Commissary, Military Service Exchange, and MWR access extended to more Veterans beginning January

New law provides eligible Veterans and Primary Family Caregivers with access to DoD and Coast Guard commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare, and recreation retail services.



IMAGE: Welcome Home Graphic with various DoD logos

According to the Department of Defense, starting Jan. 1, 2020, all service-connected Veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war (POW), and individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible Veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) can use commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) retail facilities, in-person and online.

For more information regarding these privileges and access to military installations, visit http://www.militaryonesource.mil/expanding-access

Who is eligible Jan. 1, 2020?

  • Veterans
    • Purple Heart recipients
    • former prisoners of war
    • Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings

(For former service members who have not yet sought disability compensation from VA, visit https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/)

  • Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are already eligible under existing DOD policy.
  • Caregivers
    • On Jan. 1, individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran under the PCAFC will be eligible for these privileges.
    • For information about primary family caregivers in the PCAFC, visit https://www.caregiver.va.gov/.

Required credentials.

  • Veterans
    • On Jan. 1, Veterans eligible solely under this act who are eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card must use this credential for in-person installation and privilege access. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED). Apply here:  https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/index.asp.
    • Veterans eligible solely under this act who are not enrolled in or are not eligible to enroll in VA health care, or who are enrolled in VA health care, but do not possess a Veteran Health Identification Card will not have access to DoD and Coast Guard installations for in-person commissary, exchange, and MWR retail privileges, but will have full access to online exchanges and American Forces Travel.
    • Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are eligible for DoD credentials under DoD policy.
  • Caregivers
    • Eligible caregivers will receive an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.
    • If you are a primary family caregiver under the PCAFC and lose your eligibility letter, please call 1-877-733-7927 to request a replacement.  Please allow two weeks for processing.

 

Find out more about military resale privileges.

Author

VAntage Point

Comments

  1. Andres Diaz Osorio    

    Can service connect can buy gas and us the gym

    1. The Exchange    

      Hi Andres, thank you for your service. You won’t be able to use the gym; the fitness centers are one of the critical MWR programs that supports mission readiness for our military members. But you will be able to shop at the Exchange and commissary, and buy gas. And you can always shop online tax-free at shopmyexchange.com.

  2. Andres Diaz Osorio    

    With new benefits for service for the PX and the commissary, Are we going to have the privilege to buy gas and use the gym facilities.

    Please let me know.

    Thank you

    1. Bri    

      I would think yes, since the gym and fuel stations are a part of MWR facilities and PX facilities.

  3. Gil De Wind    

    JOHN S. MCCAIN NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019

    Sec. 621. Extension of certain morale, welfare, and recreation privileges to certain veterans and their caregivers.

    ‘‘(d) ELIGIBILITY OF VETERANS WITH SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITIES.—A veteran with a service-connected disability shall be permitted to use commissary stores and MWR facilities on the same basis as a member of the armed forces entitled to retired or retainer pay.

    I was surprised and thankful that disabled veterans were given these benefits. The service of those of us who served less than 20 years, was no less important or significant than those who retired. We all joined to defend our country, perhaps in the future all veterans will be given these benefits. “God bless America”

  4. Anibal Bonilla    

    My name is Anibal Bonilla. I served in the US Army on active duty for 3 years.
    I don’t have a service connected. How come if you don’t have a service connected; you
    cannot qualify to get access in person to the military commissaries and the exchanges. I served in a combat unit; ready for deployment: many times, we will be on high alert to go to a hostile area; plus, the training field exercises in snow and desert. This is unfair. If a caregiver; who never serve in the armed forces got more rights that an active duty US Army veteran. This is unfair. So, the only benefit that we have is the online exchange shopping. The online shopping is not the same. With the online shopping benefit; you cannot purchase anything in the commissaries; you cannot buy liqueur online with the exchange; and sometimes when you buy an item online; all depend where you live so you can receive
    the article by mail. I think this is a real case of discrimination against all the veterans who served
    on active duty.

    Thank you for your attention regarding this matter and I would appreciate action towards
    these comments.

  5. Rodney Horn    

    Sorry but after ready about 100 or lost I gave up trying to find if this question has been answered, so here it goes.

    Is there a list out there that lets you know which overseas military facilities will be accepting the VHIC card starting Jan 1st 2020? I know someone posted that Japan doesn’t allow access. It would be very helpful if we could simply reference a list of all overseas bases that’s states whether or not a Service connected veteran will be able to access their facility as long as your card states you are “Service Connected”
    Thank you.

    1. JW    

      Rodney, unfortunately, there is not a consolidated list that identifies which overseas military facilities in foreign countries would allow access to veterans and caregivers who are eligible for privileges under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access act of 2018. Every status of forces agreement is different. On top of that, there are other international laws and host country agreements that have to be considered. At this time, your best option is to contact the installation you are interested in visiting and find out about access rules from the local sources.

      1. Rodney Horn    

        JW, thank you very much for the info. I was hoping that there might be something out there but I can see why not.
        Thank you

  6. Jose Lopez    

    Under this new directive will we be allowed to use the USO at the airports? Thats also kinda bug when we travel and have lengthy layovers.

    1. JW    

      Jose, the USO is not a DoD entity and DoD does not have any say regarding who can access USO facilities at airports.

  7. Jason Holland    

    My father served and was over 75% disabled and had a lot of issues due to them. He has since then passed and I was wondering if my mom could get shopping privs on base? The local offices have been giving her the run-around about it and i would like it resolved. Thanks

    1. JW    

      Jason, I am sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, these privileges are not extended to family members and are not transferrable.

  8. Rey Salanga    

    Does anyone have more information on the Armed Forces Travel website? I have a rated service-connected disability and would like to use it. Will access be available effective January 01, 2020?

    1. JW    

      Rey, yes, AmericanForcesTravel.com will be accessible to the new categories of eligible veterans and caregivers on January 1.

    1. JW    

      Guy, MWR recreational lodging like RV parks, cottages and cabins, destination military recreation facilities, and military resorts and hotels are included. Temporary lodging facilities are still in the gray area and DoD is working that policy out right now. We should know for sure by January 1

  9. Roy Cogburn    

    Does anyone know if a 40% disabled veterans (me) will be eligible to use military campgrounds starting 01/01/2020? Thank you, Roy

    1. JW    

      Roy, as a veterans with a 40% service-connected disability rating, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, you will be able to make reservations and use military campgrounds beginning on January 1, 2020.

  10. Jose Torres Jr    

    I feel that it’s great that veterans with disabilities are being given access to commissary, PX, etc. What I don’t agree with is how the government, and the VA excludes all veterans that wasn’t injured while serving. It almost like saying that your time in service didn’t mean a thing. They Government and the VA should just come out and say, step aside, and sit on the curve because your time in service meant nothing.

  11. Alex C    

    So we still can’t just let veterans in general use these services? I remember there being a good number of individuals trying to document every little ache and pain in the hopes of getting a high enough disability rating for a paycheck and now they can use base services? How does that make any sense?

    1. JW    

      Alex, 19 million veterans would surely overwhelm the military systems and interfere with mission focus, readiness, and the ability to properly take care of the needs of service members and their families.

  12. nikki candelaria    

    Why are gold star families not included in this?

    1. JW    

      This new benefit is not a survivor benefit, it’s a benefit for specific categories of veterans (Purple Heart recipients, former POWs, and veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90%) and caregivers for veterans (individuals assessed, approved, and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers). It does not extend to those veterans’ or caregivers’ family members.

  13. Peter Liller    

    In response to all these comments, my problem is that my newly issued VHIC does not reflect “service connected” as I am 10% rated, and was told by the VA Hospital in which issued it that only ratings of 20% and above are listed as “service connected” on the card. Is there anyone who is 10% rated, whose card states “service connected”?

    1. L. RODRIGUEZ    

      i RECEIVED MY va cARD ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO AND IT STATES UNDER MY PICTURE “VA HEALTH CARE ENROLLEE SERVICE CONNECTED”

      1. Daniel Parsons    

        Mine says the exact same thing. Discharged with 10% rating.

      2. JW    

        L., it sounds like your Veteran Health Identification Card is good then. The things to check: 1) your name; 2) your photo; 3) “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo; and 4) the scannable barcode.

    2. Jonathan    

      I was initially rated 0% service connected.

      1. Roy Manoley    

        If when you left the service and they didn’t give you a service connected disability rating then it would not be considered by the V.A. You would have to go through the V.A. and requests it or dispute the claim.

        Good Luck

    3. bill doherty    

      my new (6 months) card also says service connected (10%)

    4. Erick    

      I’m 10% and my card says, “Service Connected”.

    5. Doug Heaton    

      The description states “Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings” which indicates – even those with no service connected disability are eligible therefore it is needless to have any % listed on the card. Or am I reading too much into this……?

      1. Amaralus M Kauten    

        If a veteran has a 0% rating they are service connected it just is not serious enough to rate a higher percentage but if the condition/problem increases or worsens this percentage could be increased. Vets without a service connection will never have a %.

    6. Alan Moore    

      That isn’t true. I’ve had a 10% rating for over 30 years and my card has always had the “service connected” indication. I started out with the card that had the purple V on it. I was medically discharged though.

  14. Aristotle Geronimo Pangan    

    I am 100% disabled, rated by the v.a.. i amresiding in the philippines. The benefits of allowing us to have access in exchange/commissary is not applicable here because there is no exchange/commissary in here.

    1. JW    

      Aristotle, you are correct. Even if you are in a foreign country that does have U.S. military commissary and exchange facilities, access is subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host nations. However, if you are in the United States or in a U.S. territory or possession, you would have access with the appropriate credential.

      1. The Exchange    

        As of Veterans Day 2017, all honorably discharged Veterans qualify for a Department of Defense-approved lifelong online military exchange shopping benefit.

        ShopMyExchange.com offers millions of products and an expanded assortment of national brands. Online shoppers enjoy free delivery when using a MILITARY STAR® card or when their online purchases total $49 or more. All Exchange purchases—including those made online—are tax-free.

        1. Don fenton    

          NOT TRUE. You must have a military address to use ShopMyExchange in order to have the items delivered. I live in Japan and was told there is nothing they (AAFES) can do for a non-military address.

        2. Leslie GREEN    

          Can the spouse of the service connected diable veteran get an assess card.

        3. JW    

          Leslie, no. Family members are not eligible for military installation and privilege access.

        4. Anibal Bonilla    

          Even in US territories; I try many times to buy products but they don’t delivery to my address.
          With the online shopping benefit ; you cannot purchase anything in the commissaries; you cannot buy liqueur online with the exchange; and sometimes when you buy an item online; all depend where you live so you can receive
          the article by mail. This new law that start in January 2020 is a real case of discrimination against all the veterans who served
          on active duty.

  15. Mary Mackey    

    I just have a question. My husband is 70% serviced connected disabled. I live in Oklahoma, which is a state that has not been real ID compliant and will not be until sometime in 2020. How would I be able to get onto the base for commissary with my husband without that real ID? Will they accept my drivers license as is?
    Thank you and Thank you all for your service!!

    1. JW    

      Mary, you will not be able to use a driver’s license that is not REAL ID-compliant, but there are other documents you can use to accompany your husband onto the installation as his guest, such as a U.S. passport or a U.S. passport card.

  16. Wayne Robinson    

    I called the Shades of Green Resort at Disney and they said they are funded by MWR but haven’t been given any info yet…will be calling back expeditiously until they have info….

    https://www.shadesofgreen.org

    1. JW    

      Wayne, please wait until after January 1 to contact Shades of Green. Until January 1, newly eligible veterans and caregivers are not eligible to make reservations. Also, the Military Services are still working on passing the information about newly eligible veterans and caregivers and how to verify identity and eligibility to their front line employees so that they will be ready to welcome you on January 1.

  17. Ron Dankmyer    

    I have become eligible and do draw a 10 percent disability rating from the VA. This came about after receiving my VIC card therefore it’s not reflecting on my VIC card which expires in 2024. In lieu of getting an updated card, can I use my current card with my eligibility letter to get onto base??

    Thanks!

    1. Stephanie Daniels    

      I called the Enrollment office at the VA Hospital and she just sent the updated ID. It came in 3 days.

