On the 8th January 2020 the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP and the Ministry of Defence announced that the current Veterans ID Card, which is issued to all forces personnel on leaving service, would be made available to all veterans before the end of the year. In their latest update the MOD said:
We aim to launch phase 2 to the wider veteran community, as soon as practicable, enabling existing veterans to apply for a card. Information on how to apply will be released closer to the phase 2 launch date.
The cards allow veterans to easily verify their service to the NHS, their local authority, and charities, helping them to access support and services where needed.
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.
All relevant Government departments have a responsibility to ensure that the military community is treated fairly, and not disadvantaged by their service, as part of the Armed Forces Covenant. The new ID cards will ensure the process of validating service is as straightforward as possible, so that ex-forces personnel can access support for issues related to their service quickly, where needed.
The cards will complement the NHS’ commitment to providing specialist health support for veterans in every part of the health service, enabling ex-service personnel in England, Scotland and Wales to access treatment where they have been affected by their service. Last year, NHS England announced that dedicated mental healthcare services are up and running in every part of the country, backed by £10 million of investment, with increasing numbers of GPs and hospitals becoming ‘Veteran Aware’, in order to fully address the needs of those who have served.
Any veteran in need of support can contact the Veterans’ Gateway – the 24 hour service which signposts ex-forces personnel to the wide range of support available to them, including housing and financial advice, career guidance, and medical care from the NHS. Since being set up in 2017, the Veterans’ Gateway has already received over 20,000 contacts, advising ex-forces personnel and their families.