LINCOLN, NEB. — Nebraska veterans now have the option to display their status on driver’s licenses and state identification cards.
The state began allowing the veteran designation on July 1.
The new cards could make it easier for veterans to show that they qualify for special offers and discounts at stores and restaurants. It also could help law enforcement identify those who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or other combat-related ailments.
Veterans who want the designation must register with the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs and request the designation when renewing or applying for a duplicate identification card at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs has about 4,000 names it its registry so far, and officials are adding 90 to 100 per day, said director John Hilgert. The department estimates that about 138,000 veterans live in Nebraska. Hilgert, who also heads Nebraska’s veterans’ homes division, said the registry is updated daily and shared with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“It’s going to have a positive impact and will make it easier for veterans to self-identify,” he said.
The registry could also help state officials reach out to veterans about federally recognized presumptive medical conditions, which in turn could help them qualify for additional government benefits, Hilgert said. The registration process requires veterans to submit proof of their service, either through a DD-214 form or other discharge papers.
Hilgert said the department has worked to advertise the program through American Legion halls and other service groups.
Nebraska veterans’ groups are also trying to spread word about the new notation, said Greg Holloway, who represents the Disabled Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America.
“It helps you get that 5 or 10 percent discount, which does add up over time,” said Holloway, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam. “It’s up to you (whether to participate), but I don’t think it’s such a bad idea.”