Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson touts veteran designation for drivers license

As of May 1, veterans in Michigan can have their service acknowledged right on their drivers license. This is a move to help them avoid having to carry around the necessary paperwork to prove their service otherwise for a variety of purposes.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson stopped by the Allegan SOS office Thursday, May 15, to commend the branch's staff for positive customer feedback they had received and spoke with The Allegan County News about the new license designation in the video above.

A press release from the SOS office describes the designation this way:

The new license, which has the word "Veteran" in bold red on the front of the card, will be available to all honorably discharged Michigan veterans.

Johnson said it's particularly fitting that the new license will be available in a month where veterans are remembered and honored for their service.

"We are indebted to these courageous men and women and this will help them get the benefits they have earned and deserve," said Johnson. "I hope every store clerk, every bank teller who sees this on a driver's license will take a moment to thank that veteran for their service and sacrifice."

"Michigan residents who have served honorably in the United States Armed Forces can now have their veteran status at their fingertips, giving them easier access to the special offers and recognitions they have earned," Barnes said. "I hope my fellow veterans will take advantage of this opportunity and carry our state's appreciation for their service everywhere they go."

Veteran Mike Major, 37, of Saginaw Township, who served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, said he will carry one of the new driver's licenses for veterans once they become available. He also has a special Afghanistan veteran's license plate on his car. Major served in the Michigan Army National Guard and is still active in the United States Navy Reserve.

"I'm proud of my service to my country," he said, adding the new driver's license says a lot about how veterans are seen in Michigan. "Ruth Johnson's efforts really underscore that Michigan is a veteran-friendly state."

Veterans will be required to provide proof of their honorable discharge. If they are renewing their license or ID card, or applying for one for the first time, they will pay only the normal driver's license or ID card fee. If they want the license before it's time to renew, they can purchase a duplicate for the standard small fee.

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency serves as the central coordinating point, connecting those who have served in the United States Armed Services and their families to services and benefits throughout the state of Michigan. The agency values inclusion, integrity, transparency, innovation and respect and aspires to provide the customer service experience that veterans deserve. For more information about services and benefits available to Michigan veterans and their families, visit www.MichiganVeterans.com or call (800) MICH-VET.

To find Secretary of State office locations and services, visit www.michigan.gov/sos. Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/michsos and Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/michiganSoS. Online services are available at www.expresssos.com.

Customers may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

A nice overview of veteran benefits can be found here.

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