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    A new bill sponsored by state Sen. Greg Ball (R, C — Patterson) would require that driver’s licenses or identification cards indicate the cardholder is a veteran of the armed forces, according to a news release from Ball’s office Thursday.

    Veterans would need to present proof of veteran’s status, such as a certificate of release or discharge from active duty, or other proof, the release said.

    Government service providers do not have the ability to reach out to veterans effectively or accurately, the release said. This driver’s license “checkoff” would allow New York to communicate with the vast majority of veterans living in the state, the release said.

    “The biggest problem we face in providing services and benefits to veterans is actually being able to identify them, especially returning veterans,” Ball, chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs committee, said in the release. “This bill will give veterans the option of indicating that they have served the United States on their driver’s licenses. Once identified we can proactively communicate with veterans to connect them to the hundreds of services and benefits available.”

    “Recent statistics show that returning veterans suffer fromunemployment rates much higher than those of their civilian colleagues,” Eugene Parotta, chairman of Ball’s Veterans Advisory Council, said. “Furthermore, those heroes returning with a service connected disability have even higher unemployment rates, sometimes by a multiple of the civilian unemployed workforce … This is a critical mission to provide the services necessary for employment, education, tax credits and more.”

    The bill, co-sponsored by Assemb. Robert Castelli (R-Goldens Bridge), is awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s action for approval, the release said. (ARTICLE)