers currently serving in, or just coming out of the military, about their benefits. It’s the older veterans who may not be aware of what they are entitled to. They don’t have to be wounded in combat in order to receive certain benefits.
Holmes said his office helped Vets file a total of 82 claims for Federal VA Benefits last quarter, assisted a little over 200 veterans, and made more than 1,320 contacts with veterans through office and home visits, phone calls and correspondence.