As you may know, applications for the new Veterans’ ID Card are now open, with the Office for Veterans Affairs (OVA) releasing this video statement:
Every 3.6 seconds today someone has applied for a Veteran’s ID card 🤯— Rt Hon Johnny Mercer (@JohnnyMercerUK) January 28, 2024
It’s been a tough ride getting there. But veterans do matter in this country. There’s a lot of them, and I hope their lives are beginning to get better. pic.twitter.com/t3zSRnsAAI
We know that service changes can often be confusing and time consuming to navigate in any context. So, VOS is here to help our registered service users with any questions, with completing application forms, or with advice if you simply aren’t sure where to start.
Read on to find out more about the new ID Cards and their benefits, how to apply and how VOS may be able to help you.
**(If you’re reading this and not a registered VOS service user, please contact local veterans’ charities for help.)
What is the new Veterans’ ID Card?
The card is part of a new digital service for veterans. It allows Service leavers who left the Armed Forces before December 2018 to confirm their veteran status and receive a Veteran Card by post. It follows a long-standing request from veterans to have some way of proving their veteran status, bringing with it a strong sense of identity for many and a practical tool to access support and services.
People who have left active service since 2019 should have received an HM Armed Forces Veteran Card upon exit. If you want a card but left the service before then, you’ll need to apply for one.
Veteran Cards are important to Service leavers for two reasons: they allow veterans to easily access public and charitable support, and they’re an official recognition of each veterans’ time serving in the Armed Forces.
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Benefits of your Veterans’ ID Card
Veteran Cards can allow you to obtain a Veterans’ railcard (giving you up to 33% off most rail travel in the UK), access certain offers during special events (e.g. free public transport on military holidays) and more. Further practical benefits include:
- Access to employment programmes like Great Place to Work, Going Forward into Employment, Advance into Justice and Step into Health.
- National Insurance Relief for your employer in your first job after service for up to 12 months.
- Access housing support and information from the Op FORTITUDE team.
- Support from criminal justice bodies including the Police, Probation Service and the Prison Service as part of Op NOVA
- Prompt access to support from veterans’ charities, like VOS, by confirming your veteran status.
**You can still access many resources without needing this Veterans ID card, so don’t worry if you’ve not got yours yet! VOS and its partners provide a wide range of support and access to service users with and without these cards, but it makes sense to get yours for access to other benefits in the future.
How to Use Your New Veterans’ ID Card
Your new Veterans’ ID Card will provide formal verification to organisations, showing them that you’re eligible for services specifically created for veterans and their families.
Of course, there are other ways to prove that you’re a veteran, but the new ID Card can make things simpler.
How VOS Can Help
We’re here to help veterans and their spouses, partners and carers in Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Gosport, Fareham and the Solent area to complete the application for your new Veterans’ ID Card via assisted drop-in sessions.
Wendy (VOS staff) will be on hand with a laptop and will also be able to take photos for your new card. You’ll need to bring some form of ID (preferably a passport or drivers’ licence) and your service record. These drop-ins will be a great place to get help and enjoy a cuppa.
Get help at a VOS Drop-In:
- Portsmouth: 7th February, 1400-1700, at the Royal Maritime Hotel in the Social Lounge
- Isle of Wight: 21st February, 1200-1600, at the Riverside Centre
- Tea & Stickies afternoons (Tuesdays 13:30-15:30 at Beckett Hall, St Thomas’ St, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HA), and
- The VOS social group in Stubbington, (Thursdays 13:30-15:30 at The Crofton Club, 31 Titchfield Rd, Fareham PO14 2JH).
You can also access support at future upcoming Drop-Ins/mini Drop-Ins including Gosport on 28th February, Portsmouth on 6th March and IOW on 20th March. Please visit our site for more info about VOS Drop-Ins.
The new Veterans’ ID Cards will make accessing the services and benefits you need and deserve easy. Rest assured, we’re here to make the application process as smooth as possible.
Email the VOS office on email@example.com or call us on 02392 731 767 to have a chat about the different ways we’re helping veterans in our region. For veterans outside these areas, our partner organisations may be able to assist you directly or point you in the direction of help.
If you’re a local veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner/carer to one, and you find yourself struggling with your mental health or welfare, you are more than welcome to reach out to us for support. VOS is immensely grateful for the support and funding we receive from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity.