Last updated: July 23. 2014 9:06AM - 190 Views
Thomas Crisp Contributing Columnist

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The new Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) provides increased security for your personal information - no personally identifiable information is contained on the magnetic stripe or barcode. It is also a salute to your military service.

The emblem of your latest branch of service is displayed on your card. Several special awards will also be listed. The VHIC replaces the Veteran Identification Card (VIC) and will be issued only to Veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system.

Its purpose is for identification and check-in at VA appointments. It cannot be used as a credit card or an insurance card, and it does not authorize or pay for care at non-VA facilities.

Beginning in May 2014, VA started automatically mailing VHICs to enrolled Veterans who were issued the VIC. Because VA will be reissuing more than six million cards, they ask for your patience during this time. Veterans who were issued a VIC do not need to return to their VA medical center to have a photo taken for the VHIC.

Enrolled Veterans who do not have the VIC can contact their local VA medical center Enrollment Coordinator to arrange to have their picture taken for the new VHIC, or they may request a new VHIC at their next VA health care appointment. To ensure their identity, Veterans must provide either one form of primary identification or two forms of secondary identification.

The VHIC will be mailed to all valid mailing addresses, including P.O. boxes. Veterans who are already enrolled should ensure the address VA has on file is correct so they can receive their VHIC in a timely manner. To update or to confirm your address with VA, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387). If the post office cannot deliver your VHIC, the card will be returned to the VA. Some additional actions you may need to take are:

What to do if you are NOT enrolled?

If you are not currently enrolled with the VA for your health care, VA encourages you to apply for enrollment online at http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll or by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387). You may also apply for enrollment in person at your local VA medical facility.

Once your enrollment is verified, your picture will be taken at your local VA medical center so that, once production begins, a VHIC will be mailed to you. To ensure your identity, you must provide either one primary or two secondary documents.

What to do if you do not receive your new VHIC?

You should receive your VHIC within 7 to 10 days after you request a VHIC card. Although VA strives to do all they can to ensure they enroll Veterans in a timely manner, sometimes they are unable to either verify your military service or they need additional information from you. If so, VA will try to contact you to get the information they need to complete your enrollment application. If VA is unable to reach you, they encourage you to contact the local VA facility where the card was requested or contact them at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) to complete your application and find out the status of your card.

What to do with your old VIC?

VA wants all enrolled Veterans to have a Veteran Health Identification Card that protects their personal information. Until Veterans receive the new, more secure VHIC, Veterans are encouraged to safeguard their old VIC, just like they would a credit card, to prevent unauthorized access to their identity information. Once the new VHIC is received, Veterans should destroy their old VIC by cutting it up or shredding it.

What to do if you’re VHIC is lost or stolen?

If your VHIC is lost or stolen, you should contact the VA Medical Facility where your picture was taken to request a new card be re-issued, or call us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387). Identifying information will be asked to ensure proper identification of the caller.

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