CLEVELAND - Cuyahoga County is honoring veterans Monday and making it easier for them to claim benefits. The county will issue new identification cards making it easier for veterans to get a job, medical benefits, or apply for a home loan.
It's estimated there are 90,000 veterans in Cuyahoga County with various forms of military ID. There are VA cards if you get medical services, active duty and retirees have their own card too. While it may seem like a lot of military IDs, some vets don't have a card at all.
"There are lots of vets in this area who are not retirees. They did maybe 8 years or 10 years and this card becomes an excellent form of ID for them," said Rick DeChant, Executive Director of Veteran Services & Programs at Cuyahoga Community College.
If you have don't have an ID and want benefits, you need to carry around a piece of paper known as a DD 214 or discharge papers -- which can get lost and torn. That's why Cuyahoga County is creating the more durable, permanent ID complete with the veteran's photo and information related to their service.
"The card will contain their specific document numbers so the discharge record can be rapidly located by any office providing services when needed," said Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald.
It will cost the county about $4,000 to administer the program, which is already in use in Stark and Franklin counties.
"Just on the first day Franklin County did this, they had 575 vets show up. So if there is any doubt there is a need for the service, that answered the question," Fitzgerald explained.
The county hopes to have the program up and running in 30-60 days.