    2. K D    

      I would suggest you get your card updated as soon as you can. In the mean time I would check with your local commissary or exchange if your current ID and VA award letter would be sufficient.

      1. JW    

        KD, DoD will not accept a VA award letter.

    3. Peter Liller    

      In response to all these comments, my problem is that my newly issued VHIC does not reflect “service connected” as I am 10% rated, and was told by the VA Hospital in which issued it that only ratings of 20% and above are listed as “service connected” on the card. Is there anyone who is 10% rated, whose card states “service connected”?

    4. Peter Liller    

      Ron, let me know if its is labeled “service connected”, as I am also 10% rated, and was told it is only stated “service connected” for 20% and over.

    5. JW    

      Ron, DoD will not accept a VIC card for installation or privilege access. You must use a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card. This is the only VA credential that will be accepted as proof of identity and eligibility for newly eligible veterans that are not eligible for these privileges under any other authority.

  18. Joe    

    Will this allow access to Edelweiss?

    1. JW    

      Joe, because Edelweiss Lodge is located in an overseas foreign country, access is subject to the status of forces agreement, international law, or other agreements with the host nation.

  19. Daniel Razo    

    I can see this benefit being useful to bring in more revenue to the base shops.

    1. Eddie    

      Base exchanges and commissaries are routinely out of items. MWR facilities such as campgrounds and vacation lodging are sold out months in advance. This policy is a slap in the face to active duty and retirees who will now suffer because of it.

      1. James Reeder    

        Hey Eddie. I’m offended by the fact that you think active duty and retirees and better than a service member who put in 15 years and was forced out but received an hon and has a 30% disability. You say there’s a waiting list now. And adding people like us will just increase the wait? Well I think your wait will be no longer than before. You think these people have been waiting for this opportunity so they can use the MWR like camping and other MWR opportunities you are sadly mistaken. Don’t you think we already have our areas and other things we do? Your pissed because this puts veterans with a service connected disability to be on the same pedestal as you. So don’t worry I believe your safe on waiting no longer than before on your MWR adventures. But I think instead of a slap in your face you need a boot up your ass.

        1. Larry Powell    

          Eddie, do you have any happiness in your life? I bet you bitch about free meals on Veterans Day.

        2. Brian Miller    

          Perhaps having a potentially greater Customer base may increase funding for Commissary-Exchange and MWR facilities

      2. D. Martin    

        Sooo I guess you’re saying F**K the veterans. They don’t deserve anything after they get out.

      3. Terry Day    

        Eddie,
        I understand your issue, but I honestly believe you are being selfish. I spent 20 months in combat in Vietnam. I’m 70% service-connected disabled; soon to be 100%. I think I’ve earned some privileges. Keep in mind, however, Navy Exchange prices are no better than Walmart prices. Military motel prices are pretty similar to non-military. The exception I’ve seen is Hawaii. Most elderly disabled veterans can’t afford either.
        If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about anyone causing you undue waits in line or a shortage of items in exchanges.

  20. Daniel Razo    

    This benefit was way overdue. I recall the commissary at 29 palms in 2008 having higher priced items than the Walmart by YuccaValley.

    1. Mark B    

      I am a “Veteran”, not “Active Duty”. Ease up on Eddie. I no longer rate what active duty members have. Eddies point is valid, it’s not selfish. Just because I served does no mean I rate s..t.

      As you can see by all the threads, MWR facilities will be over inundated. Im disappointed about MWR , because those were defiantly a place for an ACTIVE DUTY E-1 to be able to afford.

      Does not matter though, the decision has been made all for an increase of money. Go figure.

  21. JW    

    Interested in finding out more about this expanded access? Tune into the Facebook Live event on Military OneSource on November 26, 1-2 pm Eastern Time: https://www.facebook.com/events/723971608086292/

  22. JW    

    DoD and VA are co-hosting a Facebook Live event on this expanded access on Military OneSource on November 25, 1-2 pm. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/events/723971608086292/

  23. Steve Church    

    recreation retail services – does that include the campgrounds and hotels?

    1. JW    

      Steve, morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) retail facilities include RV campgrounds, recreational lodging like cabins and cottages and military resort properties…also golf, bowling, restaurants, marinas, equipment check out, entertainment, special interest activities like flying clubs, movie theaters, vehicle storage, kennels, and leisure travel which includes AmericanForcesTravel.com.

      1. Steve Church    

        thank you! I understand in reading that after Jan 1st, next step is to go to a base for a security check? I live near Oceanside Ca, so that is a Camp Pendalton. What is the process? thanks, steve

        1. JW    

          Steve, you’ll need to go to the visitor control center with your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card. They will verify your identity and purpose for your visit, then run a quick background check. If nothing pops up regarding felony convictions, felony arrest warrants, or other types of derogatory information related to criminal history or terrorism, you will be able to access the installation. If Camp Pendleton has ID enrollment capabilities, you can have your VHIC enrolled for recurring access so that you don’t have to stop at the visitor control center every time you go to the installation.

  24. Patrick Larson    

    Would this allow disabled veterans 0%-100% service connection to have access to places like Hale Koa, Shades of Green etc?

  25. Yolanda M. Adkins    

    I see that spouses are included. Is it only current spouses? Or are spouses that were married during the veterans time as in over 10 yrs or more be included? As many of us did the time with them??? We suffered separation, anxiety, all the unknowns also, should we not be included?

    1. JW    

      Yolanda, you are mistaken. Family members are not included in this benefit.

      1. Mo Ransom    

        Your last sentence says it all. You should not be included. Want the bennies, keep the relationship. OR better yet, get into the service and do your time.

    2. Jennifer Perez    

      You must be joking. You definitely did not serve

    3. Frank the Tank    

      No Yolanda. You gave up the relationship and didn’t serve so you get nothing but a spot on the dependa wall of shame.

      Entitlement- Party of you.

    4. Regio    

      it says veterans. You did not serve.

  26. Freddie Gravely    

    All you had to say was that before you ask a question try checking the FAQs. Be kind, do unto others: Matthew 7:12. Just saying.

  27. David    

    Your VA Healthcare Card will allow you on base. Then you’ll be issued a separate DOD ID Card. Your spouse can get an ID also.

    1. JW    

      David, you are mistaken. DoD is not issuing ID cards for veterans and caregivers who are eligible for these benefits under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018. DoD is allowing eligible veterans to use their Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card to verify identity and eligibility. Primary family caregivers will be allowed to show their eligibility letter from the Office of Community Care paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport to verify identity and eligibility.

      Family members are not eligible for these privileges.

  28. Joy Marshall    

    I wish they would have asked the disabled veterans what they needed most before simply deciding to give commissary MWR and exchange privileges to every single veteran.

    Personally, I’m 90%, and I could use Dental Care.

    I do not understand how this came about and why they chose to give us the “privilege” to spend our hard-earned money at their facility instead of providing us care for dental or hearing, something that some of us need much more. Does anyone know who passed this and what the process was of deciding?

    I’m not trying to be ungrateful but it looks like they’ve just decided to throw us a bone and it didn’t matter what bone it was and it didn’t matter if it helps anyone or not, they just decided to throw us a scrap and hoped we wanted it. Any comments?

    1. David DeCastro    

      Hello. I have 17 disabilities, served 4 years in the navy. Top honors in the coldest bootcamp -40. I have recorded the V.A. 3 million veteran have been cut from receiving and VA benefits. I had no medical for 15 years and are deathly disabled. If you get 90% disability then you have enough money to get your teeth fixed! Stop whining! I drowned 5 times a day plus so much more. So please before you put pen to paper rethink it first. I have been left to die for 30 years since I was honorably discharged. NO MEDICAL!! took 8 years to get my disability, all while trying to figure out how to survive. Not 1 veteran or veteran organization has stepped up to save my life!!! So sad

      1. Joe    

        You “drowned 5 times a day“ and you’re asking someone to think before they type. I love it.

    2. JW    

      The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 was included in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. That’s how this came about. DoD, with the help of VA, is implementing the law.

    3. AP    

      The VA offers hearing aids your hearing loss has to qualify. Go ask for a consult at the VA specialty clinic in your area.

      1. Terry Day    

        With a 90% disability rating, hearing aids should be automatic, if needed. You don’t have to be service connected for hearing loss to get hearing aids. Example: I was 30% service connected I requested a CPAP. I was NOT RATED for sleep apnea by the VA. With proper medical proof of sleep apnea, the VA gave me a CPAP and lifetime supplies.

  29. W ROBERT HUNZIKER    

    How can I determine where these facilities are located in my area?

    1. JW    

      Robert, if you click on the links for the different retail organizations that are included in the blog post above, you should find a store locator function.

  30. rudy carpenter    

    ok, this is my second post as it appears my first post was deleted…..

    i have service connected on va medical card. however it has an expiration date on it when i turn 65 when im eligible for medicare.
    so what happens then, will i be able to access the bx, commissary etc and still use?

    1. SMSgt M.C. McDermott (Ret)    

      Just renew your VA card once it expires.

  31. Carl Walker    

    Thank You for this new addition to Veteran’s benefits. Unless the liberal politicians gain control of our government things can only get better for Vets and their families in the future

  32. DOLORES EMMA KEELER    

    I rhink the commenters who complain abou people who ask questions that are answered n the article and and accuse those people of being lazy should not be so judgmental and show more understanding.

    I have read the complete article and still do not understand if I am eligible.

    1. JW    

      Delores, if you’re a veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart, a veteran who was a former prisoner of war, a veteran with a service-connected disability rating anywhere from 0-90%, or an individual assessed, approved, and designated as the primary family caregiver for an eligible veteran under the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, then you’re eligible.

      The second part is that you need to have the right credentials to gain access to the benefit. For veterans, it is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card. If you’re a veteran who meets one of these criteria and you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility for the VHIC and the application process. For primary family caregivers, it’s an eligibility letters from the Office of Community Care paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. Eligibility letters are being mailed and should be delivered to primary family caregivers before January 1.

  33. Michael Parisi    

    As a vet with a 60% service-connected, I know I will be eligible. Will a spouse who is not a caregiver be allowed to accompany me to the commissary or exchange?

    1. Susan De La Paz    

      They only check the ID of the person paying at the checkout.

    2. JW    

      Michael, yes, guests may accompany you into the facilities, but they cannot make any purchases. Keep in mind that the veteran and guest will have to stop at the installation visitor control center for the standard security checks to enter the installation. The veteran will have to show their Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath the photo on the front of the card; and the guest will need to have an acceptable credential with them (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are usually the easiest).

  34. Julienne Thibeau    

    My husband and I are veterans not retired but we receive 10% service connected disability. Do we qualify to use the commissary and bx?
    Thank you,
    Julienne Thibeau

    1. JW    

      Julienne, veterans with a 10% service-connected disability rating do qualify for this benefit. You’ll also need a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card. If you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  35. Don Lee    

    I have a facility use card from Joint Base MDL (Mainly used to play golf) and I am enrolled in the VA Health System with zero % disability. Am I entitled to shop at the PX? Thank you!

    1. Steve Church    

      “recreation retail services”. does this include the campgrounds?

      1. JW    

        Steve, it definitely includes RV campgrounds and probably includes primitive campgrounds if they are connected to the RV campgrounds.

    2. James Stewart    

      Please cut and paste the below link and go to page 10 of the PDF.

      Here is the Fact Sheet and the link to it: http://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Factsheets/expanding-access-fact-sheet.pdf

      Q: When does the shopping benefit start?
      A: Jan. 1, 2020.
      Phase one includes access to commissaries, military exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation retail activities
      (in-person and online) for:

      • Veterans eligible solely under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 (Purple Heart
      recipients, former prisoners of war, and veterans with a Department of Veterans Affairs-documented service connected
      disability rating of 0-90 percent) who possess and present a Veteran Health Identification Card

      • Individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran under the VA
      Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers who possess and present a letter from the VA
      Office of Community Care that indicates eligibility for these privileges, paired with an acceptable credential
      (e.g., REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or U.S. passport)

      Future phases of rollout will address acceptable credentials for eligible veterans and caregivers and consideration
      and criteria for other eligible caregivers.

