DoD answers top 10 questions on expanded commissary, exchange, MWR access


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Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated to reflect informational changes. Please go here for the most recent post on this topic, which was updated on Feb. 2, 2020.

The Defense Department recently announced expanded commissary, military service exchange and MWR access Jan. 1 and established a standard for physical access to military installations. Below are the top 10 questions Veterans have asked the Defense Department about the expanded access. For more information on expanded access, call Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647.

Q1. How do I get access if I have a 0 percent service-connected condition, but my income is too high to get a Veteran Health Identification Card?

A1. Veterans who have received a Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that states they have been placed in VA health care priority group 8E may bring this form paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport for installation and privilege access.

Q2. If I’ve got a DoD-issued identification card because I’m retired, a Medal of Honor recipient, or have a 100% VA-documented disability or unemployability rating, do I also need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) to get access to DoD privileges?

A2. No. If you are eligible for a DoD-issued retiree, Medal of Honor, or 100% disabled identification card, you should obtain and use the DoD-issued card to access DoD installations and privileges. While you could use a VHIC if you had one, you would be subject to the commissary credit/debit card user fee if you paid for your commissary purchases with a commercial credit or debit card. The commissary credit/debit card user fee is not charged to DoD-issued identification card holders. Your DoD-issued identification card will also allow you broader morale, welfare, and recreation activity access.

Q3. How does the installation access process work for me and my accompanying visitors; and if I have old felony activity on my record, will I be denied access to the installation?

A3. All newly eligible Veterans and caregivers and any accompanying visitors (because “guest” means something specific in military security-speak) traveling with them who are age 18 or older must stop at the visitor control center before entering an installation for the first time to verify identify, establish purpose for the visit, and undergo a basic on-the-spot background check. It is best to contact the installation ahead of your visit to find out if accompanying visitors will be authorized. Please check here for the most current information on accompanying visitors.

  • Newly eligible Veterans must show a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card; or a Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that states the Veteran has been placed in VA health care priority group 8E, paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. (DoD installations cannot accept a driver’s license that is not REAL ID-compliant as proof of identity.)
  • Newly eligible caregivers must show an eligibility letter from the VA’s Office of Community Care that lists them as the Primary Family Caregiver for an eligible Veteran under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. (DoD installations cannot accept a driver’s license that is not REAL ID-compliant as proof of identity.)

If the installation has credential enrollment capability and the acceptable credential(s) used are enrollable, they can be enrolled for recurring access so that the individual(s) don’t have to stop at visitor control every time they want to visit the installation. Even an accompanying visitor’s acceptable credential can be enrolled. It will not allow them to enter the installation without someone who is eligible to enter the installation, but it will allow them to have their credential scanned from the car when entering with an authorized individual. This is the same process used for anyone who desires entry to an installation.

An individual may be denied access if derogatory information shows up on the background check that reflects on the integrity or character of an individual that indicates that such an individual may pose a risk to the good order, discipline, morale, or safety of a DoD installation or the resources or personnel on that installation. Examples include, but are not limited to, aspects of an individual’s criminal history or current status as wanted or as a known or appropriately suspected terrorist. There is a process for an individual with accurately identified derogatory information that prevents individuals from establishing either historic or current fitness to seek an exception due to their specific circumstances, allowing them to be granted unescorted access. DoD Components may grant unescorted access to a convicted felon, in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and local laws, after considering appropriate mitigating factors such as the nature and seriousness of the offense, the circumstances surrounding the offense, recency and frequency of the offense, the individual’s age and maturity at the time of the offense, the individual’s effort toward rehabilitation, and other factors. Under these conditions, an individual should apply directly to the installation commander requesting an exception to all allow access to the installation.

Q4. Are dependents of newly eligible Veterans and caregivers also eligible for DoD privileges?

A4. No. The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, only gave these privileges to specific Veterans and caregivers, not to their dependents. Dependents may accompany eligible Veterans and caregivers, but they may not make purchases. It is best to contact the installation ahead of your visit to find out if accompanying visitors will be authorized. Please check here for the most current information on accompanying visitors.

Q5. Why can’t all Veterans have these DoD privileges?

A5. The scope of operations on military installations is sized to take care of the needs of military members and their families. Military operations are not funded or sized to accommodate all Veterans. Expanding access to the 4.1 million Veterans and caregivers directed by the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 (and that number continues to grow daily), will already be a test of DoD’s capacity. Inserting another 15 million Veterans into the mix would overwhelm the system and our military members and their families would suffer for it.

Q6. Will Veterans who choose to live overseas be able to access military installations and privileges in overseas foreign countries?

A6. It depends. U.S. law doesn’t apply outside of the United States and outside of the U.S. territories and possessions. Access in overseas foreign countries is subject to applicable host-nation laws and applicable international agreements, like status of forces agreements. The function of the installation also sometimes restricts access. It is best to check with the installation you desire to visit to find out if, as a Veteran or caregiver in one of the new Veteran or caregiver categories, you will be authorized access. Chances are that if you are a retired military member living abroad and didn’t already have access as a retiree, you will not get access under any of the new categories.

Q7. Can newly eligible Veterans and caregivers bring accompanying visitors to the installations and facilities?

A7. It is best to contact the installation ahead of your visit to find out if accompanying visitors will be authorized. Please check here for the most current information on accompanying visitors.

Q8. Which of the following MWR activities can be used? (This is not an exhaustive list, only the most frequently asked about activities.)

A8.

AmericanForcesTravel.com: Yes.

Bowling: Yes.

Camping: Yes. Tent sites and RV parks.

Child Care: No.

Clubs: Yes.

Fishing: It depends. If lakes are operated as part of the installation park and picnic areas, no. If lakes are operated as part of the installation outdoor recreation activity, then it is at the discretion of the military department, subject to capacity and funding conditions.

Golf: Yes.

Gyms: No.

Libraries: No.

Lodging: Yes. Cabins, cottages, recreation centers, resorts, and official temporary duty and permanent change of station lodging (on a space-available basis).

Movies: Yes, if there is an admission fee. (No, if the movies are shown at no charge.)

Pools: At the discretion of the military department, subject to capacity and funding conditions.

Rentals: Yes.

Tickets: At the discretion of the military department, subject to capacity and funding conditions.

MAC flights: This is NOT an MWR, exchange, or commissary activity and access is NOT authorized.

Pharmacy: This is NOT an MWR, exchange, or commissary activity and access is NOT authorized.

USO: This is NOT a military organization. USO is a non-Federal entity.

Q9. What conditions are required to get access to the DoD privileges?

A9. Newly eligible Veterans must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • Purple Heart recipient
  • Former prisoner of war
  • Service-connected disability rating (between 0-90%)

Veterans with a 100& disability or unemployability rating and Veterans who are Medal of Honor recipients already have DoD privileges, so they are not newly eligible.

Veterans include former members of any of the uniformed services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Newly eligible caregivers must be the individual assessed, approved, and designated as the Primary Family Caregiver for an eligible Veteran under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. Only Veterans who were seriously injured in the line of duty on or after 9/11/2001 are eligible for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. VA will begin expanding eligibility for the PCAFC in Summer of 2020.

In addition to meeting one of the above conditions, newly eligible Veterans and caregivers must possess the specific documentation that DoD will accept as proof of identity and eligibility for access:

  • Veterans must possess a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card. If an eligible Veteran is not eligible to obtain a VHIC, the VA Health Eligibility Center Form H623A indicating placement in VA health care priority group 8E, paired with an acceptable credential, like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or U.S. passport, will be accepted. For information on enrolling in VA health care, visit va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll or call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) Monday through Friday 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. ET.
  • Caregivers must possess an eligibility letter from the VA Office of Community Care that lists them as the Primary Family Caregiver for an eligible Veteran under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport.

Q10. Can anyone with a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) get these privileges?

A10. No. Only Veterans with a VHIC that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” will be authorized the new privileges. Veterans may be able to use a VHIC that doesn’t contain one of these markings to access an installation with a medical facility if they have an appointment there, but if the VHIC does not display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED,” they will not have access to commissaries, exchanges, or morale, welfare, and recreation facilities.

Learn more about the VHIC requirement and how you can get one here.

Download the Expanded Access at Commissaries, Exchanges and Recreation Facilities fact sheet here.

For more information on expanded access, call Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647.

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Comments

  1. Fred Gardner    

    does anybody know if retirees can use the commissary , gas station, nex at sasebo ab?

  2. James Wilson    

    Has the bases in Japan implemented it yet? I see other countries that already allow retirees have implemented it already. Retirees and 100% DAVs already have access in Japan. Thanks everyone.

  3. joseph starnes    

    Does anyone know if disabled vets can use the bases in UK? All the sites say it’s up to the Base Commander and no-one on the Base seems to know. Not even the VA rep. Thanks

  4. Alfredo Cabrera    

    I was told the base commander has the authority to determine who gets on base. safety, security and mission are some of the determining factors. In my opinion, active duty takes precedent when it comes to the bx, commissary, and mwr.

  5. JMN    

    I registered my VHIC at Fort Hood this morning, took about 5 minutes. “It’s good for 3 years, ma’am, have a nice day,” said the MP. I didn’t have to present anything else. As far as overseas retirees, and this may sound harsh, but is anyone forcing you to live overseas? Don’t blame the government(s) for SOFA agreements when you chose to live overseas. (I heard this argument the entire time I was in Germany and Okinawa.)

    1. John Whalen    

      I’m not retired, but working in South Korea with a US company providing services to the Korea Air Force. Our company won’t try to get us SOFA status, so the new law was a Godsend, since food here is two to three times more expensive than in the US.
      On Korea retirees are allowed commissary and PX privileges.
      The problem here is that certain people are not reading the Federal law that states that the VHIC holder status us the same as retired with pay.
      They are trying to make it into something else.
      For example, now I’m being told that I need to have an exception to policy to get a ration card.
      They require you to present the card even if you’re not buying any rationed items!
      I asked the personnel at One Stop if persons holding a military retired card have to do this, and they said no. Of course, I could argue the point with them until I was blue in the face and wouldn’t get anywhere.
      Now waiting to see if the exception to policy goes through.
      Funny thing, Osan AB doesn’t even ask about a ration card. Go figure.

    2. Martin Tidd    

      Fort Riley is only doing one year, so looks like every post is doing their own thing.

  6. James Wilson    

    Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, is there any update for Japan? They already implemented it and use the VHIC in Korea and Germany, but DAVs are still waiting in Japan.

    Called the visitors center and they replied that they are receiving some calls about it, but they didn’t implement it yet and have no updates at all on the status. So we are in the dark.

    Somebody please help, please help us DAVs. Undersecretary of Defense, please give them everything they need at the visitors center in Japan to implement the new policy. Already retirees, gray area retirees, DAVs in Japan have access per sofa in Japan, but we are waiting, so as we wait, it feels pretty bad for us DAVs. Thank you very much everyone for helping us.

    1. John Whalen    

      I have to go to Camp Humphreys Monday to get an exception to policy in order to get a ration card, which they require, even if you’re not buying any rationed items!
      I’m going to ask them “do those holding retired ID cards have to do this, since the VHIC is SUPPOSED to be the same as retired with pay.
      But Osan Air Base never asked for a ration card, the times I’ve been there.
      As for my wife, the Security Officer at Humphreys just said she can show here US passport at the gate and get in.

      1. shannon    

        The Main Store Manager of the Okinawa Exchange/Kadena BX responded to an email to me personally on this question. It’s a NO for Japan regarding disabled VETs using commissary/ BX. His response: the New Patronage Expansion for service-connected disabled veterans- Unfortunately, the expansion of privileges offered to certain categories of Veterans does not apply to installations in Japan due to the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement restrictions.

  7. Ben Chan    

    Can someone give me a legitimate response and/or regulation as to if the veteran using VHIC to access base be allowed to bring guests i.e. spouse? I’ve read the answer to be yes but I am receiving conflicting response from navy security that only those 18 and under would be allowed to enter with the Vet. Is this a true statement?

    1. Tracey    

      In my case I am living in Germany and therefore fall under SOFA. My spouse have no problem with signing on to post but m6 children under 18 are not allowed. I took my VHIC card to installation access control and got issued a card with my name and my wife name only. I was told my children (under 18) are not authorized on post privileges in Germany under SOFA.

      1. Amor Bais    

        I went to naval base san Diego with my under age daughter last monday,i was told by the guard that only veterans no guest they turned us away.

      2. Richard Canizaro    

        I read on one site that DOD is considering expanding caregiver privileges to the veteran’s spouse when the Va finalizes approval and designation of general caregivers under the program. Currently, only authorized family caregivers under the assistance for family caregivers that have been approved and designated, have the new privileges. Lets keep our fingers crossed, that DOD will implement that for our spouses.

    2. Jessica Brooks    

      I’ve gone onto base with my husband. He has his VHIC card 90% .. we went last weekend with no issues.

    3. A Sims    

      That’s the way it is supposed to be. I had no problem at one base, I brought a coworker with me during lunch, we stopped at the VCC for her to get a pass, and no issues…. and yet I tried to take my mother to another base (I had gone by myself already) and they denied her access. Mind you, when I went to register my VHIC ahead of time, they gave me the information with the “Welcome Home” stuff, etc etc on it, which clearly stated the access for guests. So when I went one Saturday with her, they said that only veterans OR caregivers are allowed, and not guests. I was shocked. I showed them the info (I had printed out the fact sheet from the DOD) and I gave them the pamphlet which they had previously given me. It’s ridiculous!!! This rollout was an epic fail. I don’t understand how this was passed in 2018 and here we are and veterans are getting turned away!!!!

    4. Ben Chan    

      Apparently, as of right now, only Veterans are allowed to access with children under 18 as San Diego Naval Base says. Each base is both stateside and overseas are operating separate instructions with no details. From looking into this further, the VA is supposedly working to update those who should have access in addition to a caregiver.

      1. A Sims    

        Everyone needs to be on the same page. All the info that Military OneSource (DOD) and the VA has posted have been the same, that Veterans and Caregivers can bring guests…and they actually should be able to bring up to 5 guests according to one base that I went to!!!!

        1. John Whalen    

          I was reading some information on Military One Source, and now it’s stating that access varies from installation to installation!
          From Military One Source…
          “It is important that eligible veterans and caregivers understand that conditions vary from installation to installation and guest access may be restricted, as well as what identification they and their guests need to bring with them in advance to avoid being denied access.”
          So, if the installation commander wants to be a jerk, or doesn’t agree with the new FEDERAL LAW, they can just take it upon themselves to deny us access.
          Wonderful…

    5. Randall    

      Yes. You CAN bring your spouse with you. Just like any other time you are responsible for he and all people with you. She has to have a valid ID card (drivers lic) to accompany you. If you have a minor with you they are NOT required to have an id. Don’t let people confuse you with BS. I work on a military installation every day and know the rules.

