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THE VETERANS' PRESS: Do you know which VA ID card is right for you?

by DARREL MADDUX/Veterans Help Net Correspondent and American Legion Historian
| October 19, 2021 1:00 AM

Here are the facts:

VETERAN ID CARD (VIC): The basic ID card used to identify you as a veteran and to obtain discounts at various businesses. It can not be used to obtain VA healthcare. Visit www.va.gov/records/get-veteran-id-cards/vic/. You will need to upload your DD214, a copy of your driver’s license or state ID card, and a jpg type photo of yourself.

NON-SERVICE-CONNECTED VETERANS HEALTH IDENTIFICATION CARD (VHIC): This card is for veterans who were not injured or had a serious illness while on active duty but can meet certain low-income eligibility standards. The qualifying dollar amounts will vary according to the community where you live and must be calculated by the VA. Many Veterans are eligible but never take the time to apply. You use your card for medical purposes at the VA, to show your Veteran status and to receive discounts at various businesses. You obtain this card at your local VA Medical Center.

SERVICE-CONNECTED VETERANS HEALTH IDENTIFICATION CARD (VHIC): This card is for veterans who were injured or had a serious illness while on active duty. VA Disability Ratings range from 0% to 100%. Also eligible are those Veterans who received a purple heart, have POW status or are a Medal of Honor recipient. You use your card for medical purposes at the VA, to show your Veteran status and to receive discounts at various businesses. You also have access to Department of Defense (Air Force Base/Army Post/Naval Base/Marine Corps) and Coast Guard commissaries, exchanges and MWR (morale, welfare and recreation retail services). Your VHIC card will identify your specific eligibilities and those will be printed on your card. You obtain this card at your local VA Medical Center.

100% PERMANENTLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED SERVICE-CONNECTED CARD: This is a separate type of ID card that can be obtained from a local military installation. Spouses of these Veterans are also eligible for this ID card and can shop at commissaries, exchanges and use MWR (morale, welfare and recreation retail services) without the Veteran present. The spouse can continue to use the card if the Veteran passes away.

Here is a Team to help you

The Eligibility & Enrollment Team on the 7th floor of Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center is where you go to sign up for your VHIC and to learn about all the benefits available to Veterans. Tray Traylor, Ronnie Dietrick, Reid Bryan and Heather Groom are well trained to walk you through the process and get you enrolled. Many veterans have struggled to qualify for benefits until this team went to work and completed the paperwork. Tray explains that many Veterans fail to bring all their required paperwork for an interview and that a few veterans have more than one DD214. Some Veterans have been denied on one DD214 and then get approved when they produce the second DD214. The team, quite often, must search for information not available from the veteran and his/her paperwork. Many veterans become frustrated with the process, but this team takes the time to find solutions and they get results.

Bennett “Tray” Traylor: Is a retired Air Force veteran and a Vietnam veteran who has been working at the VA for 20 years. He says he does his very best to advocate for our Veterans in the Spokane VA. He wants to make sure all veterans get the healthcare they deserve. Tray has a can-do-will-do attitude to make it happen.

Ronnie Dietrick: She grew up in Kodiak, Alaska as an Army brat and met and married her husband in Kodiak. He was in the military and years after his discharge they found out how difficult it was to navigate the VA. She gave up 10 years of health care work in the private sector and joined the VA to help veterans like her husband. At the VA, she has worked in the Office of Community Care and Veteran Eligibility while pursuing a Bachelor of Psychology degree from WSU. She hopes to become a counselor someday but right now is blessed to make a difference in peoples lives.

Reid Bryan: Is married with two children and two step-children. He started with the VA as a volunteer in 2019 and was hired full time on July 5, 2020. His prior work experience was in the manufacturing field. Reid calls himself a true Washingtonian who is an avid Mariner and Seahawks fan and likes to play golf. He is very excited to help Veterans receive the care they deserve.

Heather Groom: She has lived in Spokane all her life and is retired from the Washington Army National Guard after 20 years. Heather was stationed in Ephrata with the 1161st Transportation Company and at Fairchild AFB with C 1-112 Aviation Unit. She was deployed to Iraq twice. Her employment at the VA has included 1 year and 3 months at Community Care and 9 months on the Eligibility & Enrollment Team.

You can also find help from your local resources found in “Resource Directory” section of this publication.

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