    3. JW    

      Don, if you have a 0% service-connected disability rating and a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, then you’re set. You cannot use a locally issued facility use card to make purchases at commissaries or exchanges. The VHIC marked as I just mentioned is the credential that DoD will accept as proof of identity and eligibility for commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facility use. In fact, after January 1, you won’t even need the facility use card to access the golf course anymore, because your VHIC will authorized you to access the installation and the golf course. If you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

      1. Kristina Reynolds    

        Ok, I read everything and I know that I qualify. My question is- for the MWR, does that include tickets (like universal and disney) and travel (lodging, etc)? I saw that Shades of Green is included. but tickets to sea world, etc is what I’m wondering about?

        1. JW    

          Kristina, the good news is that MWR’s AmericanForcesTravel.com (a discount leisure travel booking site) is definitely a revenue-generating MWR activity and access is included beginning on January 1. In-person tickets and travel offices are still a gray-area MWR activity. Even though you have to pay for these purchases, technically, they are not a revenue-generating MWR activities by DoD’s definition. I just found out that DoD is still working out the policy for MWR activities that fall into this gray area (so I definitely need to go back and correct a few of my earlier responses). They should have it sorted out before January 1. On a side note, you should keep in mind that there are many discount tickets sold by MWR that the vendors have placed restrictions on, so not everyone can purchase or use them.

        2. Ron. Miller    

          I am 100% P&T. I just checked AmericanForcesTravel.com for prices for a trip I am planning. After selecting my travel dates, the website asked for last four, DOB and last name for verification purposes. It let me in so I guess 100% P&T vets are already authorized to use that service.

          United Airlines – New Orleans to Incheon, Korea for my selected dates on their site – $1552.25
          Same flight with same dates on United Airlines website – $1553.
          Same flight with same dates on JustFly.com – $1556.80

          I’m not seeing a lot of benefit through AmericanForcesTravel.com – Am I missing something?

  36. RC    

    ok, i read the FAQ but have a question that was not mentioned.

    my VA service connected has an expiration date on it when I turn 65, what happens to my privileges for using the commissary, bx, etc after that?

  37. Inger Jones    

    Johnetta, I am a 8 year Army reservist veteran and I receive 80% service connected disability. Have you checked into your disability status (if any?) You may even qualify for 0%. Just a thought.

    1. William Spencer    

      Veterans with the VA Service Conncted ID card will have access to the base after initial visit to the base security office. I live in a location where six various military bases. Will I have to visit all six base security offices for access. OR ‘ Will there be a VA ID central data base used by the guards at each different base that will recognize my VA ID without having to visit each individual security office.

      1. JW    

        William, I would recommend you check with the visitor control center personnel when you visit your first installation. You will likely have to enroll at each installation that is a different Military Service, but you might be enrolled for multiple installations in the immediate area if they are all the same Military Service. There is definitely not a single enrollment option for all military installations.

  38. Charleen Anderson    

    No one who is asking question already addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions should be allowed these privileges. If you are too lazy to read for yourself, you don’t deserve the privileges. Ninety-nine percent of the questions asked above were answered in the FAQs.

    1. James Harwood    

      Well consider if they are disabled and are unable to comprehend written instruction. You should not judge especially if the content is related to disabilities. You should be ashamed for shaming a fellow past or present military veteran.

    2. K G    

      That’s stupid. Shut up

    3. Tim McManus    

      Not everyone is just able to do the simplest of tasks, myself included. Maybe you might consider the mindset of an individual who has pretty much nothing but a lot of excuses, no follow up and because of the extra hardship just doesn’t need a brother reminding them of their liabilities. Just saying, were talking about the awesome chance to pay more for their items.
      Thank you,
      Tim

  39. Dean Hanson    

    I am confused. I retired in 1983 (no disabilities) with full commissary. exchange, mwr and other privileges. The only identification required was my retired id. Does this new policy mean that retired veterans’ privileges will be cancelled on 1/1/2020?

    1. Eddie Mamaid    

      No. The subject of this article is for Veterans who are NOT retired who is a recipient of MOH, Purple Heart, and Disabled Veterans with 100 percent disability.
      BOTTOM LINE – If you are a RETIREE, you have access to commissary & Exchange priveleges with or without disability.

      1. Willett D Burch    

        My husband is deceased, he was 100%, am I eligible to receive ID or can I use his?

    2. The Exchange    

      No. Your retired privileges will not be cancelled.

      1. Steven P Catanich    

        Veteran’s with 0 to 90% service connected disability ratings will now have these privileges. I believe that 100% service connected already did. This is an expansion and nobody who already had these benefits will lose them.

    3. JW    

      Dean, there is no change to the benefits that military retirees, Medal of Honor recipients, and 100% disabled veterans receive under DoD policy. This is a new benefit specifically for Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90%, and individuals assessed, approved, and designated as caregivers for eligible veterans under VA caregiver programs.

  40. Cornelius Edwin Hill    

    I was awarded 100% disability in Aug 2014, for prostrate cancer from exposure to agent orange in VN (1968-1969) and was Honorably discharged from the Regular Army (Army of the United States) in Jan 1970. My VA Health card reflects “Service Incurred”

    After my prostratectomy my disability was down graded to 50% as of Nov 2019 (which is under appeal).

    I assume that effective Jan 1, 2020 I will still be eligible for the benefits outlined in the VA news letter.

    I am unfamilar with the “travel” benefits. Where can I find more information?

    My spouse of 54 years should be eligible for the same benefits once i register/enroll her in the “Care Giver” program. Is thisLeave a Reply
    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
    We are both approved traveler under the PSA, does that help with access to Fort Sam Houston??

    Comment correct?

    Will she be issued an ID by the VA as a “care-giver”?

    1. JW    

      Cornelius, if you have a 50% service-connected disability rating and a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, then you’re set. The VHIC marked as I just mentioned is the credential that DoD will accept as proof of identity and eligibility for commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facility use. If you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

      If your spouse is assessed, approved, and designated as your primary family caregiver under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, then she would also be eligible for these benefits. If she does not qualify to be a primary family caregiver, she can still accompany you into the facilities, she just cannot make any purchases. To get her on base as a guest, you will have to stop at the installation visitor control center for the standard security checks to enter the installation. The veteran will have to show their Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath the photo on the front of the card; and the guest will need to have an acceptable credential with them (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are usually the easiest).

      If you’re asking about AmericanForcesTravel.com, it is a leisure travel booking website that offers great deals for eligible users. You will be eligible for this beginning January 1.

  41. HUBERT A FARRELL    

    So I get my healthcare at the Omaha VA Hospital, I’m not service connected and do not have a disability. Can my VA ID Card get me on base, commissary etc, MWR etc?

    1. Tia Gale    

      No you can’t. Read the article again.

    2. David    

      Only veterans with a service connected disability rating 0%-90%, Purple Heart recipients, former POW’s, and approved caregivers.

    3. JW    

      Hubert, if your VA ID card is not a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card, then it will not get you on an installation for commissary, exchange, or MWR privileges.

  42. Sean Funchess    

    Does it include fitness center access? Also does this include OCONUS bases?

    1. Sean Funchess    

      I found the answer for the OCONUS question.

    2. JW    

      Sean, it does not include fitness center access. Fitness centers are one of the critical MWR programs that supports mission readiness for our military members.

      This benefit extends to installations in the United States and in the U.S. territories and possessions, so the OCONUS installations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Marianas are included. Installations in overseas foreign countries are subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host nations.

  43. Liz Reed    

    Why are people not reading the article?
    99% of these questions are answered in the article. It states exactly the new benefit and what to do and not do…
    The MP’s have their work cut out for them…

    1. Dennis Muraoka    

      Liz,
      I totally agree with your comments.

    2. Teri    

      Ditto Liz. People please read, know the facts before you go to the base. Base operations must continue. this new policy is good but not for the MPs.

  44. Israel Guadalupe    

    How my dental, eyes, hearing for me and spouse if stayed 20 years when I enlisted in 1966?1

  45. Israel Guadalupe    

    Retired 22 years AF. No problem with this new benefits for none retired veterans. But, I do have problems, if government can do this, then why they can also give 1960s veterans that where promises full dental, hospital, eye care and hearing to include spouses, if they stay 20 years and layer it was taken from us that enlisted under lies? It seems the Px, commissary and liquors store are running out of clientele (mostly baby boomers) that are tired of being used.

  46. R. Jackson    

    Dear Sir, Mam. I”m 50% Service Connected and retired after 31 years as a Health Tech for the VA. I’m I Eligible?

    1. Tisa Johnson    

      Yes, the article stated all service- connected veterans.

    2. David    

      Any veteran with a service connected disability. 0%-90%.

    3. JW    

      R, if you have a 50% service-connected disability rating and a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, then you’re set. The VHIC marked as I just mentioned is the credential that DoD will accept as proof of identity and eligibility for commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facility use. If you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  47. Anthony J. Harris    

    When was it not great. Or are you saying go back to the way things were pre civil Rights movement because at that time it wasn’t great. Please explain yourself as a veteran I find that statement ridiculous

  48. Joe V    

    Can someone clarify whether this benefit includes stays at MWR lodging such as the Navy Lodge, Getaway Inns, Army Lodge, et al?

    1. David    

      Yes, we stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel in Hawaii as well as the Nellis lnn at NAFB.

    2. JW    

      Joe, it sounds like David already has DoD privileges through another authority, because this benefit for veterans awarded the Purple Heart, veterans who are former prisoners of war, veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 0-90%, and individuals assessed, approved, and designated as caregivers for eligible veterans under a VA caregiver program doesn’t kick in until January 1.

      That said, yes, MWR recreational lodging is included (e.g., RV campgrounds, cabins, cottages, military resorts), as is lodging run by the exchanges (Navy Lodge).

  49. Annette T Belk    

    Do you have to be disabled to be eligible or can veterans with 0%disability be eligible as well?

    Annette

    1. Anthony J. Harris    

      According to the article 0% to 90% you are eligible

    2. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      Veterans that are at 0% is considered a disable veteran.

      1. Orrace Clifton Eley    

        There are 0% disability rating that is considered service connected. Unless you are referring to not submitting for disability compensation and pension, then of course you will considered a regular veteran.

        1. Orrace Clifton Eley    

          And not eligible for a service connected Veteran Health Card.

    3. Bruce E Stevenson    

      this is a disability rating with 0 compensation. for me, prostate problem with no physical limitations.

    4. JW    

      Annette, if you have a service-connected disability rating anywhere from 0-90% and a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, then you’re set. The VHIC marked as I just mentioned is the credential that DoD will accept as proof of identity and eligibility for commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facility use. If you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  50. Chad Robb    

    I am eligible under the guidelines but how do I get on the base? Does my VA card work at the gate?

    1. Charles C.    

      I assume that’s what’s going to change on Jan 1st. Does anyone know if they excluded firearms and alcohol?

      1. JW    

        Charles, the only purchase restrictions for newly eligible veterans and caregivers for veterans are uniform items at the exchanges.

    2. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      Your Veteran Health Card with service connected on it is sufficient.

    3. Raymond Blauvelt    

      I live overseas. I tried mi VHIC at the nearby base front gate in October. They initially said it was not valid for post access. I insisted they scan it and they did. I was then allowed on base very cordially. I wasn’t able to use the commissary or px but was allowed to get on the base. Commissary and px will lick in come 1Jan 2020.

      1. JW    

        Raymond, installations in overseas foreign countries may not be accessible due to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host nations. And access with a VHIC to installations that do not have VA medical centers is not authorized until January 1, 2020.

    4. JW    

      Chad, if you VA card is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, then you’re set. The VHIC marked as I just mentioned is the credential that DoD will accept as proof of identity and eligibility for commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facility use. If you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  51. Judson Stevens    

    Is the Halekoa Hotel in Hawaii considers a MWR facility?

    1. Larry Young    

      I’m under the impression that if you are 100% disable,you are allowed on any and all bases to use the Commissary/Bx and Px.Im 100% myself and have a General Under Honorable Conditions and there isn’t an expiration on the card I was issued.the expiration date is marked INDEFINITELY..card also marked Ex/Bx/MWR AND Commissary.I live in Colorado in the metro Denver area,there are a lot of bases in Colorado and all said I can get a replacement if needed.read the article in its entirety,talk to someone at the DAV.hope I have been of some help.Good Luck.