  8. Joseph Brown    

    I have already contacted Senators and Congressmembers, some of whom sit on the ASC, to investigate the failed implementation of this benefit program that many of us have been waiting for for many years (30+ in my case). Every vet on this discussion and others who have experienced ridiculous issues concerning this program need to do the same.

    1. A Sims    

      I had no problem at one base, I brought a coworker with me during lunch, we stopped at the VCC for her to get a pass, and no issues…. and yet I tried to take my mother to another base (I had gone to by myself already) and they denied her access. I I was shocked. I showed them the info (I had printed out the fact sheet from the DOD) and I gave them the pamphlet which they had previously given me. It’s ridiculous!!! This rollout was an epic fail. I don’t understand how this was passed in 2018 and here we are January 2019, and veterans are getting turned away!!!! That’s embarrassing….And why are they now just testing the AFT site? You’d think they would have had a plan. And why do some bases know what to do, and others don’t? One day they will all be Veterans!

    2. Randall    

      Really? Less than a month into implementation and you have already chosen to contact Congressmen and Senators? Geez man slow down it will work out. No need to get butt hurt the first month.

  9. James Wilson    

    Has the Undersecretary of Defense worked out the process in Japan yet according to DTM 19-012?

    Questions:

    Did the Undersecretary of Defense iron out all the hiccups for Japan yet? The process is already set up and working in Korea and Germany already, which DAVs already have access in compliance with the new law/DoD policy.

    Last we checked the great folks at the Visitor’s Center in Japan informed us no we can’t process our VHIC and get access yet because there is no policy. It didn’t sound right because of DTM-19-012, but okay lets wait until the DoD figures it out.

    Didn’t DoD already authorize our access via DTM 19-012 which states that overseas access is authorized worldwide and depends on sofa? Doesn’t sofa already allows retirees with pay, even grey area, and 100 percent davs, and many others access in japan? Yes, it does.

    As stated by the Undersecretary of Defense above in question #6 “Chances are that if you are a retired military member living abroad and didn’t already have access as a retiree, you will not get access under any of the new categories.” Again, isn’t there is already sofa compliant precedence for this issue? DTM 19-012 also states other DoD memos which state that VHIC can be used for base access worldwide for these purposes.

    Thank you to President Donald Trump and the Undersecretary of Defense, the exchange staff and CEO, the VA, the commissary, and DoD folks, leaders in Japan, and everybody else on the team helping us.

    Thank you POTUS and the DoD for signing the Federal Law and DoD Policy, we thank you for changing things for disabled veterans. Thank you for signing the law to treat DAV heros, Purple Heart Heros, and former POW heros exactly = military retirees with pay for the purposes of base access for Commissary/PX/Lodging worldwide.

    Undersecretary of Defense, sir please update us and the great folks operating the Visitors Centers in Japan soon.

  10. PATRICK FARLEY    

    AFT wants my full social, is it a safe site?

    1. Fred Wilson    

      When I registered, I had to provide my DD214, Social Security Card, Passport, and Proof of my VA Disability rating. After all the visitor center personnel finally asked for my VHIC card. After about an hour, I was granted access.

      1. PATRICK FARLEY    

        Did you give your SS numbers on line or in person? Thanks.

        1. Fred Wilson    

          In provided my SS card in person.

    2. shannon    

      The Main Store Manager of the Okinawa Exchange/Kadena BX responded to an email to me personally on this question a couple of weeks ago. It’s a NO for Japan regarding disabled VETs using commissary/ BX. His response: the New Patronage Expansion for service-connected disabled veterans- Unfortunately, the expansion of privileges offered to certain categories of Veterans does not apply to installations in Japan due to the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement restrictions.

  11. Joseph Brown    

    DEERS tells me to call 877-477-5807, No person to talk to, as they have no sales department. Chat has no idea what I’m talking about. I have been service-connected for 30 years and finally get some extra benefits but can’t use them because of incompetence, ignorance and non-communication. Now DEERS says I have to be 100% for VA to let them know I am service-connected, but don’t know how AFT is accessing info from DEERS. What do I do?

  12. Joseph Brown    

    DEERS says they are not getting info from the VA. The VA says they do not send the info to DEERS. VA is sending a Comissary Letter to me and said I need to send a form to DEERS to update my status. It has only been 30 years since separation.

    1. Joseph Brown    

      Now, DEERS says to contact MIL TRAVEL support.

  13. Fred Wilson    

    Just curious, do Veterans who gain base access able to use the Chow/Mess Hall?

    1. John Whalen    

      I had lunch at one on Camp Humphreys last week.
      They were more than happy to take my money!

    2. Alfredo Cabrera    

      Is that a mwr, exchange, commissary activity?

  14. Alfredo Cabrera    

    MWR self generating revenue facilities are category B and C or just C

    1. Alfredo Cabrera    

      does this new law only applies to MWR category C activities?

      1. JW    

        Alfredo, technically, Category C MWR activities are the self-generating activities. However, some Category B activities are more self-sufficient than others. DoD has specified access for some specific Category B activities and has given the Military Departments the ability to designate others if there is capacity and the majority of the operating expenses are covered by usage fees.

  15. Jim Anglum    

    Just a FYI try going through The Exchange website to AFT as that worked for me. Thanks for all your work and I will try the main website page and see if it works in the future.

    1. A Sims    

      I can’t get in through the site directly either….but can access through the exchange…although going that way, you can’t check cruise packages.

  16. Brian Burdette    

    I have a VA ID that I received back in 2012 from the VA Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. I have used my VA ID card at Naval Station Mayport, Florida’s NEX and Commissary since January 01 with no problem. I was dropping off my son at New River MCAS at Camp Lejeune, N.C.for School of Infantry East on Tuesday the 7th of January. At the commissary, they asked me if the VA had sent me a letter and advised me that there is more that I did not know about using my VA card for access to the commissary. Is there something that the VA is supposed to send me so that I can have my VA card updated?

  17. Volker Mulling    

    I was told to go to the local VA Hospital to receive my VHIC card as a purple heart recipient and will go there to apply. Does anyone have experience with this at Bay Pines Hospital St. Petersburg, FL?

    1. Jody Spears    

      The only place I’m aware of that you can get the DD Form (ID) card is on base at McDill. I tried at JAHVA in Tampa and was told to go to the base

  18. James Wilson    

    Thanks for the update for Korea and Germany below, the process seems to be working well. Is the process is working in Japan yet? The sofa already allows retirees and 100 percent davs in japan as stated indicates access by the DoD in question 6 above. As I mentioned in my previous comment, have they worked out all the hiccups in implementing this new policy?

  19. Jerry Shoemaker    

    Here is my experience today, I went to an IACS office here in Germany and was presented with the following requirement in respect to VHIC access:
    1 – 17 page AE Form 604-1B
    2 – German Police Report
    3 – German Residence Visa
    4 – Passport
    5 – VHIC

    I was told I would be issued an Installation Pass and would not use my VHIC to gain access to include (exclude) guest sign in. I do not drive and require alternative transportation, so this really restricts my “privilege”.
    This is the same procedure I had to fulfill what I worked on an Installation.
    Totally different as to what I have been reading on VA Website.
    Good note to this was acquiring the PINK Tax card was absolutely problem free, I have it. So I can travel with friends who do have guest sign-in privileges and using my VHIC and Tax card I can make purchases. So problem lies with the IACS (Installation Access) office. So there is NO benefit here for a Veteran with 70% Service Connected VHIC when Installation Access is such a nightmare. Making purchases is resolved with VHIC and Pink Tax Card from German Customs Office.
    Maybe this can resolved to the BENEFIT of the Veteran…

    1. John Whalen    

      I left Germany in 2004. Has the access for retirees changed since then?
      I still can’t figure how these host (read: defeated) countries can tell OUR military what they can do on THEIR installations. The US flag is flying over them, isn’t it?
      It never made sense, and it never will make sense to me.

      1. Richard Canizaro    

        What do you know about using MWR Lodging in Germany? Because the Edelweiss lodging said we do not qualify.

    2. Rodney Horn    

      Jerry, Can you explain in detail how to obtain the following? And what base was you trying to get access to?

      1 – 17 page AE Form 604-1B – Not sure what document you are looking at?
      2 – German Police Report – Simply go to your local German Police station to get this report?
      3 – German Residence Visa – Does this mean if you are visiting from the US, don’t even try?
      4 – IACS office here in Germany – Where is this located? What does IACS stand for?

      Thank you.

      1. Jerry Shoemaker    

        Hi Rodney,

        Just as a follow-up— GERMANY RELATED ONLY

        1. AE Form 604-1B: -> Online, IACS office or from me.. I can send you a copy also..
        2. German Police Report: -> Your local Gemeinde Rathaus or Landratsamt
        3. German Residence Visa: Landratsamt when you live here as civilian with NO Logistics support.
        4. IACS: -> = Installation Access Control (I would guess).. Offices should be on every Installation, you can check the website of your local installation or the one you intend on visiting..

  20. Jim B    

    Still having problem getting on America forces travel.com is there a problem or is there anything else I have to do to resolve this problem

    1. MB    

      Jim, if you are putting it in as written in your query, you may be able to resolve by adding an “n” on America. I just tried and was able to access.

  21. ADAM SMITH    

    Why are so many bases denying access and veterans like second class citizens and denying escort privileges? Despite the law and DoD guidance all over the place announcing disabled veterans can access bases, escort guests, the guidance is correct that the new access is equal access just like retirees by the way. That is the law. We were waiting a long time since 2017

    Then, the DoD said that disabled veterans using their VHIC will be treated equally for access to benefits under the law, but this did not happen according to many comments on this blog.

    On this blog, disabled veterans are reporting being treated like second class citizens and not equal to retirees with pay. Not granted access to the base altogether, or being told they can not escort guests, even their wives or kids! And what would the intent of that be by the way, nobody has published one. But it doesn’t matter because this is discrimination against innocent disabled veterans and not equal access under the law.

    Many veterans were suspicious when the DoD announced the VHIC would be used as the ID because we know 100% disabled veterans have the blue DoD ID card. They were suspicious because they know that the DoD does not easily accept the VHIC.Now, the VHIC usage is being used against disabled veterans by local bases as an excuse to place disabled veterans as second class citizens and not grant equal access.

    The DoD is very very quiet about these developments.

    What was the DoD doing all this time since the law was passed, they claimed they were preparing and implementing the law. However, with all the unequal treatment of many veterans and many bases, who is now asking them “what happened?”

    Well, is the DoD going to grant equal access or not?

    This current DoD implementation of the law is treating disabled veterans like second class citizens, not equal to retirees in any way WRT access to bases and MWR/Commissary.

    Where are the announcements by the DoD in response to this second class treatment and disabled veterans and other American heros being treated this way?

  22. Rod Horn    

    I went to a local (Central Ohio) National Guard base that has a small BX, Barber shop etc. They took my information and said everything was cool but they had to do a background check and since it’s a small base they could not do it automatically. So I’m still waiting, sounds like I will be able to get on tomorrow Jan 8th. Funny thing is I called the commissary and they were more aware of the new law than base security.

    I did call Wright Patterson Air force Base and they said all is good and they are all set. The only thing that kind of stinks is it sounds like I will have to do a background check every time instead of getting a pass that allows you to simply show your VHIC card etc. But oh well, still grateful for the opportunity to get access to bases again.

    1. John Whalen    

      Update!
      I had success using the commissary and PX on Camp Humphreys.
      I had to go to the One Stop, register my VHIC in DBIDS and apply for a ration card. I got a temporary ration letter, and the card should be coming soon.
      With the VHIC registered in DBIDS I’m able to get on post and can even sign my wife in at the Visitor Control Center.
      So, in short, the process is working now. Just some hiccups at the beginning, like any other new policy.

      1. James Wilson    

        Thanks for the update for Korea. Is the process is working in Japan yet?

        I guess its the defense dept. policy, DTM 19-012 states that overseas access is authorized worldwide and depends on sofa, but the sofa already allows retirees and 100 percent davs in japan as stated indicates access by the DoD in question 6 above. DTM 19-012 also states other DoD memos which state that VHIC can be used for base access worldwide for these purposes.

        Thank you President Trump POTUS for signing the law and orders to make sure to take care of disabled veterans and treat us exactly = military retirees with pay for the base access for Commissary/PX/Lodging worldwide. I hope military leaders figure it out all the hiccups and confusion and faithfully implement your clear orders POTUS.

    2. Richard Canizaro    

      Some Bases have made it very difficult for veterans. I understand the initial background check but you shouldnt have to stop at the visitor center every time you bring your spouse on base. I have no issue with a one time background check on family members. Even if its only good for several years. You’re correct, we are supposed to have the same access as retirees. From my understand, retirees dont have to stop by the visitor center with their guest.

  23. Ben Black    

    Just went to Navy Base San Diego. They were prepared and the process was quick. Now just a 5 day wait and go back with my Real ID and VHIC. However, they are stating NO GUEST PRIVILEGES. I mentioned that was not what was posted on the VA site and Fact Sheet and was just told ,”NO.” According to the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 we are to have the same rights and privileges as retirees. Is there an exception? How can I take my family camping or even to the Exchange?

    1. Orlando Gotay    

      So are your credentials enrolled at the Navy Base in San Diego, meaning you don’t have to do that check every time you want to do in?

      1. Ben Black    

        That is my understanding. Going back to day as I have been notified I am good to go. Had a friend do the process yesterday at MCAS Miramar. They did the check in an hour and he was told they have guest privileges. However, they did tell him guests will have to check in each time and that he would have to repeat the process at other bases.

      2. Ben Chan    

        I did mine on 1/2/20 and allowed access after a 5 day background check. I have been able to access base at Naval Base San Diego with my kids and entered for the first time with my spouse. They let me through but adviaed that anyone older than 18 is not allowed to be escorted. From what I am reading, VHIC eligible card holders are allowed to sponsor guests. At minimum, family should be allowed to accompany. Can anyone confirm this?

  24. MRD    

    Update to my previous comment, regarding Q1. After my visit to the VA Medical Center this morning, I learned the following. In order to obtain VA Health Eligibility Form H623A, the veteran must contact the VA Health Eligibility Center (HEC) at 877-222-VETS (8387) to request the H623A indicating they’re priority group 8E. The form will be mailed to the veteran after processing.

    Apparently this form is only with the VA Health Eligibility Center, and doesn’t reside with eligibility office at your local VA Medical Center.

