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State ID cards for vets set for 2014

SAN ANTONIO — Military veterans with disabilities who are unable to drive soon will have a new way to show proof of their service history to get discounts at stores and restaurants.

Under a 2011 state law, the Texas Department of Public Safety began issuing driver licenses with the word “Veteran” in bold red letters at the top to veterans who provided documents proving their service history.

Leaders of Disabled American Veterans KEL-LAC Chapter 114 in San Antonio asked the Legislature this year to expand the designation to state-issued ID cards and concealed handgun licenses. A bill authored by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, was passed, and the law took effect Sept. 1.

Luis Cortes, commander of the DAV chapter, said he got the first handgun license in the state with the veteran designation in late October. DPS officials said they hope to have the designation available on state ID cards in January.

Cortes said many business offer veteran discounts of 10 percent to 25 percent. He had asked the Legislature to extend the designation to those who “wrote a blank check to defend this country and our families' freedom.”

Many veterans don't drive because of a disability, don't have a military ID and don't carry around their military paperwork, Cortes said.

“A lot of veterans don't know about it. During Christmas time, that's a big, big discount,” he said. “They deserve to have this recognition.”

The designation will be available to honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. armed forces or Texas National Guard. Veterans must visit a driver license office and present a DD-214 or other form providing proof of service, or a Department of Veterans Affairs disability letter.

There also is a process for veterans who are out of state to order a driver license or ID card by mail.
 

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