      1. JW    

        Larry, if you are a 100% disabled veteran, then you have DoD privileges under DoD policy, so you already have access to these benefits. The new access to benefits is for veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, veterans who are former prisoners of war, veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90%, and individuals assessed, approved, and designated as caregivers for eligible veterans under a VA caregiver program. These newly eligible veterans will not be issued a DoD ID card. Newly eligible veterans will use a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, and eligible caregivers will use an eligibility letter from the Office of Community Care paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport to access military installations and these benefits.

    2. David    

      Yes, we stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel in Hawaii as well as the Nellis lnn at NAFB.

      1. JW    

        David, if you’ve already stayed in MWR lodging, then you have different privileges than these newly eligible veterans and caregivers. Their access is slightly different from yours and theirs doesn’t start until January 1.

    3. JW    

      Judson, yes, the Kale Koa Hotel in Hawaii is an MWR facility.

  52. Dominic Westfall    

    I’m 100% VA rated. Last year, when we went on base to get my wife’s DoD ID renewed, they refused to do it AND confiscated mine stating that my General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions did not qualify me for a DoD ID. I have been going round and round with this since. VA says that I am eligible but ID card office on base says no. If no is correct, why was I issued the card to begin with and why does VA still say yes, I’m eligible?

    1. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      You should have been issued a Service-Connected Veteran Health Card, which is sufficient for access to the base. Take that to the Visitor’s Center for a base pass.

    2. Stephen    

      Contact the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for help with this. It is a FREE service for veterans by veterans. They have offices everywhere – do a google search for one near you. Good Luck.

  53. Ahah    

    “Make America Great Again”

    1. Michael Cowan    

      The best way to “Make America Great Again” is to get that Draft Dodging old man out of office ASAP!!

      1. Jim Marow    

        The HONORABLE President Trump IS making America great again! Look at his promises made, promises kept. You watch too much FAKE NEWS…..

      2. Anthony J. Harris    

        According to the article your VA healthcare ID card has to say service-connected on it and yes at the gate is how you would use it according to the article

      3. Anthony J. Harris    

        Amen brother you are 100% correct 6 deferments to keep from protecting the country get him out of office immediately vote 2020

      4. Mark Hayes    

        Michael Cowan – You would rather have Lying HildeBeast who left my Navy Brothers in Arms die in Benghazi? Then say At this point what difference does it make??? President Trump will win in a landslide! Go Trump 2020!

      5. Brian Baca    

        Clinton is not in office anymore.

      6. William D Lowe    

        That draft dodging (as you call him) old man has done more for our military and nation than any other president since Ronald Reagan held that position.

      7. Barbara Matthews    

        He is why we are getting these additional benefits.
        Prior administration tried to shrink military as much as possible making us weak. Didn’t care about veterans at all. Try watching FOX news instead of the liberal crap.

    2. John Owens    

      The truth is the bill that extends these privileges to veterans was sign while Senator McCain was battling brain cancer.

      The full title of the bill, which passed the Senate on a 92-5 vote Wednesday, is the “John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018.”

      The bill is designated for McCain and Rep. Samuel Johnson, a Texas Republican, both of whom were prisoners of war in Vietnam, and also for Daniel Akaka, a former Hawaii Democratic senator and World War II veteran who died in April.

      Let’s give credit where it is due—to the true heroes that demonstrated true patriotism—even when it came to putting themselves in danger for the sake of liberty.

  54. Michael Murray7    

    So if I’m understanding this right, a Vietnam Nam era veteran with no disabilities cannot take advantage of this even tho they use the VA for their health issues and have the VA medical card, right?

    1. Ray Green    

      Yes, You will be able to use the facilities as of 1-1-20.

      1. william browning    

        only if you have a service connected disability rating.

    2. Christopher Hamel    

      You are understanding it right, unfortunately.

    3. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      Correct. 0% – 90% service connected on VA Health Card

    4. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      Veterans:
      *Purple Heart recipients
      *former prisoners of war
      *Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings

    5. JW    

      Michael, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card, then you will have access beginning January 1.

  55. D. Rush    

    I am 80% service connected, does this new privilege allow me access to Class Six store to purchase alcohol or tobacco products?

    1. JW    

      D, if you have an 80% service-connected disability rating and a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, then you’re set. The VHIC marked as I just mentioned is the credential that DoD will accept as proof of identity and eligibility for commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facility use. This includes the Class Six store and the ability to purchase alcohol and tobacco products. If you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  56. Robert Anchors    

    I’m upset about them not letting members on base that have had a felony conviction. My brother got one when he was a teenager living on the street. He went on to serve honorably in the Marines with an honorable discharge. Are you seriously going to tell me because of this he is going to be screwed over! Really!

    1. Anthony J. Harris    

      Seems that way by the article but all you have to do is file a claim if anything at all that’s wrong with you related to the military service even if you get a 0% rating you will be allowed to use these privileges

    2. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      What you do will follow you. Good, bad and indifferent.

    3. Ferrell Naputi    

      Exactly my sentiment on this subject. What makes this any better for Veterans who have served honorably and then get a slap in the face and told no way are you getting on base.8

    4. JW    

      Robert, that rule applies to anyone visiting an installation, not just newly eligible veterans and caregivers.

  57. Joseph Carr    

    You all really need to read the article before posting! It clearly answers a lot of the questions that are being asked…..but here it is in a nutshell.

    You must be enrolled in VA healthcare and obtain the ID – the link to do that is listed. If you are a Veteran and don’t have a service connected disability rating of 0-90 percent (yes 0 percent is a rating!!!) then you cannot utilize these new services – those at 100% rating already have access. Also, your VA ID must list “Service Connected” “Purple Heart” or “POW” under your name, just being enrolled in the healthcare program without those won’t work.

    If you are overseas, you will still have to adhere to the host nation’s Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which more than likely, this new program won’t change for you. Some countries are fairly strict in what they are going to allow.

    You should be able to bring a guest with you, similar to if you went with someone now that had a ID to get in, you or they just wouldn’t be able to purchase anything on their own. Remember that base access and Commissary/PX/BX access will be different so the VA can’t tell you whether or not you can “get on base”, that will have to be up to the local installation on/how they’ll accept the VA ID (more than likely they’ll allow it along with your DL or other form of ID).

    When I obtained my VA ID, I had to visit the local VA hospital in person, get my picture taken, then a few weeks later it showed up in the mail. But again, read the Article!!!!!!

    1. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      GREAT…THANK YOU…PLEASE READ PEOPLE!!!

  58. Kenneth Kodadek    

    I have a vhic, but it’s a few years old and doesn’t indicate the 10% service related disability from a recent claim. Since the qualifier indicates 0 to 90%, my current card ‘should’ be sufficient, but is it common to get a card replaced if if it doesn’t reflect a change in disability?

    1. Diane    

      It is very easy to get your card switched to a new one that states “service connected”. I’ve always been service connected, but my original card did not state that. Simple process.

    2. Anthony J. Harris    

      The card must show service-connected otherwise it will not work

    3. Orrace Clifton Eley    

      Your card should say Service-Connected, whether 0% – 90%. That card is sufficient.

    4. Gil Golti    

      I have an older vhic card that i received before being diagnosed 70% disabled. The card does not reflect that I have a disability. I simply called a local VA number and they verified my personal info including my updated disability rating (it’s in the system nationwide). Through this call, I confirmed my address and DOB and was told that I’d receive my updated vhic card through the mail (with the picture they already had on hand) within 7 to 10 days. No need to travel anywhere, it can be done via phone call to any local VA office in the states. Hope this helps..

    5. JW    

      Kenneth, the Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) must display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card. DoD needs this for visual verification of identity and eligibility, since not everyone who has a VHIC is eligible for these privileges.

  59. Dan    

    Um, sorry to disappoint but Service Connected Veterans have been able to use the PX/BX for the last 20 years! I have been using it since 1995 and I never had to do anything other then show my VA card and that has been in every state of the Union.

    1. Jason Brown    

      You can’t get on post here without being 100% disabled as a vet. Nice try though.

    2. Nicole D Samuel    

      no we couldn’t only 100% disabled could. this is for 0%-90% service connected and purple heart recipients

      1. Jeff Moomau    

        This does not take affect until Jan 1 2020

    3. Anthony J. Harris    

      Sorry but that’s not true most bases will not let you on simply because you have a VA card now they all have to honor the VA card

    4. Barbara Matthews    

      Glad you have been able to use it. I have been disabled for years, I D says so, and could not use unless 100%

    5. JW    

      Dan, you are mistaken. Even if you are a 100% disabled veteran, you would have to show a DoD ID card to get onto a military installation and shop at military exchange facilities. A VA card has not been an authorized form of ID for DoD privileges up to this point. On January 1, 2020, DoD will begin accepting a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) displaying “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card for newly eligible veterans to show proof of identity and eligibility for military commissary, exchange, and MWR retail privileges.

  60. BARBARA ANDERSON    

    I have the VA health card, was denied disability at time of discharge from Navy due to asthma being pre-existing; however, my asthma became very disabling after a couple bouts of severe respiratory infections while at medical corp school in the Great Lakes region. It took many months to be able to function properly and as of now, my lung capacity is minimal.

    I also was employed by DOD most of my 23 years of Civil Service and am allowed on bases, but do not have commissary, nor exchange privileges, which I would love.

    Would I be able to use my DOD i.d. and the VA health card in January 2020 to access these locations?

    1. JW    

      Barbara, unless you are entitled to commissary and exchange privileges as a DoD civilian (assigned overseas), you cannot use your DoD ID card to access commissary and exchange privileges. To access these benefits as an eligible veteran, you must use a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card. If your VHIC is not marked as I just mentioned, then you would not be eligible for these privileges.

  61. Tim Galloway    

    I am a Service Connected Disabled Veteran, will my spouse be able to enter the commissary with me beginning January 1st?

    1. Philip J Cross    

      does a 5 point vet with a Letter that procLaims that he has LifeLong benefits on tooth #9 that he chipped on an m-16 bracket quaLify for this benefit?

      1. JW    

        Philip, if all of that qualifies you for a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath the photo on the front of the card, then yes. If not, then no.

    2. Gary Davis    

      Get her own card. She could get one just like yours.

      1. Douglas Darnielle    

        So my wife and daughter can come on the base with me? It would be kinda of crazy if l would be the only one to get on.

      2. JW    

        Gary, family members are not eligible for this benefit.

    3. Josh Brody    

      I believe the only person able to “pay for and buy” at the commissary will be the VA ID holder.

      1. Carl Skinner    

        See abuse coming with this change, especially in San Antonio area military bases. Hope the bases can handle the invasion of hoarders.

      2. David    

        I’m 100% and have had this privilege since 2014. My spouse was issued his own ID card and uses the BX/commissary by himself.

        1. JW    

          David, as a 100% disabled veteran, you have privileges under DoD policy. This is a new benefit, slightly different from yours, that is specific to Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90%, and individuals assessed, approved, and designated as caregivers for eligible veterans under VA caregiver programs.

    4. JW    

      Tim, yes, guests may accompany you into the facilities, but they cannot make any purchases. Keep in mind that the veteran and guest will have to stop at the installation visitor control center for the standard security checks to enter the installation. The veteran will have to show their Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath the photo on the front of the card; and the guest will need to have an acceptable credential with them (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are usually the easiest).

  62. John DiPaola    

    I see the Navy Lodge emblem above. Do the expanded privileges include Space-A use of military lodging facilities?

    1. David    

      Space-A is available starting Jan 1, 2020 for service connection rating of 100% permanent and total. If you’re not permanent and total you’re not eligible.

    2. JW    

      John, this new benefit does include space-available use of the Navy Lodge, which is a Navy Exchange operation. It also includes MWR recreational lodging, RV campgrounds, cabins, cottages, and military resort properties. Nothing is firm yet on access to permanent change of station of temporary duty lodging facilities.

  63. Richard Odum    

    How do I get on base? What ID do I show at the gate?

    1. JW    

      Richard, on your first visit to an installation, stop at the visitor control center and show them your VHIC that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card. The security folks will have to run a basic background check for criminal history and terrorism. If you’re cleared, you will have access. If the installation has ID enrollment capabilities, you can be enrolled for recurring access so that you don’t have to stop at visitor control every time you want to go shopping.

  64. Ferrell Naputi    

    As with all other individuals seeking access to DoD installations, all eligible veterans must pass a basic on-the-spot background check prior to enrolling and an automated check each time they enter the installation. Veterans with felony convictions, felony arrest warrants or other types of derogatory information related to criminal history or terrorism will not be permitted entry.