    I was told by a knowledgeable and helpful VA veteran experience specialist here in DC, that the HEC in Atlanta, GA just had a meeting about this form this morning (Tues., 1/7/20), and have not been able to process them yet.

  25. Josh Benoit    

    Because everyone seems to be having varying experiences accessing their local bases, I decided to call before attempting base access. I just spoke to the desk sergeant at the Westover Air Force Base (Chicopee, MA) visitor center and he told me that they aren’t letting anyone on base using the DAV Bill guidelines. He said that because the database rollout isn’t complete and they have not been given ANY guidelines, they aren’t “taking any chances.” Disabled veterans do not have access to the base (Class 6, gas station, etc) or MWR services at Westover AFB.

    This rollout is rooooouuuuggh.

    1. Terry Gersdorf    

      That is ridiculous just typical Hurry up and Wait…..If I were you I would contact your Congressman No excuse when many other bases are doing this.

  26. MRD    

    I am a veteran, with service connected rating of zero percent. I am registered with the VA medical center in Washington DC. I am NOT eligible for the VHIC as I am in eligibility group 8E due to my income.

    I am sitting in the atrium of the VA medical center DC, having just been told by the eligibility office that they have never heard of VA Health Eligibility Form H623A, and don’t have it.

    I’m going to speak with a VA veteran experience specialist next. Hopefully they could help. The VA needs to ensure this law and associated policy are quickly and properly promulgated throughout the organization.

    1. Ronald Page II    

      I spent several hours on the phone trying to find out about this VA Health Eligibility Form H623A and how I get one since I also fall in the eligibility group 8E. I was passed to about a half dozen veteran agencies from the Health Resource Center, DFAS, Health Eligibilty, VA Regional Benefits Administration, and the Department of Defense Call Center. No one that I spoke to knew of or could locate any information on what the H623A form is. It would be nice if veterans in the 8E category, such as myself, that need this H623A form to gain access to the bases and facilities could get the support needed to acquired this document.

    2. JB    

      It’s going to be awhile before the bugs get worked out

      1. MCC    

        Same here ! Signed MCC

  27. Exchange    

    This new expanded patron base is eligible to purchase alcohol. If you’re having challenges, please let us know the location so we can retrain our teams.

    1. Christian Figueroa Rivera    

      Please retrain or inform teams at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico; they are not allowing us to purchase alcohol.

  28. John Spears    

    I tried to get access into Warner Robins AFB but was told at the Visitor Center I couldn’t because my VHIC didn’t have a member number. I am Service Connected. How do I get a member number?

    1. Terry Gersdorf    

      You should be able to get a replacement card at your local clinic I got mine here in Stockbridge

    2. Rob ros    

      Can you roll out your teams to military bases in San Diego, ca? They are not letting eligible veterans with their guests as stated that you can bring guests on the VA website and this website (top questions)

  29. Roy Cogburn    

    Greatly disappointed in the new veterans with 0 to 90% gaining access to bases. Well, spent 2 1/2 hours in visitors welcome center doing paper work and lots of waiting only to find out this pass is good for only 6 months. In 6 months have to go back to welcome center to go through waiting and paper work again to get another pass to enter base. Not all bases will accept another bases access pass. At another base one might have to go through same wait and paper work ordeal. Paper work needed is vehicle registration, automobile insurance, drivers license and VHID card. Good luck… By the way, wife has to go in guest welcome center every time and do the long wait in line to get a gate pass which is only good for 1 day.

    1. Terry Gersdorf    

      Wow looks like every base is different with procedures Robins AFB was very efficient and fast took like 15 minutes and no expiration. Curious which base gave you all this grieve??

  30. Jacob    

    When I registered my VHIC at MacDill AFB, the woman working behind the counter told me only a spouse and minor children were allowed to be brought on base as a guest. When I mentioned this website said differently, she said that was a rule set by the base commander, then the squadron commander. I haven’t tried getting a visitor pass for anyone yet, but it sounded like she didn’t know what she was talking about. Is there any official regulation or policy regarding veterans bringing guests onto an installation?

  31. Michael Bodenbender    

    I haven’t gone to a base near me yet but I did just call the visitor center at Dobbins ARB near me in Georgia and I spoke to someone there named James who was very nice and helpful. He advised that with my VHIC ID that says service connected I will need to check in with the visitors center during their normal open hours one time on my first visit to get the background and get registered in the system. He said one I am registered in the system I am good for 3 years to show my VHIC at the gate and go on in the base. Regarding taking a guest on base with me such as my spouse he said that they would allow it on a day by day basis and every time I would need to go to the visitors center and have her get a day pass. He also confirmed what I was already thinking that it was still early in the process and it would take some time to get the bugs worked out of the system.

    I appreciate being able to get back on base and shop and enjoy some of the MWR benefits. A day pass for the wife is definitely better than no access at all which is what I am hearing from some other folks. I get that its not convenient considering the visitors center has limited hours and generally isn’t open on the weekends. Maybe at some point they will get some of this cleared up for us.

    1. Terry Gersdorf    

      Hey there
      Would you know the hours of the Visitor Center? Or at least the phone number I can them myself.
      Thanks

      1. Michael Bodenbender    

        Dobbins ARB Visitor Center #678-655-5738. They told me their hours were 7:30 – 3:00 Monday – Friday.

  32. Pat Cruze    

    This is in ref to my last email. I do have a service connected disability and have a VAIHC that states that it is a service connected disability.

    1. JB    

      I Have heard it’s not much of any savings than what you can find on other site like hotel.com and trivago.com. I have personally found some good deals on this site shopvcs.va.gov/ as well as the other sites that I have mentioned…Good luck!

  33. Pat Cruze    

    I have tried to access the Americanforcestravel.com website and it continues to DENY my access to the site. I have called almost everybody in the world that I have been told to call and each conversation leads to a new phone number with another individual that doesn’t have a clue as to what to do to help other than to pass me off to someone else! This is so FREAKING frustrating. I even got to talk to DEERS as they are the agency that does the authenticating, what a joke! PLEASE HELP The following is the message I get when I try to access the site: Oops! Something went wrong
    All Customers

    Please review the information you have provided. When verifying your eligibility for the first time you must submit

    the last four digits of your Social Security Number
    your birth date (Month/Day/Year)
    and your last name, which must match your official DEERS record

    Access to AFT is restricted to eligible patrons only.
    Who we serve?
    Who we serve

    American Forces TravelSM is committed to providing high-quality and best value travel services to patrons affiliated with the Department of Defense as a way to thank them for their service and dedication to our country.

    Authorized Patrons Today:

    All current active duty military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard)
    All members of the Reserve components and National Guard
    All retired military, including those in the Reserves and National Guard who are retirement eligible
    All Medal of Honor recipients and 100% disabled veterans
    All Department of Defense civilian serving outside the United States,including appropriated funds (APF) employees and nonappropriated funds (NAF) employees
    All current active duty and retired US Public Health Service (USPHS)
    All current active duty and retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    Full-time, paid employees of the American Red Cross and United Service Organizations (USO) hired in the United States and serving at U.S. DoD installations overseas
    Eligible family members who are officially sponsored (ID card holder) by authorized patrons in the above categories
    Coast Guard Auxiliary Active Duty

    Eligible Authorized Patrons Coming Soon:

    All Department of Defense civilians serving within the United States, including appropriated funds employees and non-appropriated funds employees
    All Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) civilians in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), including appropriated and nonappropriated fund employees

    Note: The online eligibility verification process for stateside civilians and Coast Guard Auxiliary is under development. In the meantime, we invite civilians to contact their MWR ticket and travel office. As eligible patrons, agents will be able to assist you with your travel needs allowing you to take advantage of the AFT deals as well.
    Please read the above message before trying again.

    1. Josh Benoit    

      According to the AFT Facebook page, only about 25% of the database has been updated. They suggest continuing to try logging in each day until it eventually works. They plan on posting a message when the entire database load is complete.

    2. Michael Panicali    

      Same here…it appears the word has not filtered down to the on-line systems.

    3. JW    

      Pat, refresh your browser and you will see the updated eligibility screen for the American Forces Travel website that went live on 1/1. for accessing the site, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  34. Roger Davis    

    I went into the Class VI here on 3 Jan, I was told that “service connected” were not allowed alcohol or tobacco purchases. The manager stated that there was a letter out staying this. Is this true?

    1. Josh Benoit    

      Shoulda asked the manager for a copy of the letter! Always call their bluff.

    2. Exchange    

      Hi, Roger.If you are eligible for the shopping benefit, you should have been allowed to buy alcohol. Pease advise where this occurred so we can ensure our team has the proper training.

      1. Roger Davis    

        This happened at the Class VI at Fort Jackson. The clerk actually called the manager to the front of the store and she said in no uncertain terms were “service connected” allowed to buy alcohol or tobacco products. Wasn’t going to be confrontational so I left my items at the register and kindly said that I would return at a later date.

        1. Robert    

          There have been a lot veteran’s who have been told that they are not allowed to use the class 6, It would be great if they clarify this issue. Some phone numbers you call to get information tell you yes you can buy ,but the manger of the class 6 says no, which one is it?

        2. Exchange    

          Hi, Roger,
          Could you kindly email us your contact information? We’d to reach out to you to make this right. We are at customerrelations@aafes.com. Thank you.

        3. Kevin JWilliams    

          Has this been worked out on Ft. Jackson? I was told the same thing and it was actually a sign in the Class 6 saying that. I didn’t have any problems registering at the gate on Ft. Jackson, it took about 15 minutes on 3 January. The Class 6 was my only problem.

  35. Oluwatuyi Olawale    

    I have a VHIC but it doesn’t have service connected on it. Pls more enlightenment

    1. JW    

      Oluwatuyl, as the answer to Q10 stated, not everyone who has a VHIC is eligible for this benefit, so if you’re not a Purple Heart recipient, not a former prisoner of war, or don’t have a service-connected disability rating, you’re not eligible. If you do meet at least one of these new criteria and you VHIC doesn’t show it, then you need to get a new VHIC.

    2. Roger Davis    

      This happened at the Class VI at Fort Jackson. The clerk actually called the manager to the front of the store and she said in no uncertain terms were “service connected” allowed to buy alcohol or tobacco products. Wasn’t going to be confrontational so I left my items at the register and kindly said that I would return at a later date.

  36. Cliff Mccrady    

    First I would like to say this is great. I went to my local Base in south Carolina. Me and my spouse went to the v.c so I could show my service connected vhic card and do the background check. All took maybe five minutes if that. We were saddened when told my wife could not accompany me on base. I’m confused. Can they or not? Any help would be great thanks.

  37. Jamil lee    

    Is alcohol ok to purchase with the service connected

  38. Michael Cantu    

    Will they be able to purchase alcohol and cigerretts

  39. ADAM SMITH    

    Why is the commissary website not accepting disabled veterans to register? We have been waiting months while the DoD allegedly prepares for 1 JAN and when the time comes its like they did nothing at all.

    1. JW    

      Adam, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  40. Robert E Spaid    

    I was at Fairchild AFB on Jan 2. I had my VIHC with me. They said I needed a Washington State Enchanced License which I do not have. I did have my U.S. passport with me. They could not accept it. I told them a passport is a FEDERAL document and a Washington State enhanced driver’s license is a STATE document. I always thought FEDERAL trumps STATE. Apparently not. I also have a agent letter from the base commander and a DBIDS ID( a contracter’s ID) to drive my elderly mother to the BX, Commissary and the base hospital pharmacy for my mother’s prescriptions. So i left the visitor’s center and proceeded to the gate…… I showed the airman my agent letter and DBIDS ID ( like I previously have done in the past ) and then I told him that I have a VIHC with service connected…….he told me that will work also. I asked him ” I was told I need a Wa state enchanced license as I was told at the visitor’s center and that i had my passport with me “. He told me i don’t need a enchanced license or a passport but your VIHC is sufficent . So i proceeded through and on my way out the gate I stopped at the visitor’scenter and told them what the officer at the gate told me. They told me he is wrong! I just thought …..lack of communication. They also told me no visitor’s can be allowed with me (contradicting what this article says). I think I am going to call Washington State congress person Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Monday morning…..is it up to each installation on the rules? Or is it straight across the board at all military installations in the nation ? ? Just need some clarification ! If Fairchild requires a Wa state enchance license rather than a U.S. passport then I will get one since I live here in Spokane. I am also a avid traveler so I will stop at other military installations around the nation……just thinking ” are the other installations going to have their own rules” ?? Or will D.O.D. have rules straight across the board for all military installations ? Hopefully my congress woman can investigate and get answers for me. When I get some feedback from her I will post the info. CLARIFICATION !

  41. Michael Bodenbender    

    I’ve been following the comments here the last couple of days. Like everyone else I wasn’t getting access to America Forces Travel. I tried again this morning and the DEERS verification went through and I did finally get access to the website. I tried the commissary website and they still show me as not authorized. Maybe it will take a few weeks until the bugs get worked out. It seems like a lot of folks are having problems getting bases to allow us to sponsor a spouse to come on base with us. The guidance was all pretty clear that this would be allowed. Hopefully they will this fixed for us over the next few weeks. If not maybe we can reach out to our political representatives for assistance.

    Out of curiosity has anyone been able to access a base and sponsor a spouse to come with you under this new program?

    1. Denita Covert    

      I was able to register my card and access the AFB here in Oklahoma City, however I was told I could not sponsor even my husband to come with me. Highly frustrating, I am hoping that word is passed quickly that we ARE authorized to bring someone with us.

  42. Shiegrea C.Lopez    

    I live in Jacksonville Florida and was trying to find out about the NAVY FLYING CLUB under their MWR and whether or not I can join them. But they rejected my request since it still says only Active Duty/Dependents and Civil Air Patrol. Is there a delay in dispensing these information to the BASES and MWR? Do they have the authority to deny Vets that are qualified under this rule to use the amenities? Is a flying club not part of the MWR listed under clubs in Q8?

    1. Mike R    

      You could join the Civil Air Patrol. It is free, or you can donate, and you’re in!

  43. Jorge Meade Jr    

    I’m service connected veteran and I do hold a Veteran  Health ID Card. I’m looking  forward  for the new patronage effort for the eligible veterans and Family Caregivers). Family members.

    My question  to you, will my spouse be eligible to be issue access card to get onto secure military installations and the base facilities for the new upcoming  changes (she’s not on deers and / and we’re been married  for 4 years) or any other  military  benefits that is eligible since my end of service April 1996.

    Last, if my spouse is not eligible for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers), to have access to the base will my spouse will have to get a temporary pass or guess pass every visit?

