How to get a DD-214
To qualify for any veteran benefits you have to be able to prove you served and that’s done with a DD Form 214. If you don’t have a copy, you can request a new one from the National Archives at archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records.
Veteran’s Designation on Driver's License
You can have the Veteran’s designation added to your license for free making it easy for you to provide proof of your veteran status at any time. If you’re a veteran with a one-hundred percent service-connected disability, there is no fee for your driver's license or an ID card. You can also get a “DV” license plate at no charge. Visit your local driver's license service center with the necessary documentation (DD-214 and proof of disability.)
Florida waives out-of-state tuition fees for honorably discharged veterans. You must be a current resident and attending one of the public, post-secondary institutions. There are scholarships for dependent children and spouses of veterans who died during service or are one-hundred percent disabled. Details are available at floridastudentfinancialaid.org
Honorably discharged veterans who didn’t complete high school prior to joining the military may be awarded a standard high school diploma by the Florida Department of Education. The application is online at fldoe.org/academics/career-adult-edu/veterans-diplomas.stml
Theme Parks (and other) Discounts
Too many to list. Discounts and offers vary at different theme parks, stores, restaurants, sports events, and state parks. Check out their websites for details or give them a call.
Burial Benefits. Yep, we’re all gonna kick the bucket eventually and as a veteran you may qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery, of which, there are nine in Florida. The burial benefit includes a gravesite, the opening and closing of the grave, a burial liner, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care of the gravesite. Spouses and some other family members may also be eligible. The family may also request a military funeral honors ceremony which includes the folding and presentation of the burial flag and the playing of Taps. va.gov/burials-memorials/
You can be pre-approved for burial in a national cemetery which will make things easier for your survivors when the time comes. The application doesn’t apply to Arlington National Cemetery or the United States Soldiers and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. It asks for your preferred cemetery but doesn’t guarantee a reservation. Space is allocated as available. va.gov/burials-memorials/pre-need-eligibility.
To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a short, strange trip it's been. It's only been about two months since steps were taken to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and it's no fun.