    The above statement then is also a double standard. What about Veterans with higher than just service connected who have prior records are they allowed access on base? I feel that all Veterans who have prior records and are service connect should be given at least a chance. They should be able to check in whenever they want to go on base. This way they their location is known at all times and can be monitored if needed. To make a statement to not authorized them is not serving our Veteran’s who have made major or minor mistakes in their lives but have served honorably. No one is perfect but we should all learned from our past and do better as we move forward in life.

    1. Ernest James Thurston    

      If you try to enter some installations with a VHC you will be turned around. Most installations only recognize Active duty and Retired IDs. I asked the gate guard at Ft McClellan if a VA card would get me in. He said, ‘No.’. Luckily I have a Retired ID card. Marine Base Quantico will give you access to the base with a state driver’s license as will many bases. I’m not sure you can make purchases in the Commissary and BX. I’ve used my Retired ID to access bases all over the country but never tried using only a VA Health Card. I also know I can use my Retired ID to go on AMC military aircraft, but they comply with TSA regs now and do background checks just like going on a commercial flight. AAFES/MWR is hurting for cash just like many stores outside the gate. Other than the tax savings and that profits go to MWR that supports troop morale, the PX/BX/Commissary is not the bargain it was 30 years ago. When you figure that most local bases are now closed meaning you have to drive long distances and that the PX sells named branded items with name-brand prices. Wal Mart and Amazon will usually beat their prices and you don’t have to travel. Of course, it’s always fun to get your “Green Fix” and go down memory lane on the post.

      1. Paul Brosam    

        Ft McClellan was shut down in 1999 as part of base realignment. It was also heavily contaminated.

      2. JW    

        Ernest, on January 1, 2020, DoD will begin accepting a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) displaying “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card for newly eligible veterans to show proof of identity and eligibility for military commissary, exchange, and MWR retail privileges. This new benefit is slightly different from your benefits as a military retiree.

    2. JW    

      Ferrell, the same security protocols are followed for any visitor to an installation, DoD is not singling out the newly eligible veterans.

  65. Mark Jennette    

    Shopping these facilities is no benefit anymore, and the farther you drive to get there, the less of a deal it is! I’m guessing the only reason it’s being opened to all honorably discharged veterans, is because prices have risen so much in both the commissary and BX/PX, that currently authorized shoppers who must drive 20 miles or more have stopped patronizing them.

    1. Patrick J. Rice    

      Amazon, WalMart, etc. combined with all of the other online retailers are giving the commissary/exchange a run for their money. Won’t be long before you see stateside farmed out to retailers – and with onliners shipping to APO/AFO the overseas exchange days are also numbered – will become expresses with limited stock. As I see it only the overseas commissaries will survive.

      1. The Exchange    

        Hi Mark, thank you for your service, and for your feedback. Your Exchange benefit is strong. The Exchange’s financial statements are audited annually by a third-party company; you can find our most recent annual report here: https://publicaffairs-sme.com/Community/2018annualreport.

    2. JW    

      Mark, you are mistaken. While online military exchange shopping privileges were extended to all honorably discharged veterans on November 11, 2017 through the DoD’s Veterans Online Shopping Benefit, in-store shopping is not being extended this broadly. The new in-store shopping access that takes effect on January 1 is for veterans who were awarded the Purple Heart, veterans who are former prisoners of war, veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90%, and individuals assessed, approved, and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

  66. Lanadra    

    Hello all,

    I am a 60% veteran but have no idea what is a MWR facility that everyone is speaking of. Can someone help me with this information?
    And that you for extended the offer, it’s much appreciated..

    Happy belated Veterans Day to you all
    God bless

    1. Alma Smith    

      MWR is Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office on base. You go to buy discounted tickets to theme parks, plan vacations, etc.

    2. Zachary Fraley    

      MWR stands for Morale, Welfare and Recreation. MWR facilities would include Base/Camp/Post/Station Gyms, Pools, Libraries, Outdoor Recreation, Bowling Allies, Golf Courses. There may be other MWR facilities depending on location.

    3. JW    

      Lanadra, morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) retail facilities include RV campgrounds, recreational lodging like cabins and cottages and military resort properties…also golf, bowling, restaurants, marinas, equipment check out, entertainment, special interest activities like flying clubs, movie theaters, vehicle storage, kennels, and leisure travel which includes AmericanForcesTravel.com. Discount tickets may be available, but know that sometimes the vendors put restrictions on who can buy/use them, so all of the tickets might not be authorized. The MWR facilities that directly support mission readiness or support for military members and their families are not included, like gyms, fitness centers, libraries, child development programs, etc.

      1. JW    

        Landra, I wanted to correct my earlier response. In-person tickets and travel offices are still a gray-area MWR activity. Even though you have to pay for these purchases, technically, they are not a revenue-generating MWR activities by DoD’s definition. I just found out that DoD is still working out the policy for MWR activities that fall into this gray area. They should have it sorted out before January 1.

  67. Lanadra    

    Hello all,

    I am a 60% veteran but have no idea what is a MWR facility that everyone is speaking of. Can someone help me with this information?
    And that you for extended the offer, it’s much appreciated..

    Happy belated Veterans Day to you all
    God belss

    1. Brian    

      MWR stands for morale, welfare, and recreation.
      https://www.navymwr.org/

      They typically will schedule outings and trips that you can sign up for. Also have good resources for tickets to theme parks and events in your area at discounted rates. Most have rental equipment from campers to kayaks, and bounce houses. Even had one that would rent ATV’s.

    2. Jimmie Walton    

      MWR is a military acronym that stands for Morale, Welfare and Recreation. The term is given to a complete range of community support and quality of life programs for members of the Armed Forces, their families, and retirees at more than 2,000 facilities on U.S. military bases throughout the world.

  68. Floyd w jones jr    

    I am Floyd w Jones Jr I am service connected I am still whiting on my rating can I still apply

    1. JW    

      Floyd, you won’t be able to access military installations or the benefits unless you’ve got a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card. DoD needs this for visual verification of identity and eligibility, because not everyone who has a VHIC is eligible for these benefits.

  69. Tom Benjey    

    I am a 60% service-connected Vietnam veteran. Does my income matter for getting the VHIC?

    1. Brian    

      MWR stands for morale, welfare, and recreation.
      https://www.navymwr.org/

      They typically will schedule outings and trips that you can sign up for. Also have good resources for tickets to theme parks and events in your area at discounted rates. Most have rental equipment from campers to kayaks, and bounce houses. Even had one that would rent ATV’s.

  70. Kelly Melancon    

    How would we be able to shop at commissaries without a military id (just the VHIC)? They don’t have online shopping and almost all locations are inside a military base, which requires a military id. Are they going to allow those with only a VHIC on bases now?

    1. David    

      You’ll use your VA Healthcare ID to initially get on base then get a DOD ID issued for access to the BX. That’s how it worked when I got my card 5 years ago. Your spouse is also eligible for their own ID card.

      1. JW    

        David, if you have a DoD ID card, then you have eligibility as a military retiree or a veteran with a 100% service-connected condition. These new categories of eligible veterans are not eligible to obtain a DoD ID card and their family members are not authorized these privileges or ID cards, either.

    2. JW    

      Kelly, for veterans who are eligible in the new categories, DoD is going to accept the Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card as proof of identity and eligibility for entering an installation and accessing the commissary, exchange, or MWR retail facilities. Because the VHIC displays the new veteran categories clearly on the front of the card, it is easy to differentiate between a VHIC that is eligible (has one of the categories I mentioned) or ineligible (doesn’t have one of the categories). It’s more complicated for the primary family caregivers. Until the VA start issuing them an ID card, DoD has agreed to accept a letter from the VA Office of Community Care that indicates the primary family caregiver is eligible for DoD privileges. Primary family caregivers will have to bring this eligibility letter and an acceptable credential (like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport) with them to access the installation or any of the eligible facilities.

  71. Annette Tara Belk    

    Hello, my name is Annette and my question is will I be eligible if I do not have a disability but I am a veteran?

    1. Yoseph Alejandro    

      You must have a service connected disability in order to be eligible. Meaning something happened while on active duty and you are being treated for it thru VA. 0 to 90% disability.

    2. Jonathan Hidalgo    

      0-90% is the rating. So I think you’re still eligible.

    3. JW    

      Annette, veterans who meet any of the new criteria for in-person access must be either Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, or have a VA-documented service-connected disability rating (new rating levels are 0-90%, because 100% already have privileges). While all honorably discharged veterans are not eligible for this new in-person access, they are eligible for the Veterans Online Shopping Benefit that launched on November 11, 2017 and gives online military exchange access to all honorably discharged veterans.

  72. Erin Bloxham    

    If I am understanding correctly, I, as a 30% service-connected disability rated veteran, can access the commissaries and exchanges but not the American Forces Travel benefit? Is that correct? I do have a VHIC.
    Thanks!

    1. Glenn Sullivan    

      What it states is that if an eligible veteran (PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW, SERVICE CONNECTED) does not possess a Veteran Health Identification Card they will not have access to DoD and Coast Guard installations but will have full access to online exchanges and American Forces Travel. You must be a veteran whose VHIC card indicates you have a PURPLE HEART, are a FORMER POW or are SERVICE CONNECTED to access a military base and go to any of the available services on that base, including the use of American Forces Travel online and at the base.

      OTHERWISE, all honorably discharged veterans are eligible for online military exchange shopping through the Veterans Online Shopping Benefit ONLY. They cannot go on base, and they cannot use the American Forces Travel service.

      I hope that helps clarify things.

  73. Erin Bloxham    

    If I am understanding correctly, I, as a 30% service-connected disability rated veteran, can access the commissaries and exchanges but not the American Forces Travel benefit? Is that correct?

    Thanks!

    1. Douglas Darnielle    

      Nope..you will be able to access the travel site as well

    2. JW    

      Erin, AmericanForcesTravel.com is DoD’s online leisure travel booking website and it is a revenue-generating MWR activity, so if your VHIC says “SERVICE CONNECTED” on the front below your photo, then you may begin to use it as of January 1. (And the commissaries and exchanges, too.)

  74. Jackie Christman    

    So if you are 60% disabled you are qualified to get commissary privileges. Does that require a didn’t veterans health card

    1. David    

      You’re VA Healthcare ID has to say “Service Connected” on it in order to get on base. Then go to the ID card office and get a DOD ID.

      1. JW    

        David, the new categories of veterans (Purple Heart recipients, former POWs, and veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings) are not eligible to obtain a DoD ID card. DoD has agreed to accept their Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card for installation and privilege access.

    2. JW    

      Jackie, if you’ve got a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card, you’re all set. Your VHIC will serve as your proof of identity and eligibility for accessing installations and the DoD privileges. You are not eligible for a DoD ID card, so DO NOT go the ID card office on an installation to try to get one as David suggests. He is mistaken.

  75. Terry Boyce    

    I am a disabled Vet with 60% am I eligible to shop st the commissary? My disability is service connected.

    1. JW    

      Terry, a 60% service-connected disability rating makes you eligible, but you also have to have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card for installation and privilege access at the installation commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facilities. If you don’t have a VHIC, visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  76. Bettina Basedow    

    Hello, I am a 100% Disabled Veteran at the Housebound rate and live in Germany. I had a DAY military ID card issued when I still lived in Florida. Can I now shop in the PX and Commissary here in Germany? 7 years ago the staff there told me I couldn’t. Thank you.

    1. JW    

      Bettina, the status of forces agreement, international law, and/or agreements with host nations that currently prevents your access to the commissary and exchange in Germany as a 100% disabled veteran will likely also prevent access under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018. U.S. law only applies to the United States and the U.S. territories and possessions.

  77. Luis Macias    

    Can wife,girlfriends,siblings,kids be sponsored by us veterans to come in and shop or use the MWR facilities?

    1. Glenn Sullivan    

      This is for the PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED veteran ONLY. For anyone else going on the base with you, they must first be cleared by base security and get a pass for the day. You have to be the one making the purchases. There may be other restrictions for use of MWR services and travel too, that I do not know.

    2. David    

      Your spouse and dependent children are eligible for an ID as well. I’m rated at 100% and had this privilege for 5 years already and my spouse also has an ID card.