  44. Rick Davis    

    What was the point of waiting since they implemented the law in 2017 if they didn’t use that time to prepare?

    I got denied access to a Navy Base because they said there was no policy. Lord Mercy, isn’t the DoD DTM 19-012 “Expansion of Patronage for Certain Veterans and Certain Caregivers for Veterans” good enough policy, it is pretty clear, What about Navy Installation’s command’s press release Story Number: NNS191213-07Release Date: 12/13/2019 10:29:00 AM authorizing access effective 1 JAN 2020?

    What is the contact phone number to call when we get denied? Why is there no information freely and beforehand published about who answers the questions and makes sure that the policy is followed at the bases and is not subject to whims and whimseys of whoever is on duty? That is not fair they are not following DoD policy and the law. Many veterans are getting denied entry.

  45. Rick Davis    

    I went to a Navy base and was denied access today. I called ahead and they said it was okay, come over and register my VHIC. After I arrived, they told me they heard of the law and there was no policy and after I called a petty officer on duty said there was no policy yet of course that person wasn’t there, just a messenger on duty who said no. They were polite, but for goodness sakes who do I call for help? Who is the point of contact to report bases who refuse to follow the DoD policy and Federal law? Please tell me VA, put that question in your FAQs, how many veterans must wait now, you had 2 years to implement this and create policy memos. Help VA, what is the contact to ask why local bases are turning away veterans?

  46. Steven Epstein    

    This is a big surprise to me. Hats off to the DOD for getting this done. I feel ling overdue but better late then never.
    “Hurry up and wait” I am sure it will take time for all benifits will be given.
    Thank you again
    Steven Epstein

  47. Andrew Martinez    

    How will RV’ers whom carry firearms be dealt with? We have permits and also have a (CCWP) a carry concealed weapons permit? Thank you.

  48. RICARDO A JIMENEZ    

    I have a 20% service connected disability and plan on visiting Hawaii in May of this year to celebrate my 80th Birthday, will I be able to stay at military resort for eight days along with my wife?

    1. JW    

      Ricardo, with your Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” on the front below your photo, you are eligible to stay at the military resort in Hawaii with your wife. However, as with all eligible users, making reservations is subject to availability and Hawaii is a popular destination, so make sure you plan early.

  49. Rick Davis    

    There are lots of veterans here are reporting that they are being denied entry at the gates and denied from escorting on base.

    I thought this was a federal law for equal acess the same as retired with pay, and not some flippant idea floating out there in the ether, mercy to the whims and whimsey’s of whoever happens to be on duty and whatever he feels like doing that day?

  50. Lito Alvarez    

    Apparantly American Travel Forces haven’t included Veteran’s in their eligibility category, their web site still shows: American Forces TravelSM is committed to providing high-quality and best value travel services to patrons affiliated with the Department of Defense as a way to thank them for their service and dedication to our country.

    Authorized Patrons Today:

    All current active duty military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard)
    All members of the Reserve components and National Guard
    All retired military, including those in the Reserves and National Guard who are retirement eligible
    All Medal of Honor recipients and 100% disabled veterans
    All Department of Defense civilian serving outside the United States,including appropriated funds (APF) employees and nonappropriated funds (NAF) employees
    All current active duty and retired US Public Health Service (USPHS)
    All current active duty and retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    Full-time, paid employees of the American Red Cross and United Service Organizations (USO) hired in the United States and serving at U.S. DoD installations overseas
    Eligible family members who are officially sponsored (ID card holder) by authorized patrons in the above categories
    Coast Guard Auxiliary Active Duty
    Eligible Authorized Patrons Coming Soon:

    All Department of Defense civilians serving within the United States, including appropriated funds employees and non-appropriated funds employees
    All Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) civilians in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), including appropriated and nonappropriated fund employees
    Note: The online eligibility verification process for stateside civilians is under development. In the meantime, we invite civilians to contact their MWR ticket and travel office. As eligible patrons, agents will be able to assist you with your travel needs allowing you to take advantage of the AFT deals as well.

    1. JW    

      Lito, refresh your browser if you are looking at the eligibility screen for the American Forces Travel website. As of January 1, the eligibility information was updated in the section that mentions Medal of Honor recipients. If you are having trouble accessing the site, keep in mind that the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

    2. AF Vet    

      Well, here’s the good news and the bad …

      I was keen on trying out American Forces Travel, but was stymied by the DEERS eligibility roadblock. Not even a direct call to DEERS could resolve the problem.

      So, a workaround was necessary. Luckily, the local Coast Guard installation was ready and willing to accommodate newly eligible veterans. A phone call to the Pass and ID office confirmed that all I needed was my “Service Connected”-emblazoned VHIC to get through the gate. Another phone call to the facility’s MWR office revealed a route into the AFT website. “Come on down,” was the cheerful director’s response to my query. “I have an agent’s log-in to the AFT site. Once I get you signed in (I can’t actually give you the log-in credentials), you can search for your flights here in the office.”

      That’s the good news. I got on base with no problem. I was greeted by helpful MWR staff who were very accommodating. I got onto the AFT website. And that where the bad … or should I say, not-so-good, news starts.

      The pricing for flights was no better, and in fact, was actually worse than that which could be found on an airline site. AFT uses Priceline as its vendor. Priceline, at least in this one instance, didn’t represent a magic gateway to savings.

      Not surprising, when you think about it, really. At most revenue-generating operations on military installations (exchanges, etc), patrons pay retail prices. It’s just that the profits go to subsidize MWR activities, The savings realized from use of exchanges mostly comes from taxes. Or, rather, lack of taxes. In my locality, that amounts to a nearly 10% discount. Not insubstantial, especially when buying a big ticket item like a monster TV. But compared to Costco?

      So, the lesson learned today: Don’t get your hopes up. While bargains might indeed be found in some MWR activities, you’re more likely to see regular, old commercial pricing.

    3. Shiegrea C.Lopez    

      I live in Jacksonville Florida and was trying to find out about the NAVY FLYING CLUB under their MWR and whether or not I can join them. But they rejected my request since it still says only Active Duty/Dependents and Civil Air Patrol. Is there a delay in dispensing these information to the BASES and MWR? Do they have the authority to deny Vets that are qualified under this rule to use the amenities?

    4. John Whalen    

      Saturday, 4 January 2020, I ran into a problem when trying to shop at Camp Humphreys, Korea.
      I called the PX and Commissary to verify that everything was good to go for shopping on the camp.
      I got in the gate fine, thanks to a nice security fellow who gave me his cell number.
      Proceeded to the PX and with just a bit of a run around was able to purchase items there.
      Went to the Commissary, filled my cart, then tried to pay.
      That’s when the trouble began.
      I didn’t get the name of the person I talked to previously, and the people who were there seemed puzzled. They finally found some information, but claimed that the ID is only for CONUS.
      Nowhere in 10 U.S. Code § 1065 does it mention that.
      It stated plainly that “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.”
      Retirees are allowed to shop at the Humphreys Commissary.
      I’ll have to contact someone again next week about this. It seems they are trying to reinterpret the law.

    5. E4 Mafia    

      Seems like everybody’s comment here is about frustration of this newly “awesome” benefit. I am just going to wait another full year to try to access the nearest base to my house. Hopefully all those responsible for implementing this benefit which are being paid by my hard earned taxes, have sort it out in 12 months.

      E4 Mafia

  51. Cornelius Davis    

    I’m at NSA Millington as I type this. I was told that we cannot bring guests when we present our VHIC. According to the FAQs we can bring guests.

    1. Misipati Mulipola    

      I have been trying to verify my eligibility as well and kept getting an error. However, i was able to access it through the myexchange.com. If you login to your myexchange account, there’s a link to the travel site that will take you there and be able to looking around for flights, hotels etc. the only other options that will prompted eligibility verification are tickets and cruises ‍♂️. Other than those two, you should be able to search for flights and hotels. They are cheaper than other sites. Hope this help.

    2. Fred Wilson    

      I also went to the NSA Millington, and what a nightmare it was getting access. They would not accept the VHIC and passport. I had to provide my SS card, DD214, Letter from VA proving my disability rating, and passport, then my VHIC. After about an hour, I had my picture taken and was granted access. Was informed I am not permitted to bring and guests.

  52. Richard Carl Jenkins    

    I ran into a WALL, just as I expected, when I handed the gate guard my pass on January 2. My VA issued U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ID card with service connected disabilities that will expire in 2024 did NOT appear on the security guard’s scanner. That’s not happened in the eight plus years I’ve had disabilities. Therefore my pass that specifies I’m allowed on base and can escort one person won’t work anymore, to say nothing of having the new, added
    privileges.
    So security told me at the east gate that I would have to turn around and enter at the west gate. The west gate told me their scanner was broken so they could not rescan my existing card back into the system. Go back over to the east gate where they will straighten it all out.

    You would think that this base, any base for that matter, would be prepared for this new privilege since it has been promised and in the works for well over a year.

  53. Raul G Montalvo    

    Please I need help! I am part of the veterans that will now be available to have access to the commissary, exchange and MWR Services. But for some reason in Fort Buchanan Puerto Rico they are restricting access to guest of us coming in the installations with guests such as my spouse. They also are not allowing guests to enter with me to the commissary or the exchange. In other words if I go with my spouse or family they would have to stay outside. They can’t give me any regulation or documentation or word of where it says that I cannot come in with a guest but it clearly states in the Q&A you provided that we can. Please I need help in this matter.

    I have communicated to Garrison Commander of United States Army Garrison, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico LTC James Rowsey via tweeter and showing him all literature and evidence that says we can but he would not budge
    Source
    https://twitter.com/USMCPR/status/1212029106558246915?s=20
    https://twitter.com/LtcRowsey/status/1212058905313980416?s=20

    1. Rick Davis    

      Yeah right, I don’t believe it. What if you have a baby or a child, they can’t be escorted either? Leave the baby outside the gates? All the DoD guidance even above states that you can escort on base. The name of the law is the equal access act, access to the base and certain MWR/commissary and lodging, is the same as retired with pay. The base escort privileges are nothing different than retired with pay as well.

      1. Raul Montalvo    

        Thank you so much for this information

      2. Rob W    

        Minors are allowed, spouses are not. I was just at pass and ID for Tinker AFB, I was told this was a MAJCOM decision, no info on why.

    2. Celina Benoit    

      That is soooo ridiculous. Why isn’t everyone on the same page. I think the entities that planned this are leaving too much to interpretation. The rules seen pretty clear as laid out be the fact sheet but now it seems that the individual bases can choose which of them to follow. The only thing that should be up to discretion of base command should be whether or not to allow us to use category b facilities. At this point, I think I’m going to have to talk to my VSO to get myself to 100% so I can avoid some of this red tape. I do understand that there are kinks to be worked out but getting on base shouldn’t be one of them. I live on base already so luckily I have avoided that but I certainly empathize with those of you that can’t get on or are haven’t been denied the right to sponsor your family to come with you. What’s the fun in going bowling alone? Or to the pool? Or to play golf? Hopefully the powers that be are getting this feedback and will work to ensure everyone is on the same page.

      1. Elbert Calloway    

        yes it the same here at N.A.S Jacksonville , FL. I am allow on base, but not my spouse. I appreciate what they are doing for us(veterans). I feel the spouse and family should be enjoy the benefits as well. they been by our side(veterans) throughout our military career. What’s the fun in going bowling alone? Or to the pool? Or to play golf? while your family is on the outside looking in.

      2. Elbert Calloway    

        spouses and family should be able to accompany us(veterans) on bases. I appreciate everything that are doing for us(veterans). Spouses and family been by our side(veterans) throughout our military career. What’s the fun in going bowling alone? Or to the pool? Or to play golf? If we can’t enjoy it with our spouse and family. I really don’t understand why it so hard to have our spouses and family accompany us(veterans).

  54. Chris C.    

    There is a false belief, especially with past retired vets accessing the post/bases, that the BX/PX is the greatest deal in town. Folks, this is not the case. In town stores (Walmart, Target etc) are much cheaper than the BX/PX. The commissary is not too bad with prices, but it is still not the deal of the century. The Disney discount with MWR is not bad, but other services you can get a better price in town. There is a belief out in the world that things are cheaper on base and that is simply not true. Some bases have food courts in the BX/PX and the prices are exactly the same as in town (if not higher). Gas is exactly the same as well. Bases are great and have lots of services and its great if you are going to use them, but don’t be lulled into a false hope that prices are magically cheaper.

    1. charles    

      it used to be they were good deals cause they were basically owned by the gvt. now days they are private businesses ,ie profits driven. plus a captive client,most troops do not have a car,as they live on base. like most things the troops got sold out to corporate america.

    2. Jacob B    

      “In town stores (Walmart, Target etc) are much cheaper than the BX/PX”
      Really? I don’t think so. In my county the sales tax rate is 8.5%. On base there is no sales tax. If a local competitor sells an item cheaper, the BX price matches.

  55. Kevin    

    What about getting on base when visitor entrance is closed. Most of them are about 8-5. Then what do you do? How do you get on base then??

    1. JW    

      Kevin, sounds like you will need to plan your first visit when the visitor center is open.

    2. Sandra M Deich    

      I agree, my husband is retired and we don’t go, of course the bulk sales (we go to Costco) are nice and if you are overseas that is nice as well.
      But I agree the expansion is a reach and or save for commissary’s and or the PX’s due to the Amazon, Target, Walmart’s and other stores.

  56. Chris C.    

    Folks, you all need to calm down. Don’t you remember your time in military service? Don’t you remember just how inefficient this world is? Uncle Sam really hasn’t changed too much since you were in uniform. Just because the clock strokes midnight on Jan. 1, doesn’t mean all websites and benefits magically kick in, especially where each base may function differently. Remember, we have been in holiday mode for the last two weeks and most bases/posts and VA services are on minimal manning (i.e, not much gets done during this time). I am currently still in uniform as a reservist and it is a frustrating process to get ANYTHING administratively done in a timely manner. It takes weeks to get reserve pay among many other services. I am currently on day number 23 to get a simple paperwork function completed. I can’t believe your response to not getting online services. Are you kidding me!! I have a DoD common access card and it is still a miracle that I can access on-line functions to do simple, MANDATORY things like request orders, pay issues, etc.. I am shocked every time it works. Sometimes I can access on-line military things and sometimes I can’t. If you are new to the automated, online military world, the reality is that it is not as timely or up-to-date as the real on-line world. Sometimes it feels like they are still using old East German technology from the 80’s. This is a new thing and it will take a while for all services to get rolling. GIVE IT TIME!!!

