Senate passes bill creating 100% disabled veteran driver license designation

Oklahoma driver licenses could soon begin carrying a special designation for veterans who are 100% disabled, along with their spouses or surviving spouses. Senate Bill 1177’s author, Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, said the simple license modification will make it easier for the state and businesses to know which veterans are eligible for the sales tax exemption and other benefits awarded to fully disabled members.

“These brave men and women have sacrificed so much for our great country and are granted full disability through a stringent process by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA). That designation then grants them certain benefits in our state, like not having to pay sales tax on various purchases,” Simpson said. 

“Unfortunately, those benefits are being fraudulently claimed by non-eligible individuals and we’ve been working in recent years to find a way to ensure these perks are reserved for our true heroes. Having a designation on one’s license is a simple solution that will help the state and businesses better track who is truly qualified to receive these special benefits.”

S.B. 1177 directs the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) to start designating on driver licenses whether an individual is a 100% disabled veteran or if they are the spouse or the surviving, unmarried widow of a fully disabled veteran. The bill also directs DPS and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) to implement a technology-based information exchange process allowing DPS and motor agents to validate such applicant claims.

Currently, the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) has approximately 32,000 military tax-exempt certificates on file. However, the USDVA says Oklahoma only has 16,000 fully service-disabled veterans.

The bill, which was approved unanimously Monday (March 7) by the full Senate, now heads to the House where Rep. Josh West, R-Grove, is the House author.