      1. JW    

        David, spouses and dependent children of the new categories of veterans are not eligible for these privileges or for DoD or VA ID cards. As a veterans with a 100% service-connected condition, you have eligibility for different privileges than these new veterans and caregivers for veterans.

    3. JW    

      Luis, newly eligible veterans will need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card. This ID will work for installation and privilege access at the installation commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facilities. Only the eligible veteran can make purchases, but your guests could accompany you onto the installation and into the facilities. They will also have to go through the visitor control center at the installation and must show an acceptable credential to go through the standard security screening (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are the easiest documents to bring).

      David is actually totally wrong. Family members are not authorized privileges or credentials under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018. It sounds like David is eligible under DoD policy as a 100% disabled veteran, which does authorize privileges and ID cards for family members.

  78. Darrel P Bowles    

    Your information on privileges should be more concise because anyone living outside the United States has to follow the regulations of the country they are living in, for example, if you live in Europe there is a SOFA agreement and just because you served does not mean you can use this privilege. You must first obtain pass privileges to get onto a military base then you must acquire a Customs Card for both Husband and Wife if they want to shop in an Exchange store or go to the Commissary. Please update this information because so many will be disappointed if not brought up to date.

    1. JW    

      Darrel, you are correct in that access at installations in overseas foreign countries is subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host nations. You should always check the restrictions before you go.

  79. Raymond James    

    Just want to make sure I have the correct info
    I am a server connected veteran and form what I have read your saying I have access to my local base which is Macdill air force base in Tampa fl?
    I have my ID Card will I need any other info ?

    1. JW    

      Raymond, if your ID card is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, then you’re set. If the VHIC isn’t the ID card you have, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  80. Dylan Baribeault    

    This applies to recreation (MWR) retail facilitie, but will this also allow access to MWR facilities such as FAMCAMP(RV) parks?

    1. Bill Woodward    

      Yes. You will need all of your vehicle information. IE license, proof of insurance, also a secondary form of ID.

    2. JW    

      Dylan, yes, RV parks are included.

  81. Kevin    

    Everyone keep in mind that having a VHIC does NOT automatically allow you entry onto a military installation. The VHIC is just for use at the Commissary, Exchange, etc. You will still need to have to go through the process for entry to any installation unless you already possess a military ID card.

    1. David    

      Your VA Healthcare ID will get you on base as long as it says “Service Connected”. You’ll have to go to the military ID card office on base and get a DOD ID Card (Department of Defense/Uniformed Services).With that card, you will have access to military bases, the BX, the commissary, and MWR facilities, bowling centers, fitness gyms, discounted tickets to amusement parks, etc. I’m rated at 100% and have had these privileges for 5 years.

    2. JW    

      Kevin and David, let me try to help clear things up. The VHIC can be used by veterans with medical appointments and business at VA medical centers located on military installations to access those installations regardless of what it says on the front…but that’s only for installations that have VA medical centers. To access installations without VA medical centers, the VHIC must display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” OR “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card. To access commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities, the VHIC must also display “PURPLE HEART,” FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED.” And, yes, VHIC holders will have to go through the same installation access security protocols as any visitor to an installation.

      DoD is not issuing ID cards for newly eligible veterans or caregivers. DoD is accepting the VHIC as proof of identity and eligibility for veterans and the caregiver eligibility letter paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a passport for proof of identity and eligibility for primary family caregivers.

      Also, MWR facilities are limited to the MWR retail facilities like golf, bowling, restaurants, marinas, equipment check out, etc. Fitness centers, gyms, libraries, etc. are not authorized. And discount tickets may be restricted based on agreements with vendors. Just trying to manage expectations.

      1. JW    

        Kevin and David, I wanted to correct my earlier response. In-person tickets and travel offices are still a gray-area MWR activity. Even though you have to pay for these purchases, technically, they are not a revenue-generating MWR activities by DoD’s definition. I just found out that DoD is still working out the policy for MWR activities that fall into this gray area. They should have it sorted out before January 1.

  82. Frank Johnson    

    I am presently 10 percent disable. I would like to know how I get commissary privileges an any thing else that available. Who do I need to see at the va to get my health card showing my eligibility. I live in Tennessee.

    1. Henry Willcox    

      First and foremost, thank you for your service. Quick answer; YES! “Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings”. Please understand your benefits as a veteran with the VA. My example to you; I and my wife are both USAF veterans. I have a 20% rating, and my wife with no disability, has a 0% disability rating. 0% is in fact a rating and gives you the privileges of service from the VA. So both of us receive this and many other benefits. To register for yours… Go to your local VA or VA advocate (usually can find one at the DAV or American Legion, VFW, etc…) and identify yourself as wanting to be rated. The process is much less lengthy than it used to be, so please do not fear the process. These are all benefits that you earned defending the values of America while in the United States military. I recommend that all prior service do this and see the VA! Hope this helps in any way. -Henry Willcox, SSGT, USAF.

    2. JW    

      Frank, newly eligible veterans will need to show a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card to access military installations and commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facilities. If you’ve already got a VHIC, you’re set. If you don’t, you may want to visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility for the VHIC and the application process.

  83. Marisa Orozco    

    At this point I’m a 40% percent service connected as stated on my VA ID card. My question is can my dependent children /family accompany me & enter the exchange as well?

    1. Roland Deschain    

      I have the same question.. anyone know?

    2. JW    

      Marisa, newly eligible veterans will need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card. This ID will work for installation and privilege access at the installation commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facilities. Only the eligible veteran can make purchases, but your family member may accompany you onto the installation and into the facilities. They will also have to go through the visitor control center at the installation and must show an acceptable credential to go through the standard security screening (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are the easiest documents to bring).

  84. Gabriel Ocasio    

    What percentage of service connection does it require? I am 30% service conectes.

    1. William Hinton    

      Yes, if you have a VHIC with service-connected on it.

    2. Joseph Carr    

      uh, if you read the statement, it says 0-90%, those who are 100% disabled already have the eligibility.

    3. JW    

      Gabriel, this benefit is available for veterans with service-connected disability ratings from 0-90%, so with a 30% service-connected disability rating, you are eligible. You also must have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card to access military installations and commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities beginning January 1.

  85. Michael John Fox    

    Double standards everywhere! Vets who were not injured or have no service-connected disability were just as instrumental in the military effort as any other veteran. Why the double standard?

    1. Brian Benko    

      There is no double standard. “Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings”. Make sure you read the full article before complaining about it.

    2. Luis Cano    

      I totally agree with your sentiments. I think the access to the exchanges and facilities should be extended to all honorably discharged veterans, not just those with injuries. I completely understand that the degree of sacrifices varies extensively, some by choice (length of service and MOS selection) and some by chance. Some veterans were unfortunate enough to get a disability or worse and others who served equally or for a longer time were lucky enough not to get injured. I think they ALL deserve the privileges. I enlisted to active duty at 17 years old as a combat engineer and served in the regular army, MOS 12B. I was lucky enough to not get injured. It would be nice to be able to access some of these facilities once in a while…

    3. Ken Aynes    

      Agreed, it’s disrespectful and dishonorable to exclude all who have served and put there lives on the line for our country. As a Vietnam vet that was drafted into the military I can’t even allowed access to any military base! My wife is a civilian contractor, is allowed on base and has more access than I do!! Why are all the many thousands of veterans who were drafted dishonorned as though unworthy after serving risking life and limb for our country!

      1. Yolanda Ritchley    

        A friend was dishonorably discharged and was told at separation that after 6 months he could submit and request a change from Dishonorable to Honorable Discharge, have you tried this? All they can do is say no!

    4. Nicole D Samuel    

      What double standard? if you chose to get out or did one contract that’s not our fault. Most of us were hurt and HAD to be Med boarded. If you want the perks, reenlist and do 20 years…problem solved.

  86. Meredith Jerry Foster    

    I’m retired and have a disability rating of 60%. I was not allowed to use the exchange when I went to visit my son in Germany even though I had a VA card and retired military card. Will retirees like me will ever be able to use AAEFFES overseas?

    1. JW    

      Meredith, installations in overseas foreign countries are subject to status of forces agreements, international law, and other agreements with host nations. You should always find out the restrictions before you travel.

  87. Richard J. Schlogl    

    How can I receive a card to use the commissary? I am 20% disabled Thank you Richard Schlogl

    1. JW    

      Richard, the DoD is accepting, as proof of eligibility for this benefit, the VA’s Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” OR “SERVICE CONNECTED” on the front of the card below your photo. If you’ve got a VHIC, then you’re good to go. If you don’t, you may want to go to https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility for the VHIC and the application process.

  88. John Weston    

    I am a Nam-era vet as well as being stationed at Camp Lejuene. I have yet to receive my disability rating from the VA. Do I qualify to utilize the base commissary?

    1. JW    

      John, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card, then you will have access beginning January 1.

  89. Ron Vincent    

    I hope this gets posted. I don’t have a request. I just want to make a statement. I was only in for 4 years (USAF) and never left the U.S. during the Vietnam War. To those who served in combat anywhere, any time, and especially to all, regardless of where you served, who dedicated their lives to military service, Thank You For My Freedom! God bless you for your service to our country.

    1. Alex Manuel    

      Ron Vincent, thank you for your inspiring and uplifting message. It is especially needed during these fractious times. We all need to be more grateful for our great country, flaws and all.

    2. Mike Beier    

      Thanks Ron! I agree, I am very thankful for those who have, and who continue to serve our beautiful country and for the freedoms and blessings their service gives me. I also served in the Vietnam Era and never left the States. But those who served in combat situations certainly deserve the recognition, gratitude and support for their countrymen.

  90. Dwayne. Pierre Olive    

    I am a veteran with 10% service connected disability do I qualify?

    1. Robert Vaughn    

      Copied from the article above:
      Who is eligible Jan. 1, 2020?

      Veterans
      Purple Heart recipients
      former prisoners of war
      Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings

    2. JW    

      Dwayne, a 10% service-connected disability rating makes you eligible, but you also must have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card in order to access military installations and commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facilities.

  91. Jay Dee Skinner    

    I am a Navy Retiree with 26 years living in Spain. I only have 10% disability. Retirees here do not have access to PX or Commissary will that be changed by this new law?

    1. JW    

      Jay, U.S. law only applies to the United States and the U.S. territories and possessions. Installations in overseas foreign countries are subject to status of forces agreements, international law, and other agreements with host nations. My guess is that if military retirees do not get access in Spain, then neither will veterans and caregivers.

  92. William Gales    

    I am 84 year old retired air force vet with commissary and PX privileges but not officially disabled, will my id card no longer be accepted?

    1. Morris Roker    

      It will still be accepted because you are retired and served your time. Thanks for your service.

    2. JW    

      William, there is no change to the benefits that military retirees, Medal of Honor recipients, and 100% disabled veterans receive under DoD policy. This is a new benefit specifically for Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90%, and individuals assessed, approved, and designated as caregivers for eligible veterans under VA caregiver programs.

  93. Kimberly Ferrier    

    Do MWR family camps qualify as “morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) retail facilities”? Are there lodging facilities run by MWR that fit in this category also??

    1. JW    

      Kimberly, RV campgrounds, recreational lodging like cabins and cottages, destination military recreation centers, and military hotel and resort properties are all MWR retail facilities.

  94. JAMES M HOBSON    

    Will I be able to access overseas exchange locations? Specifically I would love to be able to shop at the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area (JAFZA) NEX in Dubai, UAE, but do not have access to get on “base”.

    Will my VHIDC now get me on site?

    1. Tim Hickman    

      I’d like to know as well. I tried earlier this year and it didn’t work.

    2. JW    

      James and Tim, installations in overseas foreign countries are subject to status of forces agreements, international law, and other agreements with host nations.

  95. Robert Beattie    

    Hello I am a veteran currently retired from federal service and living in lovely Germany.My question to you are veterans overseas with a rating from 0-90 percent also eligible to use the Exchange and Commissary.Or is this new policy only for veterans stateside.I would like to know so that I can pass this good information to all my veterans living here overseas,thanks for listening to my question.

    1. JW    

      Robert, U.S. law only applies to the United States and the U.S. territories and possessions. Installations in overseas foreign countries are still subject to status of forces agreements, international law, and other agreements with host nations.

