VA Fixes Problem: Veteran ID Card Now Available to USPHS and NOAA Corps

VA Fixes Problem: Veteran ID Card Now Available to USPHS and NOAA Corps

Two services left out of the Veteran ID Card Program are now added. Public Health Service and NOAA Corps veterans can apply for the new Veteran ID Card from the Department of Veterans Affairs after a previous error that omitted them from eligibility. This ID Card allows honorably discharged veterans, regardless of when they served, to prove their veteran status if they do not have VA benefits or a retired military ID.

The Commissioned Officers Association of the USPHS (COAUSPHS) learned a few months ago that USPHS and NOAA Corps were not listed as an option to apply for the new Veteran ID Card.

COAUSPHS, like MOAA, is part of The Military Coalition and advocates for the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and its officers. Upon learning that USPHS vets were not given the opportunity to apply for the card, COA members were outraged and the organization immediately contacted the VA, said retired Army Col. Jim Currie, executive director of COAUSPHS and a MOAA Life Member.

With several weeks of no follow-up, COAUSPHS decided to contact who brought the issue to light. COA also spoke to staff members on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

“We are pleased that it worked out for our officers. What happened here, we believe, is what often happens: the USPHS and NOAA are small and little-known uniformed services, and they are often forgotten when programs are created for the seven federal uniformed services,” Currie said. “We ascribe no malevolence to these omissions, as we believe almost all of them originate in a lack of knowledge of the two omitted services.” 

Katie Lathrop is the Digital Content Specialist at MOAA and the daughter of a currently serving Army Officer. Follow her on twitter @Katie.F.Lathrop.