VETERANS have welcomed the Government’s decision to allow service leavers to keep their ID cards.
The move, confirmed by Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood, will allow former service personnel to "retain that emotional connection" to their career.
The ID card, known as the 'MoD Form 90', will also allow service leavers to be identified as veterans quickly and easily, aiding their transition into civilian life.
SaluteMyJob managing director, Brig (Retd) Andrew Jackson said past service was just as valuable as current service.
“Throughout your military service, your ID card is your proof of belonging to the Armed Forces. Until now, that proof of military service is lost the day you leave and, with it, the sense of belonging,” he said.
“Being allowed to show evidence of past service is as important as showing evidence of current service. I welcome the retention of an ID card, which demonstrates what we all know; that once a member of the Armed Forces, always a member of the Armed Forces. “
“Being in the Army is not just a job, it shapes your identity. Whilst serving, I proudly wore this identity all the time, both on and off duty,” said recruitment consultant Laura Brooke-Smith, who served in the Army for 10 years as a HR professional.
“My ID card was physical proof that I was part of such a fantastic organisation. When I left the Forces, I felt a huge sense of loss. Handing in my MOD90 contributed to this loss.”
Dan Mason, also one of SaluteMyJob’s recruitment consultants, served for 12 years with the Port and Maritime Unit RLC as a PTI and Port Operator. He said he hated having to hand in his MOD 90.
“It was my military connection…gone. All over in a few seconds but the build-up was intense. As I was medically discharged, I didn't want to hand it over, yet had no choice. I felt proud to have that ID card in my wallet.
“Some guys who sign off may have a different attitude and can’t wait to get rid of them, But I agree everyone should be able to keep them for easier access to services, as well as keeping that military connection real.”
Where personnel previously were required to hand back their card upon being discharged, the corners of the card will now be cut off to show it is no longer valid.
It is hoped this will ensure security is maintained at bases and other sensitive sites, as well as meaning less time will be spent by authorities identifying individual veterans.
Chief of Defence People Lieutenant General Richard Nugee said: "Time and time again, I have heard from service leavers that handing back their ID card is one of the hardest things to do as they leave the forces.
"Leaving the military is an emotionally charged moment and I hope that this change will ease some of those feelings by reinforcing the message to our veterans that they remain a valued member of the armed forces community."
The Ministry of Defence is currently conducting a cross-government review of veterans’ policy and provision, including a new veterans’ strategy, due to be released later this year.