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California To Offer Special Driver Licenses For Veterans

DMV/CalVet image

DMV/CalVet image

There’s some good news this Veterans Day for vets who live in California: Starting Thursday, the state will offer a special new “veteran” designation on driver licenses.

Advocates hope that will make it easier to find appropriate care for veterans who are injured or arrested.

It’s only a small addition to driver licenses: the word “veteran” next to the organ donor sticker. But to Vietnam-era Navy vet Donald Fields, it’s a quick and easy way to identify himself – without carrying his military discharge certificate, known as a DD 214, everywhere he goes.

“If you want to get some free food or whatever, benefits that they have, you need to dig in and find your DD 214, which – you know, it’s a copy that you have to find to make sure that you put in the same place all the time,“ Fields said after stopping by a news conference announcing the program on Tuesday. “So now, in the back of your wallet, you’ll have this designation and it’s just fantastic.”

The program was established under a law signed last year. Vets can take discharge certificates to their County Veteran Service Officer to get a Veteran Status Verification Form. Then, he or she can make an appointment with the DMV and take that verification form in.

It costs an extra $5 on top of other driver license fees.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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