    1. charles    

      when the clock strikes 12 and you owe taxes ,do they say give it time? they had a year or so to prepare. being prepared should be the military standard. do we invade a country ,unprepared? sorry we cannot go to war now,our bullets have not arrived yet.so how much time should they give them?a year or 2?

  57. Glynn Carlock    

    I already have base access due to my work. Will I be able to access exchange without VHIC card? I have disability letter from VA but my current rating is only zero, but higher rating is pending.

    1. JW    

      Glynn, even if you can already access the installation, you cannot shop at the exchange or commissary without either a VHIC that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED,” or a VA Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that indicates you have been placed into VA health care priority group 8E.

      1. Wilman Munoz    

        What is I am service connected but my VHIC does not say it? I am currently 40% disabled but my VHIC does not state that I am service related.

        1. JW    

          Wilman, sounds like you need to go get a new VHIC.

  58. Charles Bittles    

    For base access does it have to be a Real ID? I have an ID that isnt a real ID but it doesnt say federal limits apply either. It’s just a regular ID. I also have a DBIDS ID for the local for base access to the VA.

    1. Garland Hampton    

      Will follow your replies!
      REAL-ID is out of our reach ; 2010 March found 1969 Colorado marriage certificate illegally changed/“faked”. Wife’s name changed from legal name to nickname. This change will keep me from medical care!
      No one will help.

  59. Georgia Benjamin    

    How do I get a VHIC I have a VIC and enrolled in health benefits but I don’t have a service connected disability

  60. Melanie Tan    

    I’m at the visitor center at Miramar Base in San Diego right now (1/2/2020, 4:00pm PST) and they will NOT allow my guest to go with me in the installation!!!

  61. Andy Charles    

    I tried to access the commissary website at JBSA and used the credentials that I used for online access to the Exchanges and could not gain entry to the website.What credentials are needed to be able to gain entrance to this website?

    1. JW    

      Andy, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  62. bajowski    

    False information regarding AmercianServicesTravel.com

    1. JW    

      Bajowski, care to elaborate? What’s your issue?

      1. Jeffrey Gray    

        I’m assuming the issue is the same as everyone else reported. When attempting to validate, it comes back with a message that we cannot be found. According to who they serve listed on the website, disabled veterans with “service connected” disabilities are not included.

    2. Misipati Mulipola    

      If you try verifying your eligibility through their site it won’t work, for now at least. But, if you verify through myexchange.com it will work. Once you gain access through there, there’s a link to the travel site that will let you through and be able to search flights and see prices. It’s been working for me. Hopefully they will eventually update the system but, when I checked my deers through ebenfits, I noticed my dob is off by a day so I’m really concern that mismatch will cause issues with the verification process but deers said it is due to different time zones.

  63. SM    

    Heads up regarding Beale AFB access. They are permitting VHIC access but sponsorship is NOT granted per the wing commander. In other words, leave your spouse at home.

  64. Celina Benoit    

    Can someone (JW) address the Deers issue which is preventing newly eligible veterans from accessing certain websites like AFT and My Commissary. Please give us information on a timeline when they will be accessible. I saw comment about a glitch but appears the websites have not been updated at all.

    1. JW    

      Celina, happy to help. Seems the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

      1. Celina Benoit    

        Thank you JW. I appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions however redundant they may be:)

    2. Manuela Robles    

      Question one wasn’t answered, the question was how do we get a veteran id or on base for that matter if we do not have a service connected disability and we make to much to qualify for VA healthcare.

  65. Melvin Coo    

    Is there any way to be notified when the American Forces Travel website has been updated to allow Daly eligible veterans access?

    1. JW    

      Melvin, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

    2. Christopher R Child    

      I just tried the AFT site and can access.

  66. Ted Roberts    

    Here is the VA program I was referring to–TED

    1. Angel Flener    

      Me too…but the flight tickets arent that great AT ALL!! Also can we please get a list of the cabins and other places where we can stay?

      I am planning on moving to Hawaii within the year and need to start planning this stuff …thanks in advance though!

  67. Josh    

    Is access to the automotive repair facilities covered under this expansion?

    1. JW    

      Josh, you will need to check with the local installation regarding auto skills centers. The Military Departments have discretion to allow access to certain community support MWR activities, like auto skills centers, when there is capacity and user fees cover the majority of operating costs.

      1. Tom Kellogg    

        Today I visited NAS Lemoore and was told that family were not allowed access, only the Veteran. The short background check took over an hour to complete, and was also unable to do anything on American Forces Travel. Hoping I don’t have to do this every time I want to access a base since I also have several near me

        1. OS    

          Ft Meade’s gate uses barcode scanning to grant access. I went into VC today and was granted reoccurring access. She said to scan my VHIC at the gate and to enjoy the great shopping. I didn’t go on base but will try tomorrow and see what happens with the Class 6. If any of you haven’t, apply for the Military STAR card to avoid the extra fees of using a debit or credit card. The VC was very helpful and quick. I can call tomorrow to check on other visitors accompanying me. Ft Meade is a training base so it may be different from regular bases.

  68. Rosalee Adams    

    I see my earlier inquiry has been deleted for whatever reason
    I am 75% service-connected and have been with VA since ’79 yet
    American Forces Travel tells me I AM not qualified

    [Editor: All VA service connections are based on 10s: 0%, 10%, 20%, etc.]

    1. Robert Fahy    

      The same thing just happens to me and I am 60%

      1. JW    

        Robert, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

    2. JW    

      Rosalee, refresh your browser if you are looking at the eligibility screen for the American Forces Travel website. As of January 1, the eligibility information was updated. As for accessing the site, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  69. Rosalee Adams    

    I have been in VA care since ’79 and am currently rated 70% (permanent) yet I am told that I am not qualified to use the ArmedForces travel. ..would imagine turned down for all the rest too.

    Burns me up when I am as a vet, served throughout the Vietnam war + with 70% and they are telling me I am NOT
    qualified but if I was a civilian working for DOD just fine.

    1. Ara Coma    

      I also had problems accessing ArmedForces travel; I shall try contacting DEERS for resolution, as follows:
      https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dwp/contact_us.jsp

      1. JW    

        Ara, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

        1. Ara Coma    

          Note at the bottom of American Forces Travel https://www.americanforcestravel.com/ , as follows:

          “Note: The online eligibility verification process for stateside civilians is under development. In the meantime, we invite civilians to contact their MWR ticket and travel office. As eligible patrons, agents will be able to assist you with your travel needs allowing you to take advantage of the AFT deals as well.”

    2. JW    

      Rosalee, refresh your browser if you are looking at the eligibility screen for the American Forces Travel website. As of January 1, the eligibility information was updated. As for accessing the site, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  70. D. Arnold    

    I am fully qualified to participate under the new law. Today, with all required ID (including my VA Health ID with “Service Connected” stamped), I went to a USCG base and a NAS base and was denied entry to both. Neither gate personnel knew anything about the 1 Jan 2020 implementation – in both cases the gate guard contacted the OOD (Officer of the Day) and he/she also had no knowledge. Has the DOD – or anyone else – actually cascaded this new law down to the individual commissionaires/exchanges/mil bases?

    1. Rick Davis    

      You should make notes of all the details, contact a lawyer and consult with them about the DoD officials breaking the law. They cannot argue they didn’t have enough time to implement the law. This is what happens when they try to force disabled veterans to use a VHIC instead of the proper ID which everybody knows is the uniformed services ID card issued to 100% DAVs. We will likely see many veterans being shamed and interrogated at the gates and turned away.

    2. Steve Wilcutt    

      I also was turned away from a USCG base today. I was told there is no such law and the base commander can refuse access to anyone and they will not accept a VA service connected Disability Card. I was offered access to a USMC Base.

    3. Rick Davis    

      Go the the “DoD issuances” website where they have all the policies. Then print out DTM 19-012 “Expansion of Patronage for Certain Veterans and Certain Caregivers for Veterans” See how they like arguing with the DoD policy in black and white.

    4. Rick Man    

      Something similar happened to me today at the Coast Guard base. I am a disabled veteran and was told I would be able to have access to go on base but not my wife by the security contractor (She had her Real ID Drivers license). Not sure who I would even need to speak to for this to get looked at.

  71. Terry Gersdorf    

    There are several installations in my area. When I register for the first time at one base with my VHIC “Service Connected” card. Do I need to Register at every visitor control center at each base? Or does registration cover all of them?
    Thanks

    1. JW    

      Terry, not all of the installation access control systems are connected, so your best bet is to ask at the first base you visit if enrollment there is good at any of the other installations.

  72. John M. Bajowski    

    Same issue with AmericanForcesTravel.com as of January 2, 2020, Denied access. I am allowed access online to exchanges however.

    1. JW    

      John, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  73. PXBARREDVETATYAHOODOTCOM    

    I think this is complete BS as well!! How much in lobbying money did WalMart, BJ’s, CostCo, Safeway and others spend to cut such a deal with Congress, DoD and the VA!! It’s shameful. Why are two draftees during the VietNam war, one who shipped out to Nam and one who didn’t, be treated any differently for their service? What kind of clueless logistics experts are there in DoD/VA who can’t figure out some solutions to the narrative of facilities being overwhelmed? Like selecting the slowest day of the week to accommodate us excluded veterans at commissaries, PXs, gas stations, liquor stores, etc. Or lotteries for us excluded vets for a certain percentage of MWR facilities. I even don’t mind standing in a slow line set aside for us excluded veterans at commissaries and PXs.

    We vote! Someone needs to organize a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to start a grassroots campaign. To hell with lobbying congress (too much paperwork). Keep it simple and at the grass roots level, in the run-up to the next election for all federal elected representatives and senators: Do You Support The Immediate Change Of Federal Law and/or DoD/VA Policy to Make Military Exchange,Commissary, and MWF Facilities and Privileges Accessible to All Veterans? Yes or No?

    1. JC    

      “Why are two draftees during the VietNam war, one who shipped out to Nam and one who didn’t, be treated any differently for their service?”

      Is this a real question? Do you know what a Purple Heart is? Do you know what a disability is? Do you get mad when people park in handicapped spots and therefore don’t have to walk as far to get to their destination?

      The fact that the top retail stores in the country are lobbying the VA and DOD to prohibit access to commissaries has to be one of the most ridiculous conspiracies I’ve ever heard.

  74. Errol Browning    

    I qualify to access the base facilities with this new program, amazing by the way, Thank You! I tried accessing my old base, Point Loma, and was denied access due to my VHIC not being validated via the bases ID scanning system. Do I have to get a new card or wait for systems to be updated?

    Thank you,

    1. Big Sarge    

      get your GoFundMe campaign up and going….stop expecting someone else to do it…your idea, Get It done

    2. Rob W    

      You have to stop at the visitor center and pass a background check to be added to the entry list. Once you’re on the list you can use your vhic at the gate

  75. Michael Beck    

    I am zero percent service connected and enrolled with VA healthcare, but VA tells me that I cannot get a VHIC card. They also tell me that because I am 0 percent and in group 8E, I am only able to access online commissary benefits. This is contrary to what I am reading as it says I just need to get the Form H623A and use my passport for access. Unfortunately, the VA representative disagrees with this and is not familiar with this form. How can I get this form in lieu of a VHIC card?

    1. JW    

      Michael, you should have received an HEC Form H623A when you were denied enrollment in VA health care. The HEC Form H623A is what tells you that you’ve been placed in priority group 8E, so you should already have it. And see the answer to Q10 above. DoD is accepting the HEC Form H623A paired with an acceptable credential for in-person access.

      1. Michael Beck    

        Thanks for your reply. I definitely didn’t receive the document. I only found out about group 8E because I called today and they told me I was group 8E but they weren’t familiar with the HEC Form H623A.

  76. Joseph Brown    

    I have tried accessing AFT, but it won’t let me in. Also, Missouri just started issuing Real ID and my DL was issued prior. Do I need a new ID?

    1. JW    

      Joseph, apparently there’s a little communication glitch happening on the AFT website that is preventing authentication of users. DoD is working on getting it fixed as soon as possible. Also, if you’ve got your VHIC that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED,” you shouldn’t need the REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.

      1. Joseph Brown    

        It says in all the literature that “Newly eligible Veterans must show a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card; or a Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that states the Veteran has been placed in VA health care priority group 8E, paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. (DoD installations cannot accept a driver’s license that is not REAL ID-compliant as proof of identity.)”

        Also, wife is in same situation, ID-wise, but not a vet.

        In addition, what are rules for firearms on base? I have my CCW and the nearest bases are several hours from me. I always travel with personal protection, especially to large cities, but know that they are not typically allowed on bases. Is there a storage, stowage, or lock up provision for those legally permitted to carry (as everyone is per the Constitution)?

        1. Joseph Brown    

          Still no access to AFT. They have had more than enough time to set this up.

  77. Jim Anglum    

    Can you please help me with the American Forces Travel customer care help number- technical issues? With the change of the Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 and the ability to use American Forces Travel it continues to say or electronic ping response/reply that my DEERS data s not correct with my verification information for the online site. I have worked with the VA and then DEERS that all my data in the system is correct and I am qualified to use the American Forces Travel site. I have google’d and can not find out how to fix my verification issue with an actual person at the American Forces Travel or whom ever is the correct person, sorry or such a small issue to post, but maybe someone else can benefit from my post. Great effort to all on the implementation of this program which I truly appreciate/salute everyones awesome efforts to onboard!

    1. JW    

      Jim, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  78. josh Petitpas    

    Is it me or is there an inconsistent answer to who is eligible;

    “Q1. How do I get access if I have a 0 percent service-connected condition, but my income is too high to get a Veteran Health Identification Card?

    A1. Veterans who have received a Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that states they have been placed in VA health care priority group 8E may bring this form paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport for installation and privilege access.

    “”Q9. What conditions are required to get access to the DoD privileges?

    A9. Newly eligible Veterans must meet at least one of the following conditions:

    Purple Heart recipient
    Former prisoner of war
    Service-connected disability rating (between 0-90 percent)””

    BUT NOW AT #10 things change?

    “Q10. Can anyone with a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) get these privileges?

    A10. No. Only Veterans with a VHIC that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” will be authorized the new privileges. Veterans may be able to use a VHIC that doesn’t contain one of these markings to access an installation with a medical facility if they have an appointment there, but if the VHIC does not display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED,” they will not have access to commissaries, exchanges, or morale, welfare, and recreation facilities.””

    So, those with VHIC 8 priority are eligible or not?

