Coast Guard Mutual AssistanceServing the men and women of the US Coast Guard since 1924


Many times we hear from our clients that it is prohibited for them to provide a copy of their military ID when sending requests to CGMAHQ for assistance, such as with our Layette program.

CGMA only requires a photocopy of the military ID to verify the identity of the applicant when assistance applications are not presented in person but rather sent by email or post. Our position as an officially sanctioned military aid society is that photocopies to accompany such applications facilitate the client receiving assistance from CGMA is on par with receiving a DOD (read DHS/Coast Guard) benefit.

Pertinent Law

The law that pertains to the issue of photocopying military ID cards, reads as follows:

Title 18, US Code Part I, chapter 33, Sec. 701. Official badges, identification cards, other insignia Whoever manufactures, sells, or possesses any badge, identification card, or other insignia, of the design prescribed by the head of any department or agency of the United States for use by any officer or employee thereof, or any colorable imitation thereof, or photographs, prints, or in any other manner makes or executes any engraving, photograph, print, or impression in the likeness of any such badge, identification card, or other insignia, or any colorable imitation thereof, except as authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. Note: "except as authorized under regulations made pursuant to law."


We believe COMDTINST M5512.1A is the Coast Guard regulation that pertains.

It states:

1.8. Photographing, Reproducing or Unauthorized Possession of ID Cards.
Title 18, U.S.C., Section 701 prohibits photographing, reproducing, or possessing Uniformed Services ID cards in an unauthorized manner under penalty of fine, imprisonment or both.
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1.8.1. Unauthorized use would exist if the bearer uses the card in a manner that would enable the bearer to obtain benefits and privileges to which he or she is not entitled. The cardholder may allow photocopying of their ID card to facilitate DOD benefits.

Other Acceptable ID

If, however, clients prefer not to provide a photocopy of their military ID, they can provide a copy of a valid driver's license. CGMA will use that to verify their eligibility in one of the CG databases.

You give valuable time to assist CGMA clients and it is much appreciated!

Please let CGMA-HQ know (703) 875-0404 or toll free (800) 881-2462 or email: if there is any way we can support your efforts as you serve your shipmates through CGMA.