In an effort to beef up security on veterans personal information, the Department of Veterans Affairs has come out with a new identification card to replace the Veteran Identification Card (VIC) called the Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). The VHIC is for identification and checking in at VA appointments. It cannot be used as a credit card or an insurance card, and it does not authorize or pay for care at non-VA facilities. It’s mainly exactly what it sounds like: a new identification card!
The new VHIC provides increased security for the veteran’s personal information. No personally identifiable information is contained on the magnetic stripe or barcode. This new card also serves as a salute to the veteran’s military service. The emblem of their latest branch of service is displayed on the card. Several special awards will also be listed. The VHIC replaces the VIC and will be issued only to veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system.
The VA will begin issuing the VHIC to newly enrolled veterans and enrolled veterans who were not previously issued a VIC but request an identification card starting on February 21, 2014. Beginning in April, the VA will automatically mail a VHIC to enrolled veterans who were issued the VIC. Because the VA will be reissuing more than 4 million cards, it might take some time for the veterans card to arrive. The VA has asked for patience during this time of printing cards.
Any enrolled veterans who do not have the VIC can contact their local VA medical center Enrollment Coordinator to arrange to have their picture taken for the new VHIC, or they may request a new VHIC at their next VA health care appointment. To ensure their identity, Veterans must provide either one form of primary identification or two forms of secondary identification. Primary Identification would be a state issued driver’s license, State ID, or a Passport. A Secondary Identification would be a birth certificate, social security card, marriage license, or student ID. If a Primary form of identification is not available, present two forms of Secondary identification instead. All veterans who are already enrolled should ensure the address the VA has on file is correct so the veteran can receive their VHIC in a timely manner. To update or to confirm an address with the VA, call 1-877-222-8387.
If a veteran is not currently enrolled with the VA for health care, the veteran may apply for enrollment online at www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll or by calling 1-877-222-8387. A veteran may also apply for enrollment in person at the nearest local VA medical facility. Once enrollment is verified for the veteran, their picture will be taken at the local VA medical center so that, once production begins, a VHIC will be mailed to the veteran.
The veteran should receive their BHIC within 7 to 10 days after they applied for enrollment. Although the VA strives to do all they can to ensure they enroll veterans in a timely manner, sometimes they are unable to either verify the veteran’s military service, or they just need more information from the veteran. If there are any problems with the application, as was mentioned before, the VA will contact the veteran to get the information they need. In the rare circumstance that the VA cannot get ahold of the veteran, the veteran is encouraged to contact the local VA facility where the card was requested to complete their application and find out the status of their card.
The VA wants all enrolled veterans to have a VHIC that protects their personal information. Until veterans receive the new more secure VHIC, veterans are encouraged to safeguard their old VIC, just like they would a credit card, to prevent unauthorized access to their identity information. Once the new VHIC is received, veterans should destroy their old VIC by cutting it up or shredding it. If the veteran’s VHIC ever gets lost or stolen, they should contact the VA medical facility where their picture was taken to request a new card be re-issued. The veteran may also call 1-877-222-8387. Identifying information will be asked to ensure proper identification of the caller.