Measure Will Make It Easier for Vets to Access Discount Programs
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan which authorizes counties to create a county ID for military vets in order to make it easier for them to access discount programs and courtesies extended to military personnel was signed into law today.
“New Jersey’s veterans and active-duty military personnel have risked their lives and safety in combat zones to protect America and its interests around the world,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “Our State’s brave men and women in uniform deserve a token of appreciation from a grateful State. By allowing counties to issue ID cards to make it easier for veterans to access the many discounts and courtesies afforded to them because of their military service, we’re expressing a small measure of our thanks for their many sacrifices to protect our freedom.”
The bill, S-323, permits county clerks to create an identification card for veterans who live within the county and do not already hold a veteran ID card issued by the federal government. The cards will not serve as sufficient proof of service for official government business or to secure veterans’ benefits – such as the state-administered veteran property tax deduction, or GI Bill education benefits. According to Senator Whelan, the intention of the cards is to help veterans receive discounts and other courtesies extended to military veterans.
Senator Whelan noted that some shore towns offer free or reduced cost beach badges to military veterans and their families in the summertime. Many local businesses also provide discounts to veterans for a variety of services and goods, including deals on electronics, travel and restaurants, according to the Atlantic City lawmaker.
“Many of our State’s businesses – and even some of our communities – have created programs designed to give something back to returning vets,” said Senator Whelan. “These programs are reserved specifically for the men and women who’ve served our country through military service. Through this new law, we’ll be making it easier for veterans to identify themselves and ensure their eligibility for military discounts, but also, we will be able to ensure that these benefits are only being used by folks who legitimately qualify.”
The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate in May, and received final legislative approval from the Assembly in June.