Veterans apply for new ID cards at Michigan Works! event
GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- An event in Grand Traverse County helped veterans sign up for a system that's meant to give them easier access to benefits and services.
It's a new initiative that the US Department of Veterans Affairs has started that replaces the paperwork they need to carry to prove they served with ID cards.
But signing up for these ID cards is quite a process, which is why Michigan Works! and other veteran organizations stepped in to help.
“One of the things we kept hearing about is the online process for veterans to register for their veterans ID is so cumbersome,” said Michigan Works! Regional Operations Manager, Kathy Taylor.
It's a new convenient way for veterans to show proof of service, an ID card issued through Veterans Affairs.
But to apply online, you need a scanner and headshot, something many people don't have at home.
“We have a photographer here taking pictures, we have scanners we can scan their DD-214,” said Taylor.
Michigan Works!, Project Cherry Tree, Northwestern Michigan College and the Veteran Community Action Team put together the event to help veterans through the tricky process.
“If you don't have the right technology or the email accounts or the cell phone that they need to send the codes back-and-forth to the verify who you are it can be a little bit frustrating at times,” said Brandon Corbin. “But it's well worth it because when you go in to get services all you need is your ID card, you don't need your DD-214 to verify service, it's already there.”
And veterans say not having to carry around the DD-214 paperwork is a big step up.
“There hasn't been an easy access uniform system for veterans to identify themselves as veterans that enables them to get the best access to whatever services and discounts are available to them until now,” said Veteran Community Action Team Chairperson, Scott Herzberg.
Because it's relatively new, organizers say there was some glitches in the system which caused problems for some people to apply but overall say this new system is a great move.
Overall about 130 veterans showed up on Wednesday.
Michigan Works! says based on the event’s success they will likely host similar events at their branches in Cadillac and Petoskey.