  96. Kurtis Pickett    

    I received my VHIC card prior to my disability determination. Do I reapply to the VA for an upgraded card to identify me a a service connected disability veteran? Where on the VHIC card does it list that designation?

    1. ANTHONY KAMBEITZ    

      When you are service connected disabled it will say so under your picture on your VHIC.

    2. JW    

      Kurtis, to access military installations and commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities, your VHIC will need to display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card. DoD needs the status printed on the card for visual verification of eligibility, because not all veterans who have a VHIC are eligible for this benefit.

  97. Della M Lopez    

    I am a veteran with a 10% service connected disability. Under this new act am I eligible to utilize the exchange and commissary?

    1. JW    

      Della, veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90% are eligible for this benefit. If you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, you will be able to access the exchange and commissary beginning January 1.

  98. Charles E. Williams    

    Hello Sir, my name is Charles E.Williams I’m currently 70 percent service connected. I live in Zushi japan. I have my VA service connected card.i am unemployable and in connected with the VA to receive 100%. My question is where do I go to get the other card to use the base facility, such as the commissary, the PX so on like I stated I am in the VA system .please guide to the right authority to use the base facility for me and my Wife.
    Waiting for your reply.
    Thank you, Charles E.Williams served with Honor and Honorably discharge

    1. JW    

      Charles, unfortunately the status of forces agreement with Japan does not allow veterans to access this benefit.

  99. William Genda    

    The article says any veteran with a 0-90% service-connected disability rating. Do you really mean 0%? Was that suppose to read 10%? 20%? 30%? If its 0% than ALL veterans are entitled.

    1. Dennis Marshall    

      According to the VA 0% is still a rating.

    2. Marie Metzger    

      There is a difference between a 0% rating and having no rating. 0% means you have gone through the disability claim process and the VA has determined you have a disability, but it is a very minor. No rating means you haven’t gone through the process or your claim was denied.

    3. V smith    

      0% means you have a recognized service-connected disability but are not receiving disability compensation because it is not severe enough.

    4. Miss G73    

      The zero percent 0% rating is obtained by applying for any serviced connected injuries… You do/did this either prior to exiting service by initiating a “VA/ Physical Examination.”
      Ex: you had frostbite on feet during service. During your exit, you took the VA physical and requested VA service connected for the current problems of old frostbite injury. The VA rates you 0% or higher. 0% is where they declare they won’t give you any monies. However, it is still a rating!!!. Hence, 0%- 90% is still a rating which now qualifies you to 1. Get on post and 2. Utilize the afore mentioned entitlements in article.

      Note*
      Those whom have applied for any VA ratings through the VA prior to exit from military or post service and received the 0% is still a disability rating!

  100. JB Kay    

    These rules are confusing! My husband’s army service period qualifies him for Vietnam Era status. He was able to use educational benefits many years ago. Apparently he would not be qualified for in person commissary privileges, but what about online exchanges and American Forces Travel?

    according to above section “Veterans eligible solely under this act who are not enrolled in or are not eligible to enroll in VA health care, or who are enrolled in VA health care, but do not possess a Veteran Health Identification Card will not have access to DoD and Coast Guard installations for in-person commissary, exchange, and MWR retail privileges, but will have full access to online exchanges and American Forces Travel.”

    1. JW    

      JB, for in-person privileges, your husband would have to be a Purple Heart recipient, a former prisoner of war, or have a service-connected disability rating of 0-90%. If he doesn’t have any of those things, then he is eligible for the Veterans Online Shopping Benefit that was introduced on November 11, 2017. The Veterans Online Shopping Benefit allows any honorably discharged veteran to shop at the online military service exchanges from the comfort of home. He can access the online military exchange websites at the links in the blog post, above. He would not have access to AmericanForcesTravel, though.

  101. Roy Marble    

    What percentage do you have to be to use this program just wondering because I do have a disability at a low percentage can you tell me what percentage you have to be

    1. JW    

      Roy, to be eligible for this benefit, you would need to be a Purple Heart recipient, a former prisoner of war, or have a service-connected disability rating anywhere from 0-90%. In addition, you need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” on the front of the card below your photo to access installations and commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities.

  102. Timothy Smith    

    So I would be eligible as a 0% service connected veteran if I understand the qualifications correctly?

    1. JW    

      Timothy, veterans with a 0% service-connected disability rating who have a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card will be able to access this benefit beginning on January 1.

      1. Peter Liller    

        JW,
        Could you please confirm that statement? I have recently enrolled in the VA Health system, have a 10% disability rating for over 30 years, and when I received my VHIC card, it did not state “service connected”. Went back about 2 months ago to report it, and get a new card, and was told that only 20% and above VHIC cards state “service connected” on them. This is going to pose a problem with me getting these benefits.

  103. Matthew Service    

    How will this effect Veterans living in Germany. Are the restrictions on rationed items and the need for a “Pink Card” with it’s requirement to pay 17,5% on purchases at the German customs office still required? I retired after almost 26 yrs of service with an honorable discharge and my 20 yr letter and have a 70% VA disability rating.

    1. JW    

      Matthew, the status of forces agreement, international laws, and other agreements with the host nation will still apply. My guess is that your situation in Germany will not change.

  104. Alejo Cortez    

    I am a Vietnam Era veteran with a less than 10 percent rating. About 2 weeks ago I visited the VA office in San Diego. When I had previously read about the new benefits as of January 2020, I was advised by the ID card benefits office that I did not qualify because I did not meet the salary requirements (I made more that their guidelines).
    My question to you is, who is correct, your printed information provided in this article or the VA guidelines provided to me.

    1. JW    

      Alejo, there is a small group of veterans with a 0% service-connected disability rating whose income is too high to be eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). Unfortunately, that is the only secure, scannable VA credential that DoD can use to verify identity and eligibility for all of the newly eligible veterans under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018. DoD and VA are working on a solution for you and will provide updated information as soon as there is an answer, but it won’t be before January 1.

  105. John    

    I have 60% disability and enrolled in the VA Health Care but living overseas. In order for me to get the VHIC I will need to fly back to U.S. and that will probably cost me about $1000. There is an USAF base near by but they are not issuing VHIC. How am I suppose to get my VHIC without spending all that money? Why can’t they do it online thru ebenefits just like being able to attach your picture and print the veteran ID card? I mean just take a picture I shouldn’t have to spend all that money.

    1. JW    

      John, this benefit may not be available at your location overseas, so make sure you check that first, before you decide whether or not to make a trip to get a VHIC. Privileges at installations in overseas foreign countries are subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host nations.

  106. Derek Frazier    

    Why is the VA so poorly run at almost everything there can possibly be?

    1. Peedee Wyre    

      I don’t know what your VA experience(s) have been like, Derek, but I have been a VA patient since 4/2009, and have had well over 300 appointments at NorCal/Bay Area facilities for many problems related to Agent Orange. I was treated for 7 years for cancer but have been in remission for over a year: I am calling that a da*ned good success, rather than “a failure.”
      .
      I was at a VA clinic yesterday and despite their ongoing expansions, it was hard to n.v find a parking space. That is true of the various VA’s that I go to. Your claim that the VA can’t do anything right is definitely *NOT* what most Veterans are experiencing.
      .
      With over 100 hospitals and over 1,000 clinics, and 375,000 employees (over *half* of whom are Veterans), there is probably going to be a glitch here-and-there: and that is unacceptable. But the overwhelmingly vast majority of VA-Veteran experiences and interactions are positive. Veterans pretty consistently give the VA about a 90% approcal/ satisfaction r as ting and would recommend VA healthcare to other Veterans.

      1. David B. Casey    

        I have been in the VA system since 2003. I have had multiple heart and cancer issues, all treated thru the VA. The care I received from the caregivers has been great ! The problems I have encountered are with the government and the people employed to operate this vast system of healthcare. I have been treated at six {6) VA facilities and had to use an advocate at four (4) of these facilities. The advocates I worked with have ALL been great. The problem and question is, why do I have to get an advocate involved before I can receive quality care ? Apparently the advocates are receiving better training or orientation before they are placed in their respective positions of employment. It appears to me the rest of the people employed by the VA are programed or wound up and sent on their way, to learn as they go. The problem with this method of operation is we the veterans or the advocates are left with the responsibility of explaining to the doctors and their staff how this system is suppose to work. It is past time to teach the VA employees more than last name, last four {4} of S.S. apparently those with advanced training do ask if you receive travel pay. If they have not received this training yet they will send you to another line. The bigger problem is, why do I have to get an advocate involved before I can receive the quality of care that I have the right to expect? Everybody has a supervisor so the necessary training starts at the top. Sadly the higher you climb this ladder it turns into a political system . The higher ups continue to feather their nests and the suicide rates continue to climb. I do not wish to become a victim of this political system!!

  107. Jim Fitzpatrick    

    Do these new benefits include access to famcamps?

    1. JW    

      Jim, RV campgrounds, recreational lodging like cabins and cottages, destination military recreation centers, and military hotel and resort properties are all MWR retail facilities and are included.

  108. Benjamin Zehner    

    With these new benefits for service connected disabled , will one be able to purchase Disney salute to service theme park discount tickets at the MWR office?

    1. sally jrw    

      That’s what I want to know, too! Disney tickets are expensive!

    2. JW    

      Benjamin and Sally, access to discounted tickets at the installation MWR ticket offices will be subject to any restrictions or limitations put on them by the vendors. I can tell you from experience, the Disney Salute tickets are heavily restricted and usually available only for active duty personnel, retirees, and their dependents. In addition, those members must show their military ID cards at the park to activate the tickets, so if one was purchased or given to someone that did not have the authority to activate it, it would not be good at the park.

  109. william webber    

    will the current VA id card i have work for the commissary and exchange?

    1. JW    

      William, if the current VA ID card you have is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, it will work for access to the exchange and commissary beginning on January 1.

  110. Cindy Emmett    

    I do have a VA card but do not have a service connected disability of any rating. Do I have access to the commissary?

    1. BARBARA ANDERSON    

      I AM IN THE SAME SITUATION. I HAVE A VA CARD, BUT DO NOT HAVE A SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY. OR SO THEY SAID AT MY DISCHARGE. MY ASTHMA WAS MADE SEVERELY WORSE WHEN I WAS STATIONED IN THE GREAT LAKES AREA BY A COUPLE OF SEVERE RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS. AFTER THE INFECTIONS, MY ASTHMA BECAME SEVERE FOR MANY MONTHS. I WAS NOT ABLE TO GET A SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY BECAUSE I HAD HAD ASTHMA PREVIOUSLY; HOWEVER, NOT TO THIS EXTENT. NOW, MY LUNG CAPACITY IS VERY MINIMUM AND I AM 76 YEARS OLD, A VIET NAM VET (STATIONED IN U.S.).

      I AM ALSO A RETIRED DOD EMPLOYEE AND AM ABLE TO USE SOME OF THE BASE’S FACILITIES, BUT WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO USE THE COMMISSARY AND EXCHANGE. THE INFO GIVEN FOR THE UPCOMING CHANGE CAN BE TAKEN SEVERAL WAYS AND WAS NOT THAT CLEAR.

      PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU FIND OUT ANYTHING MORE ON THIS.

    2. JW    

      Cindy and Barbara, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), but it doesn’t display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” on the front of the card under your photo, then you will not have access to this benefit.

  111. Jon Domke    

    The trouble is usually getting on base. They seem oblivious at the gate what a VHIC is. Hopefully this information makes it’s way to all installation commanders and local AAFES managers. I’ve had privileges for some time but it’s a challenge getting on base or checking out at the exchange.

    1. JW    

      Jon, currently, I believe VHIC holders can only access installations with VA medical centers using their VHIC, but VHIC holders do not have access to commissaries or exchanges. Beginning January 1, VHIC holders whose cards display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card will be able to access military installations in the United States and in the U.S. territories and possessions to use commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities.

  112. william webber    

    i have a VA id to check in at my clinic. will this work for the exchange and commissary?

    1. JW    

      William, if that VA ID is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card, it will work for access to the exchange and commissary beginning on January 1.

  113. Jerry Bailey    

    An honorably discharged Veteran with zero percent disability status is eligible so long as they have a Veterans Health ID card?

