Commissaries, Exchanges to Open to More Patrons
The Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments have announced that commissary and post exchange services will be opened to a greater number of patrons beginning Jan. 1—a move supported by the Association of the U.S. Army.
On that date, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, all service-connected disabled veterans regardless of rating, and caregivers enrolled in the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers can shop at available locations.
They will also have access to Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities, such as entertainment, clubs, recreational lodging and resorts, special-interest activities, bowling, golf, restaurants and more.
However, eligible veterans must present their Veteran Health Identification Card in order to access the new privileges. For information regarding eligibility for the VHIC and the application process, click here.
“It is an honor to welcome home these heroes to their exchange,” said Tom Shull, Army & Air Force Exchange Service director and CEO.
Newly eligible veterans and caregivers will have added costs on their purchases, as mandated by the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. These costs include a 5% surcharge for purchases, a 1.9% fee for credit cards and 0.5% fees for debit cards.
Before using the new privileges, customers are encouraged go to the visitors’ center on an installation to register their credentials. They will also be required to pass a background check.
Veterans must bring their Veteran Health Identification Card and caregivers must bring their eligibility letter, which will be mailed by the VA.
“They fought for us. They sacrificed for us,” Shull said. “They deserve this benefit. It is a truly a privilege to serve them once again.”