Veterans in the UK will soon be able to use One Login for Government to apply for a Veteran Card. The digital transformation of the application process will mean that service leavers can apply and authenticate online by the end of this year.
The UK’s Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) has announced with the Ministry of Defence that it will develop a new service that will enable veterans to apply for a Veteran Card. This comes after the OVA did the initial Discovery and Alpha phases, with support from Defence Digital and the Government Digital Service (GDS). The Ministry of Defence will take over the development and delivery.
Rollout of veterans cards has been four years in the making
The HM Armed Forces Veterans Card was originally announced in February 2019, with the government committing to exploring ‘secure, digital verification’ as part of its veterans’ Strategy Action Plan in 2022. The former minister for defence, Tobias Ellwood, said that the new cards would celebrate the “great commitment and dedication” of service leavers as well as provide a “further link” to the community around them. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the ex-forces community, and we are working hard to ensure they receive the support they deserve,” he said during the original announcement.
Originally, the government was unable to give a timeline for when the cards would be available: “This work is under way, and we are currently working with veterans and other stakeholders to ensure any solution meets the needs of all veterans. This will support the delivery of the Phase 2 rollout of ID cards,” the 2022 update said.
Minister of State for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer had previously said on his Twitter that he was confident that cards would be “rolled out this year”, promising to shave his eyebrows off if it didn’t happen, as reported by Plymouth Live.
Another service will be added to One Login
The verification service will support applications by using identity checks using GOV.UK’s One Login for Government service. Automated service checking will be done against Ministry of Defence service record databases.
The HM Armed Forces Veteran card allows veterans to prove their veteran status when it’s required, granting them access to support from the government. They can also use it to prove their veteran status to charities, local authorities and other organisations.
According to the government, there are around 1.8 million veterans in the UK, with the Ministry of Defence reporting around 15,000 people leave the UK Armed Forces every year. All military service veterans who have left after December 2018 should automatically receive a Veteran Card as part of their discharge process, and should not need to apply unless they need to replace a lost card.
Testing for the authentication and application service will start during the summer, with the government expecting cards to become available later in the year. OVA and the Ministry of Defence are planning to roll out the service in phases based on how many years a veteran has served in a bid to prevent potential delays from demand exceeding capacity.
There will also be a paper-based application process for veterans who cannot access online services.
What is the latest update on One Login for Government?
The integration of One Login into the Veterans Card service will be seen as another win for the GDS. As reported by Tech Monitor, the single digital identity platform has been used by 1.5 million people since its inception across eight different government services.
Rollout of One Login has been limited to services that use a one-off transaction. But the Cabinet Office hopes to have more than 100 services using the platform by 2025.
One Login requires users to have identification to authenticate themselves, such as a biometric residence permit, driving licence or passport to prove their identity. Other types of identification will be accepted in the future, the Cabinet Office told Tech Monitor.