    1. Fernando Deanda    

      You must be service connected to be eligible

    2. JW    

      Jerry, veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, veterans who are former prisoners of war, and veterans with service-connected disability ratings of 0-90% will be eligible for privileges on January 1. To prove eligibility at military installations and commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities, these veterans will need to show a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card.

  114. Kimberly Kirkpatrick    

    I’m a 90% disabled Veteran so I’m looking forward to this privalge. Will my spouse, also a Veteran but not service connected, and underage children have access as well, or just me?

    1. JW    

      Kimberly, this benefit is only for the eligible veterans and eligible caregivers for veterans (currently primary family caregivers for eligible veterans under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers). Spouses and children do not get the benefit, but they can accompany you when you go to the installation facilities, they just can’t make any purchases.

  115. Philip Weidner    

    Do service connected military members get base Gym access as well?

    1. JW    

      No. Gyms are considered mission essential facilities for our active duty personnel.

  116. charles    

    unless it has changed,not all that great, they are just commercial store now. i guess you save on state taxes.but depending on how far you have to drive.or me that is over 2 hours each way.

  117. Carl G Chatman Jr.    

    I also qualify for this. What other credentials, if any, would I need to use any of the base or post facilities near me? Would my non-veteran wife be able to join me?

    1. JW    

      Carl, newly eligible veterans will need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card. This ID will work for installation and privilege access at the installation commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facilities. Only the eligible veteran can make purchases, but your wife could accompany you onto the installation and into the facilities. She will also have to go through the visitor control center at the installation and must show an acceptable credential to go through the standard security screening (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are the easiest documents to bring).

  118. James Leroy Hiatt    

    What if I am 70% being paid at 100% unemployibility service connected?

    1. JW    

      James, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under your photo on the front of the card, then you’re good to go. 70% service-connected is eligible.

  119. Dave Parada    

    This new privilege is great, however, no mention is made on how we disabled veterans are going to be able to get base access to be able to use these exchanges, commissaries, and MWR facilities. So, will our VA-issued ID work? Thanks.

    1. JW    

      Dave, the fact sheet located at http://www.militaryonesource.mil/expanding-access actually goes into great detail on how to get access to installations.

      Newly eligible veterans will need to present a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) displaying “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card at the installation visitor control center on the first visit. At visitor control, they will verify your identity and purpose for the visit, then they will run a basic on-the-spot background check. If you’ve got a felony conviction, felony arrest, or other type of derogatory information related to criminal history or terrorism, you will not be permitted on the installation. If you’re cleared to enter the installation and the installation has ID enrollment capability, then you can have your VHIC enrolled for recurring access so that you don’t have to stop at visitor control for future visits. At commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities, you show your VHIC at the point of sale to verify your eligibility.

      1. Dave Parada    

        Out-freaking-standing! Thank you, sir.

  120. Karen Marie Prigmore    

    As a surviving spouse of a disabled veteran receiving DIC due to his service-connected death, will I be eligible in January for commissary privileges?

    1. Heidi Trainor    

      I am in the same position. I receive DIC and have a VA medical card. Am I eligible?

    2. JW    

      Karen and Heidi, I am so sorry for your losses. Unfortunately, no, you will not be eligible for these privileges. The privileges are not transferable.

  121. Patrick Carroll    

    as a Marine Corps Veteran with a 70% Service related Disability…will I get this Privilege?

    1. JW    

      Patrick, yes, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card.

  122. Bob Stevens    

    I am a 100% service connected VA, but my discharge was General, with this change will I now be able to use the on base privileges (Commissary or Exchange).

  123. Bob Stevens    

    I am a 100% service connected VA, but my discharge was General, with this change will I now be able to use the on base privileges (Commissary or Exchange)

    1. JW    

      Bob, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, you will be eligible to use the commissary and exchange beginning January 1.

  124. Johnetta Ford    

    I spent 8 years as a Naval Reservist amnd am not able to receive this honor; when someone who is a caregiver can.
    Something seems very wrong with that picture This needs
    to be rethought all over again.
    Where is the fairness to all veterans? We could be given at least a 50 per cent shopping privelege.
    Shame.

  125. Robert Elswick    

    Being a service connected disabled veteran will I have the ability to take my spouse with to these facilities?

    1. JW    

      Robert, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” OR “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, then you will be eligible to access the base and your spouse can be your guest. You will have to stop at the visitor control center the first time they accompany you and they will have to go through the standard required security check. They will have to have an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. They can go with you into the facilities, but they will not be allowed to make any purchases.

  126. Michael Springer    

    I am 70% service connected does my wife and kids have the ability to access the bases?

    1. Dave Cortes    

      With proper ID they can access the base i.e. Government ID, Driver’s license issued but the state, passport ID card etc. As long as its government issued with a photo. Thats what I was told at the gate at Ft Drum, NY

    2. JW    

      Michael, unless your wife and kids are authorized DoD privileges in their own right, they cannot access the base on their own. If you have a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” OR “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, then you are eligible to access the base and they can be your guests. You will have to stop at the visitor control center the first time they accompany you and they will have to go through the standard required security check. Depending on their ages, they will have to have an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport.

  127. Monica Fields    

    Does This includes Child youth services as well?

    1. JW    

      Monica, no. It does not include child care.

  128. Ralph E. Krause Jr.    

    I’m confused, and was wondering what steps I need to take. I am 50% service connected Vietnam Veteran. I had
    been exposed to Agent Orange, and have certain health problems occur.
    Am I required to fill out a form for commissary and exchange privileges? I have my Dod VA Healthcare Benefits.
    Thank you for your response.

    1. JW    

      Ralph, if you have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or SERVICE CONNECTED” on the front of the card below your photo, then you have what you need to access commissary and exchange privileges on January 1. If you do not have the VHIC, then you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility and the application process.

  129. Dana F Holmes    

    What exactly does 100% Service Connected mean? I served active duty, am a member of the American Legion, Honorably Discharged with my DD214. I have no clue as to what I am entitled to. Thank you, Dana

    1. Brandon Ryan Smith    

      Are you disabled?? “Service connected” is your percentage of disability that was caused by the military. Just because you served and are a veteran does not entitle you to this benefit. 100% Service connected means 100% disabled due to the fault of military service… an injury or disability at no fault of your own during service. If your VA health ID does not say “service connected”, then you’re not service connected. It’s not for all veterans.

  130. Thomas Bellamy    

    I read the FAQ’s and looked over every question about what you can and cannot buy at the Commissary or BX. It says Veterans eligible for access under this new law cannot buy anything related to military uniforms.

    I’m a DoD civilian with the AF and we have shopping privileges at the small BX on the Air Reserve Base. Restrictions in place now are no uniforms, no alcohol and no tobacco.

    I have 10% rating for tinnitus and I have a VHIC already as well as my civilian CAC card. Once this new law takes effect will eligible Veterans under this new law be able to purchase alcohol/tobacco at the BX?

    1. JW    

      Thomas, DoD civilians are not authorized commissary access in the United States and are only authorized limited access to convenience items at certain military exchange mini marts and express stores. With a VHIC that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, you will have much broader access to military exchange stores and products, so I would recommend that after January 1, you use your VHIC at the point of sale in the exchange instead of your civilian CAC card. With the VHIC, only uniform items will be off limits.

  131. David McDaniel    

    I have my VHIC, in January what do I do? Go to the my local base’s ID card office to get a base access card made, or is the VHIC my access card for base privileges? furthermore, will I be able to bring my family members or fiance on base with me? does this extend to all bases across the CONUS and abroad?

    1. JW    

      David, DoD is not issuing ID cards to veterans or caregivers of veterans who qualify for these privileges under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018. Because eligibility is tied to VA-determined status, DoD is allowing the use of the Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) for newly eligible veterans, because this card displays the eligibility status under the veteran’s photo on the front of the card (“PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED”); and, for primary family caregivers, an eligibility letter from the VA Office of Community Care paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport.

      In January, you can bring the approved credential to the installation visitor control center you wish to access and go through the required security check that all visitors to the installation must go through. If the installation has ID enrollment capability and your criminal history/terrorism check comes back clean, your VHIC (or acceptable credential for primary family caregivers) can be enrolled so that you don’t have to stop at visitor control every visit.

      You are allowed to bring guests with you, but they will also have to stop at visitor control before entering the base; and they will not be allowed to make any purchases. Your guests will also have to have an acceptable credential (the REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or U.S. passport are the easiest) and go through the same background check.

      This benefit is available in the United States and in the U.S. territories and possessions. Access at installations in overseas foreign countries is subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host nations.

  132. Donna Ward    

    What is a service-connected Veteran?

    1. Brandon Ryan Smith    

      Are you disabled?? “Service connected” is your percentage of disability that was caused by the military. Just because you served and are a veteran does not entitle you to this benefit. 100% Service connected means 100% disabled due to the fault of military service… an injury or disability at no fault of your own during service. If your VA health ID does not say “service connected”, then you’re not service connected. It’s not for all veterans.

  133. Donna Ward    

    What is a service-connected Veteran? I am a Cold War vet with no “official” service-connected disabilities. Am I a service-connected Veteran?

  134. Craig D Stanton    

    I’m 20% DAV. Are the prices at the exchange any better than retail?

  135. Connie Gaudette    

    Will my Veteran Health Identification Card get me on base to utilize the Base Exchange and Commissary?

    1. JW    

      Connie, if your Veteran Health Identification Card displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath your photo on the front of the card, then you’re set.

  136. Stan Small    

    It only took 54 yrs. for my disability to get beyond 0%. So thankful to learn that I’ll have commissary & exchange access after 1/01/20. Is the VA card I now have with the words “Service Connected” on the front sufficient to use & also how does one go about finding the nearest locations of these participating exchanges/commissaries??

    1. JW    

      Stan, if the ID card you have is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) and “SERVICE CONNECTED” is displayed underneath your photo on the front of the card, then it sounds like you’ve got what you need. Try the links in this blog post to find commissary and exchange locations.

    2. JW    

      Stan, if the ID card you have is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) and “SERVICE CONNECTED” is displayed underneath your photo on the front of the card, then you’re all set for access on January 1. All of the Military Service commissaries and exchanges in the United States and in the U.S. territories and possessions are participating. You can search for them if you click on the exchange and commissary links in this blog post, above. Commissaries and exchanges on installations in overseas foreign countries are subject to status of forces agreement, international law, and other host country agreements.

    3. JW    

      Stan, if the ID you have is the Veteran Health Identification Card and it displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath your photo on the front of the card, then you’re good to go for shopping on January 1. All of the commissaries and exchanges in the United States and in the U.S. territories and possessions are participating. You can find where they are located by searching in the links in the blog post, above. Overseas access is limited by status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host countries.

    4. JW    

      Stan, if the ID card you have is the Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) and it displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath your photo on the front of the card, then you’re good to go for access on January 1. All of the Military Service commissaries and exchanges in the United States and in the U.S. territories and possessions are participating. You can find out where they are by searching locations at the links for each of the retail organizations in the blog post above. Participation at installations in overseas foreign countries is limited by the status of forces agreements, international law, and other agreements with the host countries.

  137. Curtis Green    

    Are service connected Vets allowed to accompany a guest to the exchange as well?

    1. JW    

      Curtis, are you asking if a newly eligible service-connected veteran can bring a guest with them to the exchange? If so, the answer is yes. The guest cannot make any purchases, but they can accompany the eligible service-connected veteran into the store. Keep in mind that the veteran and guest will have to stop at the installation visitor control center for the standard security checks to enter the installation. As you know, the veteran will have to show their Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath the photo on the front of the card; and the guest will need to have an acceptable credential with them (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are usually the easiest).

  138. Charles H. Collins    

    I am Vietnam Veteran with 40% disability.
    I have a VA issued ID card. To be clear do I
    Understand that I now have Commissary
    Privilege to shop at nearby Air Force Base?

    This would be terrific!

    Thanks,
    Charles H. Collins
    USAF 1967 to 1971

    1. JW    

      Charles, a VA ID card will not get you access to the commissary, but a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath the photo on the front of the card will. If you’ve got a VHIC that has any of these three eligibilities printed on it, then you’re good to go for shopping beginning January 1 (or January 2, as the commissary will be closed for the Federal holiday).

  139. Junious M Jones    

    Do these new privileges extend to military RV parks and facilities?