Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today joined military veterans, local business leaders and state officials to promote the Connecticut Veterans’ ID program, a joint initiative between the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) that gives veterans an option to place an American flag symbol on a state-issued license or identity card to designate his or her veteran’s status. The insignia is designed to help businesses and service providers establish eligibility for various discounts, programs, and services available to veterans.
“We created this program to improve the delivery of services and benefits to the brave men and women who have selflessly served our nation. We want to ensure that the verification of their veterans’ status is as simple as a check of their driver’s license,” Malloy said. “Although this program has been in effect for over a year now – and uses the same process to verify a veteran’s status as would be required if he or she applied for a federal veterans’ ID card – some businesses in Connecticut have been slow to embrace this initiative. We are here today because we want that to change and raise awareness of this program so our veterans receive the recognition and considerations they deserve.”
In 2011, Governor Malloy signed legislation that requires the DMV commissioner to include a person’s status as a veteran, if applicable, on his or her state driver’s license or identity card. The person must submit a request to have this status included to the DVA, which then must verify the status no later than 30 days after receiving the request.
Once DVA verifies that the requestor is a veteran through a DD Form 214 Discharge Papers and Separation Documents, DVA will electronically notify the DMV commissioner of the person’s request and its verification prior to the driver’s license or ID card being issued.
“So many of our veterans face enormous economic challenges when it comes to readjusting to civilian life, and this is a small but important part of our effort to make that transition as easy as possible,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “I commend the businesses that are now honoring this program and urge all others to please consider doing so as a tribute to the sacrifices that these men and women made for our state and our nation.”
“We’re proud to be able to offer veterans this convenient option to prove their status,” said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey. “In doing so, there’s no need for veterans to carry important military documents like a DD-214 and risk losing them.”
“Connecticut was one of the first states in the union to adopt veterans’ identification on a driver’s license. This form of identification has been accepted by businesses and agencies across the nation with great success,” said DVA Commissioner Linda Schwartz. “The process that we have adopted for the State of Connecticut authenticates every veteran’s status in accordance with federal law for each applicant.”
Last January, DMV and AAA offices began issuing driver’s licenses and ID cards that included the symbol of an American flag to identify veteran status. Businesses that offer discounts and other services for veterans should rely on the flag symbol on drivers’ licenses and ID cards as sufficient identification for veteran status. The program also extends a free lifetime pass for state parks, forests, and recreational facilities to any resident who is a disabled wartime veteran, as defined under state or federal law.
“It should be universally recognized throughout the state that someone is a veteran and it alone should bring the recognition and be the proof for any discounts businesses offer to all veterans because they served their country and put their lives on the line,” said George Hapkiewicz, a Navy veteran from East Hartford.
Sam Zureiqi, a franchise owner for Denny’s restaurants in West Haven, Danbury and Middletown, said it is important that all businesses recognize this flag and all veterans because of their service.
In order to obtain a veterans’ ID, veterans must submit to the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs a completed application and proof of honorable discharge, such as a DD-214, at least 30 days prior to visiting a DMV or AAA office. The application can be downloaded online by clicking the “Application for Veteran’s Flag” link on the DVA’s website at www.ct.gov/ctva.
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 also 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 Street
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
For more information on DMV services and office locations, please visit www.ct.gov/dmv.