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Ministry of Defence to issue ID cards to service leavers

View profile for Cristina Parla
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From 18 February 2019 armed forces veterans will receive an ID card which will help them access specialist support and services.  The new ID cards will be issued to veterans leaving the military since December 2018.  The Ministry of Justice has said that the new ID cards will allow veterans to maintain ‘a tangible link to their career in the forces’.

The new ID card will entitle service leavers to:

  • easily verify their service to the NHS, their local authority, and to charities;
  • access a range of discounts through the Defence Discount Service (the official MoD-endorsed service for the armed forces); and
  • maintain emotional connection with their service.

The cards also complement NHS commitment to providing specialist health support. The health service has been backed by £10 million of investment, and an increasing number of GPs and hospitals are ‘Veteran Aware’, in order to fully address the needs of those who have served.

The Government organisation which manages pension and compensation payments, Veterans UK, will also benefit from the change as they will not have to conduct time-consuming checks to identify each individual.

The veterans themselves will, no doubt, see the implementation of the new ID cards as long-awaited yet welcome news.

Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood, said:

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the ex-forces community, and we are working hard to ensure they receive the support they deserve.

“These new cards celebrate the great commitment and dedication of those who have served this country, and I hope they can provide a further link to ex-personnel and the incredible community around them.”

Tim Edwards, Roythornes’ leading MoD compensation claims specialist, said:

“Although seemingly full of good intentions, unfortunately this has not been the experience of many ex-servicemen over the last few years.

“I have spoken to a number of them who have sought advice in connection with claims arising out of their time in service and the common thread often is that they feel isolated; certainly after leaving service and, in many cases, during service and at the point of their discharge.

“Further, it is the experience of a number of servicemen who I have dealt with that claims which can only be pursued after leaving service are then either rejected (sometimes unreasonably so) or the level of compensation offered quite insignificant and at a level which in no way addresses the injuries and losses which have been suffered as a consequence of time in service and which may, in some cases, be ongoing.

“If servicemen are to believe Tobias Ellwood’s comments, then the Government may wish to consider reaching out to those individuals who have left service with such a negative impression.”