Half a million readers (give or take 499,984) have informed me that Summit County veteran ID cards aren’t the only way to prove your military service without lugging around your DD-214 discharge papers.

Another half a million (give or take 499,992) insist that discounts for veterans can be chintzy, are offered only to certain categories of veterans and are too difficult to obtain.

This was the result of a column I wrote Sunday about a four-year-old Summit County program that enables vets to get a photo ID card that attests to their vetdom.

The cards cost only a buck, will fit in your wallet and don’t contain all the personal info that DD-214s contain, such as your Social Security number.

A better option, some readers say: your driver’s license.

Since 2009, the state has offered veterans the option of including a stamp on the front of the license indicating military service.

You have to show your DD-214 to qualify, but only once, and the service is free.

Currently, the “Armed Forces” logo appears on 70,612 Ohio driver licenses and 3,340 identification cards, says Lindsey Bohrer, the ever-helpful Ohio Public Safety spokeswoman in Columbus, who personally counted every one of them.

(OK, maybe not.)

Unfortunately, when it comes to veteran discounts, there is no consistency in terms of what documentation is required or who is eligible.

Check out these polar-opposite stories about using a driver’s license:

• Rebecca Heim Sovchik of Bath: “My dad took his DD-214 to the BMV the last time he had to renew his driver’s license, and now his license indicates that he is a veteran. That eliminated the need to carry his DD-214 around with all of his personal info on it.

“The weird thing, however, is that some stores that previously accepted his license for discounts will now only accept the veteran ID card, which he doesn’t have yet. …

“A driver’s license is a standard, accepted form of ID, but now it’s not good enough to identify him as a veteran for his discounts? Grrr.”

• Jim Stafford of Bath: “The insignia [on the driver’s license] works the same as the [Summit] card without any hassle or cost to the person. I have used mine several times in the last couple of years, mainly at restaurants. Simply show the store your driver’s license and you get whatever discount they offer.”

Hmmm.

The bottom line on this whole thing appears to be this: It depends.

Depends on the particular store or business.

Depends on how well employees are trained.

Depends which employee you happen to get.

Plan C

Meanwhile, one reader suggested a totally different route, urging vets to get an ID card from the Veterans Administration.

“They issue ID Cards for veterans who join the VA,” says Paul Tarr of Green, who served in both the Army and Air Force. “Not all veterans join the VA, and I don’t know why.

“I have received almost-free hearing aids, get discounted prescriptions, a physical once a year, free immunizations, eye examinations, discounted glasses and a few other things. …

“These [cards] are free. The newer one does have an expiration date. Wonder if I’ll be around in seven years.”

Hope so.

Much of my feedback involved discounts offered by the two big-box home-improvement stores, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

The policies — and the documents needed to qualify — can be complicated and confusing. Get this: Lowe’s online explanation of its military discount policy is 1,084 words long.

Short versions

After poring through the online material and contacting spokespeople for both companies, I’m fairly certain the situation boils down to this:

Lowe’s: A 10 percent discount is available every day to both active and former military, their spouses and children. You can’t couple that with other discounts and special sales. A driver’s license with a veteran stamp will work. You can register online or in the store. (With online registration, Lowe’s uses an unspecified third party to verify your service.)

Home Depot: A 10 percent discount is available every day to active, reserve, retired or disabled military and their spouses and children, but NOT to regular veterans. The latter can only get a 10 percent discount on Memorial Day, July 4 and Veterans Day. In each case, the discount is limited to $500 on a single purchase.

When I asked Home Depot why someone who served four years in Vietnam and was honorably discharged can’t get an everyday discount — not the case at Lowe’s — spokesman Matt Harrigan said, “Our focus is on veterans’ housing.”

He says the company’s charitable foundation has given $200 million to veterans housing since 2011, improving 33,000 residences. For example, in May the company donated $4,700 to improve Harmony House in Akron, a faith-based transitional housing program for young men.

To get the daily discount, Home Depot will accept only a DD-214, a VA card or an active duty or reserve card. A driver’s license will work on the three holidays. The Summit vet ID is worthless there.

For local vets, figuring out what works in which places seems only slightly less complicated than the planning for D-Day.

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31