VA unveils secure veterans' ID card

VA unveils secure veterans' ID card

The Veterans Affairs Department is launching a new identification card for veterans using VA services that will safeguard confidential information.

'It also helps prevent the theft of important benefits and services from veterans that they earned by their service to our country,' VA Secretary Anthony Principi said today.

The Veterans Identity Card will have veterans' photos on the front to identify them as enrollees in VA's health care system. The veteran's Social Security number, date of birth and a control number are encrypted on a magnetic tape on the back of the card. The magnetic strip also records whether the veteran has a service-related disability.

VA expects all its facilities to have the equipment to convert to the new card by mid-November. VA, which will replace old cards when veterans come to their local medical center, will distribute 2.5 million cards by the end of 2005 and 1 million annually in later years. Existing cards will remain valid until veterans receive their new cards.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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