    1. JW    

      Josh, actually, all three of those answers are consistent. New veteran eligibility is not tied to your VA health care eligibility group, it is tied to one of these three criteria: Purple Heart recipient, former prisoner of war, or service-connected disability rating. In order to prove you meet one of these eligibility criteria, DoD is requiring eligible veterans to show a specific VA-issued credential that shows they meet one of the three new eligibility criteria–the VHIC. Q1 addresses eligible veterans (0% service-connected disability) who are not eligible to enroll in VA health care, so are not eligible to obtain a VHIC. Instead of the VHIC, which they can’t get, DoD is allowing them to bring their HEC Form H623A because this shows DoD that they are 0% service-connected and not able to obtain a VHIC. Q9 addresses the new eligibility criteria…these are the conditions that must be displayed on the VHIC, because not everyone who has a VHIC is eligible (Q10)…only the veterans whose VHIC displays one of the three new eligibility criteria (PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW, or SERVICE CONNECTED) will have access. Doing a quick scan of the VA’s priority group 8 eligibility, it looks like if you’re in priority group 8A, 8B, or 8E you would have access, but if you’re in 8C, 8D, and 8G you would not have access.

    2. G. Bozarth    

      Are Class 6 stores included in this benefit?

      Thank you

    3. Aaron    

      No. Only if you fall under group 8 w/ a service connect disability rated at least 0%. If you qualify for group 8 based on financial limitations only, you will not receive these privileges.

  79. charles    

    when i was growing up, my dad was 100% disabled. i was given an id card,till i was 21. i had full base access,could shop at the px or commissary .now according to this dependent no longer get that,and this is an ‘improvement’? so the va is also going full 1984. less is better.

    1. JW    

      Charles, the policy for dependents of 100% disabled veterans and Medal of Honor recipients has not changed. They still have access. What the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 did was gave certain DoD privilege access to veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, veteans who are former prisoners of war, and veterans who have service-connected disability ratings between 0-90 percent. The dependents of these new veteran categories do not get access.

    2. Cathy B    

      Charles, was your Dad a retiree?

  80. Jonathan Austin    

    JW – thank you for taking the time to address so many of the questions here.

  81. Tom Willingham    

    What is the definition of a “club?” As a former military officer and PH recipient, with all the qualified cards, am I eligible to go to the Officers Club?-TK

    1. JW    

      Tom, each branch of service does “clubs” a little differently, so I don’t think there is any single definition. That said, they are generally food and beverage facilities. While many clubs in the past were segregated by officer and enlisted ranks, now many are all-hands clubs, allowing use by any authorized user. As a Purple Heart recipient, you would need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART” on the front below your photo.

  82. Kevin Nistler    

    A lot of bases have visitor centers that close at certain hours. Am I to understand that if the visitor center is closed we would not be able to use the base till we sign in. As a full time RVer I was hoping to use the base RV parks, however if we get there after the visitor center closes we would be locked out. Is that correct? We could end up loosing money as we had to pay for a night in advance and can’t get on base. There absolutely needs to be 24/7 base access for this to work. Not all of us are 8-5 kind of people.

    1. Hammer Six    

      Come on Kevin. You served, so you know; military installations exist for the support and readiness of our current military mission. Your attitude is that Fort Whatever, or Whatever Air Force Base needs to spend defense resources, and/or task our men and women in uniform to maintain 24/7 operations for YOU. Seems pretty selfish for someone who wore the uniform.

      Major, RA (Ret)

    2. Tex Jewell    

      Sir, I am no expert in the matter but have had some experience in using base RV parks. I am a retired DOD civilian with an ID card that I use to gain access to facilities. I have to make reservations for a site, whether it be for a day or a week. I believe this will also be the case for this new VHIC card. Military personnel have priority. Once reserved, I was able to come and go even after hours. Hope this helps, if not let me know. Good Luck

    3. JW    

      Kevin, find out what the visitor center hours and check in requirements are when you make your reservation, then plan your arrival accordingly.

    4. Max    

      Hello Kevin, as an RVer look into the free National Park Services Lifetime Access Pass for disabled vets.

    5. Douglas Hill    

      Kevin, grow up, don’t be that guy who needs a hand out, did you not have to be at formation, or on time for duty when you served? Either be there on time, or wait till they open, if you don’t qualify for requirements for %, etc.. then suck it up. If you understand how the military works, then stop whining and get over it. The other veterans have been eligible and don’t complain when they drive to there RV spots, like myself. The brotherhood is overwhelming and awesome and better than some trashy civilian RV camp. BTW: your attitude affects whether they will let you through, so I suggest you be professional when you or if they pass you through the gates. There sole mission is to protect the base, post in any way possible, not to deal with some hand out wanting free access because they can’t be on time. It’s called respect!

  83. Melanie Davis    

    I think that this is bs. If you served in the military, I think you should be able to have access to the commissary, PX, class 6, etc. Just because I don’t have a purple heart or injury should not disqualify me from using the facilities. I served just like everyone else. I’ve ever been to your war but now you telling me I can’t use your facility. Thank you for showing veterans how much you care about them.

    1. Howard Burgess    

      Melanie
      The VA, BX/PX (AAFES), MWR, Commissaries, etc… are not the ones limiting access to their facilities. DOD has set the limits due to what was stated in Q5. above. I see this as a victory & hopefully open the doors for others in the future. All veterans do have access to AAFES on line.

    2. D. Wilson    

      Your thought process is askew… this for veterans who didn’t come back at 100%, unlike yourself… enjoy your health!

    3. Matt G.    

      I think they are phasing in all Veterans, but can’t just put them all in at once.

      1. JW    

        Matt, you are incorrect. Please do not make unfounded speculations here. That’s what’s leading to a lot of the confusion about this benefit to begin with.

    4. Hammer Six    

      Come on Kevin. You served, so you know; military installations exist for the support and readiness of our current military mission. Your attitude is that Fort Whatever, or Whatever Air Force Base needs to spend defense resources, and/or task our men and women in uniform to maintain 24/7 operations for YOU. Seems pretty selfish for someone who wore the uniform.

      Major, RA (Ret)

    5. Hammer Six    

      Melanie, you knew when you joined, that you would lose these privileges when you left the service, unless you reached retirement, so I don’t see what the problem is now! The American people and the Department of Veterans Affairs do plenty to show how much they care for us, so your selfish, “why not me” attitude is misplaced.

  84. Willie F Choice Jr    

    I have 80% service connected. I was once 100% and was able to purchase discounted tickets to take my little ones to Disney Parks. I would like to purchase discounted again. Is this option included in the extended benefits for service connected?

    1. JW    

      Willie, discounted tickets through MWR are one of the community support activities. The Military Departments will have the discretion to allow access if there is capacity and the majority of operating costs are covered by fees for usage, so you will have to check at the installation you want to use. And if the ticket office is made available, please keep in mind that the vendors for the tickets sometimes place restrictions on who can purchase or use the tickets, so you may not be able to buy or use all of the tickets that are sold there.

    2. jose    

      MWR will sell you the military discount tickets but not the salute to heros those who only qualify arr active duty and retirees

  85. Dana Lane Urban    

    I am a veteran with a 50 % service connected disability, I have a VHIC card saying service connected, To gain physical access on an installation do I need to produce other ID such as “paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport”?. I ask this because I live in Canada and have always been a Canadian citizen and do not have a US passport or other US based ID. There are thousands of others like me from Canada and other countries who volunteered for the US forces during the Vietnam war

    1. Darryll C Stone    

      Last November my wife and I went on the Quantico Marine Corps base a couple times to visit our nephew. One time I showed my Real-ID driver’s license and the MP scanned it and also asked for my wife’s, Real-ID which he also scanned. Out of curiosity, the next time I showed my VHIC which shows Purple Heart and Service Connected, and also had my Real-ID ready and asked if he needed to see it. He said it’s a good idea to show both IDs, but did not ask for my wife’s ID. So the next trip I only gave them my VHIC and the MP scanned it and did not require anything else, nor did he ask to see my wife’s ID. Well, that was once at Quantico, I would hope all installation would do it the same way.

  86. Vincent S Russo    

    I have a VHIC card already but under neath my photo it says “VA HEALTHCARE ENROLLEE”. I have a disability rating of 60%. How do I get “Service Connected” added to my ID?

    1. Howard Burgess    

      Take your disability paperwork & ID into your local VA hospital. (Never assume they have access to it) Go to the Patient Rep. or Eligibility Office. They will assist you in getting a new card.

    2. JG Berry    

      You need to visit a full size VA facility that can outfit you with a new card. It’s one form, and shouldn’t require an appointment.

  87. Roy Nolte    

    Can good star mothers and daughters be allowed exchange benefits? If so is there an age limit on daughters?

    1. JW    

      Roy, no. This benefit is not a survivor benefit and it is not for dependents, only the eligible veterans and eligible caregivers.

  88. James Serenson    

    I also am trying to access americanforcestravel.com.
    I have double and triple checked my input, and my credentials (name, dob, last four) are not allowing me to login.
    It then asks for my full social and that does not work.
    Please let me know when the site will allow me log in.
    Thanks

    1. Daryl Proulx    

      The same thing happened to me.

      1. JW    

        Daryl, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

    2. Thomas Vaughan    

      AmericanForcesTravel.com will not allow my validation as of 2 Jan 20. I have a service related disability.

        1. JW    

          Calvin, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

      1. JW    

        Thomas, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

    3. JW    

      James, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  89. John Bernard    

    I’m so thankful the VA has advocated for this. It will be so useful for me and my family.

    I want to avoid any awkward moments of dealing with the uninformed.
    How soon can we expect this information and training to make it down to military installations and those actually working the visitor centers, entrance gates, Exchanges and other qualifying areas?

    1. Surleigh Tara    

      The same thing happened to me.

      1. JW    

        Surleigh, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  90. Darby hansen    

    Who has tried to gain access.
    Did you experience any difficulty
    Or were you turned away for different reasons

  91. CH    

    Are the RV storage lots available for use under this program?

  92. Darlene Faraone    

    How do you determine what your health group priority group is?

    1. Howard Burgess    

      The VA does that for you at the hospital eligibility department. The link below gives the levels
      https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/priority-groups/

  93. Robert D Graveen    

    Why can’t I register on the AmericanForcesTravel.com website? I keep getting the error message “OOPS! SOMETHING WENT WRONG”

    1. Rachel Pomeroy    

      same problem here… anyone know what we need to do?

      1. Ron    

        Same here. They will update tbe system soon hopefully.

        1. JW    

          Ron, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

      2. JW    

        Rachel, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

    2. Roger Kampf    

      I have had the same issue and I have VHIC with “Service Connected”. When will the websites update?

      1. JW    

        Roger, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

    3. JW    

      Robert, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  94. Daniel R Frye    

    I recently read that a veteran with a 90% service related disability would also qualify for access to NEX, BX facilities.
    Is this true?

    1. Raymond "Tony" Newcomb    

      It depends on if the “eligible Veteran” is 100 % Service connected, Or other DOD requirements are made.

    2. JW    

      Daniel, yes, as of January 1, 2020, any veteran with a service-connected disability rating from the VA can get access. They need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “SERVICE CONNECTECTED” below the photo on the front of the card.

  95. Paula Denise Cates    

    Does a spouse of service connect get a ID?

    1. Howard Burgess    

      Taken from the above Questions/answers:
      A4. No. The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, only gave these privileges to specific Veterans and caregivers, not to their dependents. Dependents may accompany eligible Veterans and caregivers as their guests, but they may not make purchases.

    2. John Paul Inge    

      No. I’m 100% and my wife can’t get the card.

      1. JW    

        John, if you are a veteran with a 100% service-connected disability rating, both you and your wife are eligible for a DoD ID card extending commissary, exchange and MWR privileges. Please take your VA rating letter, your marriage certificate, your wife’s Social Security Card, and two forms of identification for each of you (one a government issued picture ID) to the nearest DoD ID card site for enrollment and ID card issuance. Please direct additional ID card related questions via email to: dodhra.mc-alex.dmdc.mbx.dod-id-card-policy@mail.mil

    3. Gary Hicks    

      No. Guests of veterans and caregivers in the newly eligible patron groups may accompany the veteran or caregiver onto the installation and into authorized facilities. To enter the installation, guests must stop at the visitor control center to undergo the required security checks (verification of identity through an acceptable credential and on-the-spot criminal history and terrorism checks), so they must have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, U.S. passport, or other acceptable credential to present. A driver’s license that is not REAL ID-compliant will not be accepted as proof of identity. If the installation has credential enrollment capabilities and the credential the guest uses is enrollable, their credential can be enrolled for recurring access as a guest with the sponsoring veteran or caregiver so that they don’t have to stop at visitor control every time, but they can only access the installation when they are with someone who is authorized access. On the installation, guests must remain with their sponsoring veteran or caregiver at all times. In the facilities, guests may accompany the authorized user, but they may not make any purchases.

      1. Elbert Calloway    

        N.A.S will not allow spouse to accompany the veterans on base. They keep saying only the caregiver allows on base. No spouse or any family member.
        .

  96. Jose A Rodriguez    

    Are the gas stations and class 6 stores available?

  97. Jo Cook    

    My husband died in 2010 with 100% disability due to service in Vietnam and as a widow, I receive all Va benefits for a widow. Question is….if I Remarried and still receive widow’s benefits, can I get access to the commissary or base shopping that I previously had!

    1. JW    

      Jo, upon remarriage the surviving dependent spouse of a 100% disabled veteran loses benefit eligibility, to include access to the commissary and base shopping.

  98. Jo Cook    

    My husband died in 2010 with 100% disability due to service in Vietnam and as a widow, I receive all Va benefits for a widow. Question is….if I Remarried and still receive widow’s benefits, can I get access to the commissary or base shopping that I previously had!
    Joann Cook

  99. Erwin B Bordallo, Jr.    

    Are the gas stations accessible and included as far as access for eligible Veterans?

      1. Steve Friedlander    

        what about the NEX connected to the gas station?

        1. JW    

          Steve, yes, the Navy Exchange facilities are all part of the expanded access.

  100. Gordon Weis    

    I have a VA Healthcase Enrollee card that doesn’t display the “Purple Heart” below the picture. I have 2 Purple Hearts form Vietnam. How do I get the card modified to include the “Purple Heart” option.

    1. Howard Burgess    

      Take your Purple Heart paper work into the VA hospital Patient Rep. They will help you get a new card.

  101. Paul Davis    

    Will eligible veterans be able to purchase alcohol under this program?

  102. Matthew Kursman    

    Will service connected veterans be able to access OCONUS bases for example Germany and England?

    1. JW    

      Matthew, access overseas in foreign countries is subject to applicable host-nation laws and applicable international agreements, like status of forces agreements. Sometimes the functions of the installation also may affect access. It is best to check with the installation you desire to visit to find out what the situation is for that installation.

