In honor of Veterans Month, Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi reminds any honorably discharged veteran living in Union County that they can receive a free identification card at the County Clerk’s offices in Westfield and Elizabeth. The wallet-size photo ID card is honored as proof of service in the United States Armed Forces.
“We encourage all of our veterans to bring their original discharge papers to the County Clerk’s Office in either Westfield or Elizabeth and take advantage of this free program,” Rajoppi said. “This ID card service is just one way to say thank you and make veterans’ lives a little easier.”
The Veterans ID Card Act was signed into law last year. The card is available to veterans whose original Certificate of Honorable Discharge and/or DD-214 forms are recorded at the Union County Clerk’s office. It can assist veterans in receiving educational benefits, death benefits, licenses, local property tax rebates and discounts at big retailer box stores when presented with other identification.
If a veteran’s discharge papers have never been recorded, the original documents must be presented at either one the Union County Clerk’s offices. Documents will be recorded in the Union County Veterans’ Index and the original documents will be returned to the veteran together with a free certified copy for their records. Photocopies of Honorable Discharge or DD-214 documents cannot be accepted for recording.
If the original discharge documents are lost, veterans can write to the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63138. Those who have already recorded their documents with the Union County Clerk can call her office at 908-659-7403 for additional information.
“Veterans can be assured that access to their discharge papers is available only to the veteran, his or her mother, father, spouse, brother, sister, child, heir or personal representative,” Rajoppi said. “Veterans’ documents are archived in a secure area and they are not accessible to the public.”
The County Clerk’s Office in Westfield, located in the Colleen Fraser Building at 300 North Avenue East, is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The County Clerk’s Office in Elizabeth, located in the Union County Courthouse at 2 Broad Street, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. If additional information is needed, please call 908-659-7403.