[box]by Sen. Len Fasano[/box]

Nearly a year and a half ago, a constituent came to me and asked if I would help him. I can happily report that help has finally come. Wallingford veteran John Anzidei told me many veterans were struggling financially and in order to receive benefits at the hardware store or grocery store they were required to have a recognized “status.”

What this means is veterans needed to have a way they could be readily identifiable. The solution: place a veteran’s symbol or in this case an American Flag on the veteran’s driver’s license or identification card. A marker, much like organ donors have on their driver’s license.

Beginning January 2013, a new state law that I supported will go into affect. It allows the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to place that American flag on a veteran’s driver’s license or identity. Identifying citizens in need who are veterans is the most important first step in channeling them to the many programs and services that are available.

Aside from allowing veterans to qualify for discounts at various stores and retail outlets, this symbol will also alert emergency officials during a crisis that the patient is a veteran and may have special insurance coverage or assistance.

The new law also immediately allows a free lifetime pass into any state park, forest or state recreational facility to any resident who is a disabled wartime veteran.

At least 30 days prior to visiting a DMV or AAA office, veterans must submit to the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs a completed application and proof of honorable discharge, such as a DD-214.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will verify the veteran’s military status and electronically notify DMV of the request prior to the driver’s license or ID card being issued.

The application can be downloaded online at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website by visiting www.ct.gov/ctva and clicking the “Application for Veteran’s Flag” link.

The flag symbol will be added to veteran’s license or ID card at no additional cost at renewal time or when it is first issued. Veterans can also request a flag symbol by mailing an application and additional documentation to the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs at: CT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS, ATTN: VETERAN’S FLAG ON DRIVER LICENSE OR ID CARD, 287 WEST ST., ROCKY HILL, CT 06067.

For more information on DMV services and office locations, please visit www.ct.gov/dmv.

During these tough economic times any money saved or recouped can go a long way for those in need. You might ask which veteran does this affect the most – the ones that need it the most.

Posted by Chris

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