The Iowa Department of Transportation is now offering veterans a chance to make their status known when they renew their driver’s licenses. Jodi Tymeson, the executive director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, says a new law now allows the state to put the word “veteran” on driver’s licenses.
“This is a voluntary program, veterans may or may not have the word veteran placed on their driver’s license or non-operator ID card,” Tymeson says. “It does not provide any eligibility for county, state, or federal veterans benefits, there’s a separate eligibility process for those.” Tymeson says it’s a simple process.
“Honorably discharged veterans should take their discharge paperwork to their county veterans affairs office. It’s a simple process for them to just verify the veteran eligibility, and then just take that form to the DOT when they are ready to renew their license,” Tymeson explains.
The new law was supposed to begin July first of this year, but the DOT moved up the implementation. Tymeson says veterans requested some sort of recognition on their driver’s license. “There are a lot of businesses or restaurants that provide veteran discounts or benefits and that sort of thing. So, it’s mostly for that,” Tymeson explains.
Thousands of Iowans could eventually carry the licenses that identify their service to the country. “The latest information from the federal VA — and they are the ones that put out these statistics — shows that in Iowa we currently have about 15,000 World War Two veterans, 27,000 Korean War veterans, about 84,000 Vietnam era veterans, 56,000 Gulf War era veterans,” Tymeson says.
There are some restrictions as the new designation is being introduced. Because of cost issue, the law only allows the veteran designation to be added when a driver’s license is first issued or renewed. The law does not allow the designation to be added on a duplicate card issued between renewals.
Iowa law only allows a driver’s license or nonoperator ID to be renewed 30 days before it expires, so you cannot renew your license simply to get the veteran designation if it is not expiring.