South Carolina veterans will now be able to get a special designation on their driver’s licenses. The state Department of Motor Vehicles on Friday announced the new designation would be available for individuals who served honorably in the military.
The change comes after the South Carolina Legislature passed a law earlier this year that would allow veterans to get the designation. South Carolina is the ninth state to pass such a law.
Governor Nikki Haley says putting the status on a state ID means that a veteran would no longer need to carry around their Form DD214, which proves they were honorably discharged from military service. The form is required in order to be eligible for Veterans Administration benefits and membership in different veterans’ groups such as the VFW and Tuskegee Airmen.
“It’s just one more piece of paper that they shouldn’t have to do,” Haley told reporters in a Friday press conference, “This cuts out the red tape so that they can go show a driver’s license and then… all of the services that should be provided are provided that much easier.”
The designation will only be given to individuals who served honorably as members of the United States Armed Forces. To apply, veterans must present their honorable discharge forms. The DMV says no other proof of service will be accepted. Military dependents, spouses or civilian employees on military bases are not eligible.
The cost to add the word “veteran” to a driver license, identification card or beginner permit is $1. If a customer adds the designation without changing or renewing his license, they will only pay only the $1 fee. However, DMV officials said if the customer makes an additional purchase, they will pay the $1 plus the required transaction fee. For example, a customer that adds the designation while he renewing a 10-year driver’s license would pay $25 plus the $1 fee.
Because state law requires documentation of military service, veterans applying for the designation must visit a DMV office.
DMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo, a retired Army training officer himself, said veterans have been requesting the special designation for years. “As soon as this passed the Legislature, I was getting calls from virtually every patriotic organization,” he said, “And the main reason is because there are many places that offer veterans a 10 percent discount with a veteran’s card. That’s huge.”