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Letter: Veterans’ discounts are not a sure thing

Veterans’ discounts are not a sure thing

It is always heartwarming to see when our soldiers and veterans are honored for their military service to our country. Many stores and restaurants, as well as numerous other services, offer discounts to veterans in recognition for their service. To obtain these benefits, veterans are required to present an official identification card as verification of their service. The original issuing office has been Veterans Affairs, however, ID cards can also be obtained from the Erie County Clerk’s Office. Both facilities issue these identification cards upon proof of “DD Form 214,” which is the official military release form from honorable military duty and is familiar to every veteran.

As an Army veteran, I recently applied for and received my veterans identification card from the County Clerk’s Office. The card contains my name, my photo and is certified by Erie County, the Supreme Court and the County Court that I have been registered as an honorably discharged veteran. Yet I experience all too frequently that many businesses will only accept veterans cards issued by the VA. Other veterans have shared the embarrassing experience of being rejected for discounts based on the type of their identification card as well.

It seems rather petty that veterans need two different ID cards as proof of their military service, especially so when both issuing facilities are credible government facilities. It is not only disappointing but insulting when told that one or the other card is not acceptable for discounts. It is surprising that this should even be a question. Perhaps those businesses offering discounts to veterans should accept either card as valid. This would certainly avoid disappointments and embarrassments for both the veteran and the sales clerk who has to deny the anticipated discount.

Fred Bonisch

West Seneca