SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) has introduced a bill to streamline the process disabled veterans must go through to obtain a special license plate.
Assembly Bill 408 will expand the number of agencies that can confirm a disabled veteran’s status to include the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and county veteran service offices.
“This change will improve service at the DMV for disabled veterans, and eliminate an unnecessary and frustrating delay that impedes disabled veterans’ access to a rightly earned benefit,” Frazier said.
Currently, California uses a California-unique letter issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) to substantiate that a veteran applying for Disabled Veteran (DV) license plates is qualified to receive them. Historically, the process operated without delay because all paperwork for California veterans came from one of the three USDVA Regional Offices located in the state. However, over the past 5-10 years an increasing number of USDVA veteran requests for documentation from their records have been distributed to regional offices throughout the United States as a means to balance workload and to prevent backlogs.
As a result, when a veteran makes a request for the DV letter from the USDVA, the request is more likely to be fulfilled by a regional office outside California. Regional offices outside California are oftentimes unaware of the California-unique documentation and typically send the veteran a response indicating that the office cannot process the request. The unfortunate consequence is that the veteran lacks the necessary documentation for DMV to issue the DV plate.
“The current process is overly bureaucratic, frustrating to eligible veterans and unnecessarily delays a benefit disabled veterans have justifiably earned,” Frazier said. “Allowing county veteran service officers and CalVet to help disabled veterans receive their DV plates is a common-sense solution.”
AB 408 would maintain the requirements of the statute to only issue disabled veteran license plates to veterans meeting specific criteria. However, the bill would also amend the applicable definition of “disabled veteran” to clarify the language and eliminate ambiguity, without significantly altering the underlying criteria.
Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which encompasses a large cross section of the Delta in Central Solano, Eastern Contra Costa and Southern Sacramento counties, and includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.
CONTACT: Andrew Bird (916) 319-2011 Andrew.Bird@asm.ca.gov