New initiative part of Administration’s comprehensive plan to enhance veterans services
BOSTON – Tuesday, November 8, 2011 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced that the Patrick-Murray Administration's Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will begin offering Massachusetts veterans the option to have the word “Veteran” appear on their driver’s license or ID card, starting in January, 2012.
“With over 393,000 veterans across the Commonwealth, we need to do our part to increase awareness about available resources for military servicemen and women,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray, chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans Services. “With the RMV already designating ‘Veterans’ on license plates, we’re now extending that designation to include state identification cards and licenses as a means to better inform these deserving men and women of services and benefits they have rightfully earned.”
The "Veteran" designation is designed to increase awareness about available resources and benefits. The feature will provide valuable information to first responders and will help the Department of Veterans’ Services notify veterans of benefits they are eligible to receive.
"The Registry of Motor Vehicles is excited about the new veteran designation, which is a free service upon license renewal," said MassDOT RMV Registrar Rachel Kaprielian. "Veterans who have not accessed Department of Veterans' Services will find a wide of array of benefits are available."
There is no additional cost for the "Veteran" designation, as long as it is added during an individuals license renewal process. Standard license renewal and duplication fees apply.
“Having an official 'Veterans' designation on Massachusetts licenses and IDs has been a long-standing request of the Commonwealth’s veterans community,” said Secretary of Veterans’ Service Coleman Nee. “This designation will not only make it easier for veterans to take advantage of special discounts and incentives offered to them by the private industry, but it will also help our first-responders and benefits specialists to identify and coordinate veterans with resources and services that they have earned, especially in times of crisis. On behalf of the veteran community, I thank Secretary of Transportation Rich Davey and Registrar Rachel Kaprielian for their hard work and dedication in making this proposal a reality.”
Massachusetts joins a series of states that offer a "Veteran" designation, including: North Dakota, Utah and Georgia. The RMV expects this designation to be available to customers by mid-January 2012.
Last week, Governor Deval Patrick declared November 2011 as “Hire a Veteran Month,” and the Patrick-Murray Administration announced a series of new initiatives and resources to support the hiring of Massachusetts veterans, while increasing access to additional services. Governor Patrick also launched an Interagency Task Force on Hiring Veterans and directed all Executive Branch agencies to promote the benefits of hiring veterans. The announcements build on existing partnerships and business collaborations initiated by Lieutenant Governor Murray.
As part of the comprehensive series of veteran-related initiatives launched last week, the Patrick-Murray Administration also announced it will:
- Propose up to $2.86 million in additional funding for enhanced veterans services in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
- Partner with major trade associations to encourage them to hire veterans and circulate information on veterans benefits.
- File legislation as part of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal to provide the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership with $500,000 in funding to train and employ veterans who qualify for state benefits.
- Support the collaboration of military, state, and community resources to establish a Military Child Educational Awareness Program, an expansion of the Massachusetts National Guard’s successful pilot program for military children in the Massachusetts school system.
- Create a Student Veterans sub-committee of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services.
- Create a Veterans’ Re-Employment and Training sub-committee of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services.
“As we look forward to honoring on veterans on November 11th, we should remember what John F. Kennedy once said: ‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them,’'' said John Regan, Chief of Staff, to Senator Mike Rush who is currently serving In Iraq. "Massachusetts, led by the Patrick-Murray Administration and Veteran Services Secretary Coleman Nee, continues to provide services and programs for our veterans, which makes Massachusetts the envy of the nation when it comes to caring for our veterans. This RMV program, directed by Registrar Kaprielian, is yet another example of this.”
“In August of this year, I filed similar legislation allowing distinguished veteran’s whom reside within the Commonwealth a way to effortlessly prove their service,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues. “I offer my highest praise, and commend the Administration for launching this initiative to expand and continue supporting Veteran’s within our state.”
“Massachusetts is a leader in veterans' benefits and a veteran designation will ensure that our service men and women are connected with the many services available to them,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer. “I am pleased to team up with the Patrick-Murray Administration on this important initiative. Our veterans have advocated for this and I am pleased that action has been taken to initiate this practice.”
“An optional "Veteran" designation on identification cards is a small but significant way to help veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned,” said Representative James E. Vallee. “I hope this initiative will help us better serve those who have served our country and Commonwealth.”
“As the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation, I think this is a great idea and I’m proud to have supported legislation in our Committee that would accomplish the same goal to allow veterans to have their status recorded on their identification cards and licenses," said Representative William Straus. "I’m hopeful that this status designation leads to an increase in support for veterans in need.”
For more information about the Department of Veterans Services: http://www.mass.gov/veterans
For more information on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation RMV: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/rmv/