CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — To those who have served in the U.S. military, being a veteran is part of their identity, and thanks to mobile clinics organized by the Office of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, many of those veterans are finding it easier to obtain their Veterans ID Card (VIC).
The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center (VAMC) hosted the first mobile clinic in the state Tuesday. The new VICs, issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, began to rollout last fall.
U.S. Army veteran Marina Bilyeu, of Wood County, attended Tuesday’s mobile clinic to after hearing of the collaboration between Capito’s office and the VA to assist veterans in accessing benefits outside of the VA system.
“The ID cards are going to identify us as veterans and allow us to get access to resources that we might not necessarily have,” Bilyeu said.
While there are other methods to show proof of service, such as a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty or even a veterans’ designation on your driver’s license, Bilyeu said many places do not accept them as proper forms of ID.
“So if you have the VA ID card, that gets you the discounts and other benefits that you may not be able to access otherwise,” she said.
Bilyeu said to some, a 10 percent discount while shopping or dining may seem small, but to many veterans, it can make a huge difference.
“A lot of our veterans, a lot of us are low income or struggling,” she said. “In Wood County, you get a free bus pass if you’re a veteran so that gives you identification to prove that you’re a veteran. That’s a great resource for those who have mobility issues.
“Instead of paying $20 for a bus pass, you’re getting it free, and that could be the difference between walking to work every day or not being employed for someone,” she added.
Though Bilyeu was already aware of the benefits that come with having a VIC, she hopes to see other veterans take advantage of the mobile clinics.
“I spent 14 years in the military, and I’ve been accessing VA health care since 2003. They do a pretty good job of letting us know what’s out there, and the community’s really good at letting you know what’s available, especially around veterans holidays,” she said. “I think there’s some veterans who may not know. I’m just fortunate that I do.”