  103. Robert A Crowder    

    I have a 30% disability rating but it’s not listed on my Veteran’s card. I was under the impression that we were supposed to be getting new cards years ago. Is that supposed to happen or can I go online or to a VA facility to get my rating put on my card?

    Thanks

    Robert Crowder

    1. Howard Burgess    

      If you have any VA registered disability 0-90% you can take the paperwork into a VA. Go to a Patient Rep., or eligibility department. They will help you get a new card with the “service connected” placed on the card.
      Sorry I don’t know if this is available on line.

  104. Christina Hilt    

    Can newly eligible veterans use the gas stations that are located by the Exchanges?

    1. JW    

      Christina, yes, newly eligible veterans and caregivers now have access to the military exchange gas stations.

  105. louis r meiklejohn    

    The MCX Corps Exchange lists 100% Disabled as a criteria for Patron access. Do I assume that eligibility is being updated on their website? I ask this since I am 70% Service Connected disabled and the nearest facility is MCX Corps Exchange @ 29 Palms Ca.

    1. JW    

      Louis, yes, all of the Military Departments are working on getting their eligibility policies and websites updated. It takes time and they had to wait for the official DoD policy to go out. Even though the websites may not reflect it yet, all of the new categories of veterans (Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and all veterans with service-connected disability ratings) and caregivers (Primary Family Caregivers for eligible veterans under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers) are eligible for commissary, exchange, and certain morale, welfare, and recreation access as of January 1, 2020.

  106. Rick Davis    

    I have a question about the old VHIC I have which indicates service connection. The Undersecretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve affairs created a very long and detailed briefing named the “Implementation of Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018” which I found posted on the website for the “American Logistics Association”, but nowhere else. In this briefing, it states that the old VHIC is still held by a few veterans and it is acceptable ID for base access as follows:

    Identification Credentials:

    Old VHIC cards:

    •Note: There a small number of the old version of the VHIC still in the possession of Veterans eligible under the NDAA 621/10 U.S.C. 1065. If presented, this card is authorized for access to the commissaries, exchanges, and MWR facilities.

    •Since it is in the old bar code configuration, it may not scan correctly in the DeCA commissary point of sale system and should be visually verified to see it shows the qualifying information on the front of the card e.g. Service Connected, Prisoner of War, Purple Heart, etc.

    Okay, I live 14 hours from a VA hospital ID card machine. I live overseas in a country where retired military and 100% disabled veterans have access. I want to use the old VHIC until I can obtain a new VHIC.

    My question is, is the implementation guidance given to bases making sure they accept the old VHIC per Under Secretary of Defense guidance? My question is not about overseas access, I have read and understand everything published regarding this issue so please save the repetitive explanation about SOFA, international agreements and so forth. Again, my question is was guidance from the Undersecretary of Defense guidance implemented or not regarding acceptance of the old VHIC, and why do most press releases so far not mention this issue anyways VA? Not everybody has the new VHIC and some of us live very far away. Thank you!

  107. Hugh Schurtz    

    I was my, Retired USAF Vet of 3 wars Fathers, 24/7 Designated Family Caregiver from 2010 to his death in Sept 30, 2015 (unpaid since he was Pre-9/11 yet audited & I received superior care assessments (age 85-90)
    I am (and was) Disabled while caring for him (had SSA & VA permission)
    I was raised on Military Bases obey rules & only reason I didn’t go in Military was illness.
    This would be used only by me & would remind me of taking him to the Base I have limited income & it wouldn’t be abused
    Hugh

    1. JW    

      Hugh, this new benefit is only for the specific new categories of veterans and caregivers. Eligible caregivers only get the benefit while they are actively enrolled and caring for an eligible veteran. Right now, those caregivers are the Primary Family Caregivers for eligible veterans under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

  108. Jasper snowden    

    My question is I have a service connected disability of 50% and I have one of those VA IDs but it doesn’t say on it service connected will I have to get a new ID

    1. Marcus L.    

      It is my understanding that you will have to have an VA ID with service connected displayed on it.

      Newly eligible Veterans must show a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card; or a Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that states the Veteran has been placed in VA health care priority group 8E, paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. (DoD installations cannot accept a driver’s license that is not REAL ID-compliant as proof of identity.)

      A new updated ID card can be requested by visiting your servicing VA.

    2. Hugh Schurtz    

      Thank you I didn’t think so however I wondered.

  109. William Beverley-Blanco    

    Can authorized Veteran be accompanied by Guest to Commisary?

    1. JW    

      William, a guest may accompany a newly eligible veteran or caregiver (authorized individual) to the commissary. The guest will have to stop at the visitor control center on the way onto the installation to go through the standard visitor vetting process, so if they are 18 or older, they will have to show an acceptable credential, like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport, to prove their identity. Their purpose would be to accompany the authorized individual. Then an on-the-spot background check will be run. If no derogatory criminal or terrorism activity shows, then they will be able to accompany the authorized individual.

  110. Alan Joseph Berger Jr    

    I applied on-line, I have a Service Connected Disability. I have applied on-line but have not received the VHIC Card Yet. Will they be sending it to my home?

    1. John Paul Inge    

      You will need to go to your nearest VA and have your picture taking (take your DD-214 and legal ID). Yes, at that point they will mail your card or some have the ability to give it to you instantly.

      1. Alan Joseph Berger Jr    

        Thank You for the information and the quick response.

  111. Darren Dahlke    

    Will Veterans living overseas also be able to use this? or Will the SOFA agreements stand in the way?

    1. JW    

      Darren, veterans living overseas will have to check with the installation in the area to find out about access. In foreign countries overseas, installation and facility access is subject to applicable host-nation laws and applicable international agreements, like status of forces agreements. In addition, sometimes the function of the installation may also affect access.

  112. Dona Clement    

    Is the widow of a veteran who had a 100% military related disability eligible for this benefit and will she have base access privileges?

    1. JW    

      Dona, the unremarried surviving dependent spouse (widow or widower) of a veteran with a 100% service-connected disability rating is eligible for a DoD ID card and benefits. The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 did not have any effect on this eligibility.

  113. Earlkawaguchi    

    My disability is 40%. Do also qualify for the gas filling station on base?

    1. JW    

      Earl, as long as you have a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, you should have access. And yes, gas stations are included in access.

  114. Jeffrey Gray    

    My VHIC shows Service Connected. Based on question 8 in the article, I should be able to use the American Forces Travel website. I just tried to log in but it cannot verify my identity and it does not mention Service Connected veterans are able to use the website. Is there a way to contact someone for support?

      1. Josh Benoit    

        Oh, sorry, replied to the wrong comment.

        However, I am having the same issue as you.

    1. JW    

      Jeffrey, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  115. Scott    

    This is correct about being overseas. It definitely depends on each countries agreement with the United States. For example in Germany they do not even allow our own retirees to go into the commissaries and PX’s. Spain does not allow access even to active duty if they are not stationed there or TDY.

    1. Rick Davis    

      These policies are a disgrace and should be reviewed and changed. President Trump has told us these countries are not anywhere near doing enough and there is no good excuse for treating our heros like this. These policies do not reflect the sacrifices our veterans have made to protect these countries and it sends the message they are very ungrateful. It is a disgrace and needs to change in Germany, etc.

  116. Melissa Holloway    

    Is there a particular reason why there’s denied access to the Gyms especially when there are set times for active duty to do PT? Will this change in the future?

    1. JW    

      Melissa, gyms are one of the morale, welfare, and recreation activities on installations that are funded with appropriations to specifically support mission readiness and the fitness of the force, so expanding access would overwhelm these facilities and could interfere with critical active duty access.

  117. michael raby    

    I personally think this is going to be more hassle than it is worth. I work and travel alot, my wife does the shopping and keep the house afloat. So in order to bring my wife shopping i have to be home, wait 1 hour to gain a pass for her, and then shop. Seems really redundant and a slap in the face for a woman that shopped at a commissary for 18 years of my service. Since the commissary wanted the extra money veterans will bring in, one would think they would realize spouses do a majority of the shopping.

    1. JW    

      Michael, if the installation you are visiting has credential enrollment capabilities and the identification card your spouse uses as proof of identity is enrollable (like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license), her card can be enrolled and you’ll only have to stop at the visitor center with her on your first visit. After that, they should be able to scan her ID from the car when she accompanies you on future trips.

  118. Grant Alexander Rollins    

    How do I register on- line? The Navyexchange site wants a DOD ID which I do not have. I am a Viet Nam vet with 10% service connected disability and all my health care is with the VA. I tried my SS# but that did not work.

    1. JW    

      Grant, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  119. Steven Smith    

    This is an excellent benefit for disabled veterans. A step closer in attaining those benefits many of us were promised when we enlisted but thus far had not seen.

  120. Timothy Allan Conner    

    Have a 40% rating . Got my ID card before I got my rating. So it doesn’t have service connected on it.

    1. Marcus L.    

      A new updated ID card can be requested by visiting your servicing VA.

  121. David Ooka    

    As the TAP Program Manager, i would like to clarify if a servicemember voluntarily or involuntarily separating under honorable conditions with ZERO disability, do they qualify for this program?

    1. JW    

      David, ZERO disability is not the same thing as a zero percent service-connected disability rating. An individual separating with no disability is not eligible for these privileges unless they are a Purple Heart recipient or a former prisoner of war (the other two new veteran qualifications besides service-connected disability rating between 0-90 percent).

      [Editor: Following up on JW’s comment: “0%” is considered “service connected,” hence why the qualification states a disability rating of “0-90%.” A 0% service-connected rating is one that is acknowledged by VA as having occurred or been aggravated by active service but which isn’t a medical condition that warrants monthly compensation.]

  122. Thomas Anderson    

    I am recovering from Total Knee Replacement surgery and could greatly benefit from gym equipment, especially a recumbent bike and other equipment that is beneficial to the recovery, but the gym is one of the places not authorized. Physical is a necessary component in recovery, but having access to the recovery equipment that is used in PT and gyms, the least cost to taxpayers would be to make these recovery types of equipment become available to veterans and/or allow the purchase of necessary equipment for the veteran. Remember, we sacrificed our lives and bodies for this country and I have been dealing g with this SCC for 40 years.

  123. Donald R Thurman    

    great work on this out come

  124. larry    

    Now wait of minute first you started off saying one thing and now since the new year have started now you got all of these down rule in place you got have pow etc on your VA HEALTH CARD what a bunch of CRACK. That why I advised any young man or woman don’t lose your time joining the military. WTH

    1. JW    

      Larry, I can assure you that the eligibility has remained consistent. DoD has always said that the VHIC is the credential they will accept and it must display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card. There have been a lot of comments by general readers speculating that access was wider, but that doesn’t make those comments true. The only new development DoD announced is that for veterans with a 0% service-connected disability rating whose income is too high to be eligible to obtain a VHIC, they will now accept the Health Eligibility Form H623A indicating placement in VA health care priority group 8E, paired with an acceptable credential.

      1. Michael Beck    

        That is me, 0% Group 8e, how can I get that Form H623A??

  125. Leevon otsuka    

    What if I received my 60% after I received my VHIC and there is nothing on the card?

  126. Nicasio Montez    

    Will class 6, be included

  127. john smith    

    Thank you for this! I tried accessing AmericanForcesTravel.com and it is unable to authorize me. Is anyone else eligible under the new rules having this problem?

    1. JW    

      John, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  128. JJ Ardis    

    I wish the bases knew more about this, Ft. Benning has no clue that I am talking about.

  129. Joe    

    I was certain I saw that Space A was available under this new law. Was it changed suddenly? Perhaps the bureaucratic explanation was ambiguous and I was mistaking it.

    1. JW    

      Joe, no, Air Mobility Command (AMC) space-available flights were never part of this initiative. AMC operations are not part of the commissary, exchange, or MWR system.

  130. Dominic Gilliam    

    Why do educational benefits fall under a use or lose format (ie Vietnam, Montgomery etc) when the veteran has earned this benefits unlike buying a home??? Point in Case: Veterans may take awhile before they’re in a position to buy a home with no time limit.
    There are veterans who need to work to provide for their family without the added burden of going to school and trying to support a family at the same time.

    1. Jason Davis    

      Hi Dominic, the short answer is that VA administers benefits and services based on federal law. Lawmakers write and pass the bills that authorize VA benefits and services. This is especially true of VA education benefits re: eligibility and expiration.

  131. KARL H KITTSTEINER    

    Kind of lame not opening it up to ALL Veterans. I would just like to tour the base I was stationed at back in the early sixties. No longer a SAC base, but still would like to tour it one more time.

  132. charles    

    my question is when did it change that dependents of 100% disabled vet did not have base access privileges.my dad was 100% disabled and i had a military id till i was 18 or 21 i forget which.i could go on base and make purchases.

    1. JW    

      Charles, the policy for dependents of 100% disabled veterans and Medal of Honor recipients has not changed. They still have access. What the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 did was gave certain DoD privilege access to veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, veteans who are former prisoners of war, and veterans who have service-connected disability ratings between 0-90 percent. The dependents of these new veteran categories do not get access.

  133. Linda Paterson    

    Is a Space A flight considered a MAC flight? I see that some retired military & their spouses can utilize this.
    Thank you.

    1. Sherry Morrish    

      So what action do I need to become an Eligible Caretaker? So married 27 years , caretaker 80% of the time, husband won’t go to commissary, so I do the 2 HR drive for the shopping. He says his physical pain, included in his 90% rating with unemployable, prevents him from accompanying me to the base. So now what?

    2. JW    

      Linda, Space-A flights are part of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) (used to be MAC). AMC space-available flights are not part of this initiative. AMC operations are not part of the commissary, exchange, or MWR systems.

  134. Jared Nix    

    What about if I only have a Veteran ID card? Will that get me into the PX or commissary?

    1. JW    

      Jared, no. You need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card and it needs to display “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card.

  135. Harold Warren    

    What is the VA health care priority group 8E?

    1. Howard Burgess    

      Maybe this helps. 8E is the minimum priority to get VA health care. Priority groups 1-8
      https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/priority-groups/

  136. James R Kelley    

    How can i obtain information about specific mwr facilities (rv camping, lodging, cabins etc.) ?

    1. JW    

      James, you are going to need to check locally on what MWR facilities are accessible. While we know that all of the MWR retail facilities (like golf, bowling, recreational lodging, food and beverage, etc) are included, the Military Departments have discretion on some of the community support MWR facilities when there is capacity and the majority of operating costs are covered through the collection of fees for use.

  137. Robert B. Hudson Jr    

    Can I use a passport card as the paired ID with my VHIC card to get set up to shop at the PX?

  138. Jeff Arrowsmith    

    Great article and information. However, the SECNAV 5512/1 local access form required to complete for installation access requires two forms of ID if the applicant does not have a REAL-ID. Page three of the form indicates what is required. Applicants should take these 3 forms for a potentially smoother process: 1) Drivers license/state ID, 2) SSN card, 3) VHIC. Persons are also required to have their vehicle registration and insurance documents printed in hand. Installations may have unique and specific access requirements and guests should be prepared, patient and may want to call ahead to verify requirements.

  139. Michael Cheatham    

    I served 1968-1972. I served in Vietnam 1970-71. I believe the DoD should offer this service to those veterans that served in a war zone for a given number of consecutive days.

  140. Rafique anderson    

    The armed forces travel eligibility page needs to be updated. I am a service connected disabled vet and I can’t use the service.

    1. JW    

      Rafique, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  141. Art    

    If I am a DoD federal employee with a DoD CAC and also have a VA ID sevice connected, do I still need to stop at the visitor center?

    1. JW    

      Art, if you already have an identification card (DoD employee ID) that allows you access to an installation, then you will not need to stop at the visitor control center if you are using that credential. However, you will need to use your Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card if you wish to access the commissary or exchange as your DoD employee ID card does not give you access to those privileges.

  142. Harry Lankford    

    Do I need a ” real I.d.” In addition to my VHIC that indicates “service connected” ?

    1. JW    

      Harry, no. If you have a Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card, then you do not need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license for access.

  143. Scott Pederson    

    Why are the new eligible service connected people not able to access the : (AmericanForcesTravel.com ) user access for flights? I am already verified under the online system. When I try to search a flight and be verified, I keep getting this: Close× OOPS!! SOMETHING WENT WRONG
    All Customers
    Please review the information you have provided. When verifying your eligibility for the first time you must submit

    the last four digits of your Social Security Number
    your birth date (Month/Day/Year)
    and your last name, which must match your official DEERS record
    Access to AFT is restricted to eligible patrons only.

    1. Scott Pederson    

      Looking further, the service connected people do not even come up on the list of people eligible. Is this an oversight?? Or do we have to go through some other enrollment process?? Thanks for your time.

    2. Scott Pederson    

      American Forces TravelSM is committed to providing high-quality and best value travel services to patrons affiliated with the Department of Defense as a way to thank them for their service and dedication to our country.

      Authorized Patrons Today:

      All current active duty military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard)
      All members of the Reserve components and National Guard
      All retired military, including those in the Reserves and National Guard who are retirement eligible
      All Medal of Honor recipients and 100% disabled veterans
      All Department of Defense civilian serving outside the United States,including appropriated funds (APF) employees and nonappropriated funds (NAF) employees
      All current active duty and retired US Public Health Service (USPHS)
      All current active duty and retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
      Full-time, paid employees of the American Red Cross and United Service Organizations (USO) hired in the United States and serving at U.S. DoD installations overseas
      Eligible family members who are officially sponsored (ID card holder) by authorized patrons in the above categories
      Coast Guard Auxiliary Active Duty

      Eligible Authorized Patrons Coming Soon:

      All Department of Defense civilians serving within the United States, including appropriated funds employees and non-appropriated funds employees
      All Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) civilians in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), including appropriated and nonappropriated fund employees

      Note: The online eligibility verification process for stateside civilians is under development. In the meantime, we invite civilians to contact their MWR ticket and travel office. As eligible patrons, agents will be able to assist you with your travel needs allowing you to take advantage of the AFT deals as well.

    3. JW    

      Scott, refresh your browser if you are looking at the eligibility screen for the American Forces Travel website. As of January 1, the eligibility information was updated. As for accessing the site, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  144. Oscar Lilienstern    

    Are Military Star accounts now available for veterans eligible for on-base shopping privileges? Thank you.

    1. JW    

      Oscar, yes, newly eligible veterans and caregivers may apply for the MILITARY STAR card.

    2. Brian Broussseau    

      Yes, I’ve just received my Military Star Account card and can also order online

  145. Larry Styer    

    Where do I get the required letter for a caregiver. Can I get it at the VA Health Facility or must I go to the Regional Office and what will I need besides her valid ID?

    1. Adam Stump    

      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.

      For installation access, entry to some commissary stores and at point of sale at commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities, eligible caregivers will need to show an acceptable credential along with their eligibility letter. Acceptable credentials may include:

      DoD common access card (CAC) (when otherwise eligible)
      DoD uniformed services identification card (when otherwise eligible)
      REAL ID-compliant driver’s license issued by a State, territory, possession, or the District of Columbia
      REAL ID-compliant non-driver’s identification card issued by a State, territory, possession, or the District of Columbia
      Enhanced driver’s license issued by a State, territory, possession, or the District of Columbia
      U.S. passport or passport card
      Foreign passport bearing an unexpired immigrant or non-immigrant visa or entry stamp
      Federal personal identity verification card (when otherwise eligible)
      VHIC
      Transportation Worker Identification Card

  146. John Grabitz    

    I am a 10 year veteran during so called peace time. I did 2 tour’s in South Korea. Still a war zone as of today. I don’t have a service related disability or any disability for that mater. I get no privileges whatsoever. This is just a total disrespect payed to those of us that signed on the line to protect our country. We deserve to be able to use these facilities also if we were in what was considered to be a war zone. Congress should do something to provide us the ability to use these facilities.

  147. Leonardo Perez Asencio    

    If i go to commisary with somebody of my family like daughter,son,nephew or a friend he can enter with me at commissary because here in P.R. in Ft. Buchanan dont let enter anybody only miss but i went about dice month with my son and they said me he can enter with me at Commissary they said me he need a letter from the Fort authorizing him to enter with me at Commissary i appreciate you can bring me some light about this thanks for ur always help.

  148. Gordon Berthoud    

    Where are the DOD Identifications issued?

    1. JW    

      Gordon, DoD is not issuing credentials for this access. Eligible veterans need to use their Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card; or, if they are not eligible to obtain a VHIC, the veteran can bring their Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that states they have been placed in VA health care priority group 8E paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. Eligible caregivers need to bring their 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.

  149. Edward Wilson    

    Does an exchange or commissary have local discretion to deny “Service Connected” veterans?

    1. JW    

      Edward, if a veteran who is eligible for exchange and commissary privileges due to a service-connected disability rating does not present the required credentials to access shopping privileges (the VHIC that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” on the front below the photo, or a VA Health Eligibility Center Form H623A that indicates the veteran was placed in VA health care priority group 8E), they can be denied access. Also, if any shopper is found to be making purchases for other than personal use, commissary or exchange privileges may be revoked.

  150. James Forakis    

    Are 100% disabled veterans eligible for MAC flights?

    1. JW    

      James, no. Air Mobility Command (AMC) (used to be MAC) space-available flights are not part of this initiative. AMC operations are not part of the commissary, exchange, or MWR systems.

  151. Allen E. Holecek    

    Re: A2. No. If you are eligible for a DoD-issued retiree. At some locations, DOD Civilian Retirees can receive an installation access only CAC (no MWR, Commissary or Exchange benefits). Perhaps this answer should be changed to reflect military retiree.

    1. JW    

      Allen, A2 is the answer to Q2. Veterans who are military retirees, Medal of Honor recipients, and 100% service-connected disabled or unemployable veterans were asking if they had to use the VHIC rather than their DoD-issued ID card to access their privileges. The answer is specific to these individuals. DoD civilian retirees are not eligible for these privileges.

  152. frank faur    

    I have a va medical card with a service 60 perdect disability. I also have a dod contract cac. do i have use of the commissary, bx and so forth?

    1. JW    

      Frank, if your Veteran Health Identification Card says “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card, you should be able to use it to access the commissary, exchange, and MWR retail facilities. You cannot use your DoD contractor ID card to access these benefits.

  153. AF Vet    

    Quick question –

    If I want to use an online MWR privilege, say American Forces Travel, will DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) automatically be updated? Using the travel website and the commissary website requires a user to enter eligibility data which is checked against DEERS.

    I checked both the travel and commissary websites today (1 January). Neither recognized me as eligible. Is that just because today’s a holiday?

    (BTW, I’m a service-connected disabled vet with a VHIC).

    1. JW    

      AF Vet, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  154. Antionette Denise Seals    

    What does the card look like with the Service Connected Disability look like because I have 2 cards but only 1 has service connected disability on it.

  155. Jonathan Austin    

    Does this include access to the class 6 store?

  156. Thomas Macdill    

    Once these new holders see just how terrible the prices are in the commissary and bx/px, they won’t be back.
    The prices are double or triple what they are off base. That is no exaggeration.
    They should all know to tip the baggers well too, they work for tips only.

  157. Ronald Campbell    

    As a Vietnam veteran and 50% service connected disability do I qualify for access to PXs and Navy Exchanges?

    1. JW    

      Ronald, since 50% falls within the rang of 0-90%, yes, a 50% service-connected disability rating qualifies. You’ll need to bring your Veteran Health Identification Card that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card to gain access.

  158. Tony Lee    

    This is a great benefit for ALL eligible veterans and am hoping the additional base traffic will not stress military bases. I’d advise going to the base during off-peak hours to avoid the base entrance. I thank everyone who got this approved!

  159. Jose Guzman    

    What veterans are eligible in the unemployability rating category for DOD privileges?

    1. JW    

      Jose, DoD will issue an ID card extending commissary, exchange and MWR privileges to disabled veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability rating or who are incapable of pursuing substantially gainful employment by the VA due to a service-connected condition.

  160. Leonard Eng    

    Well Nells AFB didn’t let a few of us go in. We had the older VA card and desk tech stated that the computer can’t process the older bar codes only the newer cards. Also the supervisor was un reachable.

    Sucks since San Francisco VA assured me that I didn’t need the new card as long as it stated service connected.

    Welcome to government bureaucracy.

  161. Frank    

    Can we use our old veterans health card if it states “Service connected” on it? I still use it to check in at the VA hospital for my appointments.

  162. Tommy A. Cunningham    

    I am a disabled veteran and did not get my disability in service but years later i have a disability from civilian
    Work. I served 4 years and 11 months from
    The years 1967-1972 in non battle situation over seas. Specifically Germany . Does any
    Of this make me eligible to use any commissary’s or base.

    1. JW    

      Tommy, no, it doesn’t sound like you are eligible. New veteran eligibility criteria are Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and service-connected disability rating between 0-90 percent.

  163. Graydon Osborne    

    Do we have to go into a visitor center at another base if we are away from our home base to get verified for that instillation or is it all connected?

    1. JW    

      Graydon, do not assume all of the installation access systems are connected. You can ask if there are any that are connected when you go to the visitor center. That’s probably your best option. When in doubt, stop at the visitor control center.

  164. Douglas Boyle    

    Does this include access to the Auto Crafts? That falls under the MWR umbrella if I recall. This is probably the only benefit I would seriously be interested in.

    1. JW    

      Douglas, you will need to check with the local installation regarding auto skills centers. The Military Departments have discretion to allow access to certain community support MWR activities, like auto skills centers, when there is capacity and user fees cover the majority of operating costs.

  165. isaac Gearring    

    can I gain access to the commissary with a DOD civilian retiree ID card?

    1. JW    

      Isaac, no. DoD civilian retiree ID cards are not valid for commissary access, because DoD civilian retirees are not authorized use of commissaries.

  166. Douglas Boyle    

    What about Automotive Crafts center? They fall under the MWR umbrella if I recall. This is likely the only aspect I would care to use.

    1. JW    

      Douglas, you will need to check with the local installation regarding auto skills centers. The Military Departments have discretion to allow access to certain community support MWR activities, like auto skills centers, when there is capacity and user fees cover the majority of operating costs.

  167. Annemarie W Evans    

    The American Forces Travel website does not list the same eligibility guidelines. I cannot get access even though I am a disabled Veteran.

  168. Josh Benoit    

    Anyone else unable to authenticate and log in to the American Forces Travel website? I tried calling DMDC Tech Support about it and they directed me to Priceline, which was absolutely useless.

    1. JW    

      Annemarie, the eligibility guidelines are being updated on the website. Unfortunately, it takes time to get everything updated. As of January 1, 2020, the new categories of eligible veterans (Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and veterans with service-connected disability ratings between 0-90 percent) and caregivers (Primary Family Caregivers for eligible veterans under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers) should have access. If you don’t there’s got to be a technology glitch.

    2. JW    

      Josh, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  169. CAH    

    one answer needs correction:
    Q8. Which of the following MWR activities can be used?
    Gyms are indicated as “No;” which is incorrect, at least per Army installations.
    Army Regulation AR 215-1 chp7-1 Eligibility states: “[Unlimited] Veterans with 100% service-connected disability, honorably discharged.”
    so after obtaining a CAC at an Army Depot/Post, a Vet can make use of MWR Gyms.

    1. JW    

      CAH, 100% disabled veterans and Medal of Honor recipients have different access than the newly eligible veterans (Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and veterans with service-connected disability ratings between 0-90 percent). Also, only 100% disabled veterans and Medal of Honor recipients are eligible to obtain a DoD ID card. Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and 0-90% service-connected disabled veterans must gain access with their Veteran Health Identification Card or Health Eligibility Center Form H623A paried with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or U.S. passport. 100% disabled veterans and Medal of Honor recipients may access gyms, but the newly eligible veterans may not.

  170. Dave Clark    

    FYI, PSNS Bremerton and Bangor do not allow civilians access as of December
    https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/12/26/navy-limits-civilian-access-to-kitsap-peninsula-bases/
    The Kitsap Sun reports guests of base residents, workers and military members will have to be vetted by security to visit the base’s locations at Bremerton, Bangor, Keyport, Manchester and Naval Hospital Bremerton, according to Lonnie Collier, a spokesman.
    Guests will also need an escort at all times and cannot go to on-base facilities including exchanges, commissaries and chapels.

  171. Anita Elder    

    Besides being able to use the military campgrounds/resorts, will we be able to rent equipment form MWR (like pop-up tent trailers, tents, etc.)?

    1. Howard Burgess    

      yes, it states you can above. In the MWR section

  172. Daniel Booker    

    This entire “privilege” is a money grab and an insult to those who actively serve and to those who gave 20+ years and retired.
    There is already a burden on many base resources like trying to get a room at a lodging facility. Been to a commissary lately on or near a pay day?!
    What about the lines trying to gain entrance to a base for work which in many cases are taxed heavily. Why add more to this?! Money- that’s why! Disgusting.
    Finally – this program really, in my opinion, puts the safety of every base at risk rendering them nothing more than soft targets. BEFORE this program, just last month we had 3 mass base shootings across our DOD in one week!
    Somebody – please change this. Change this now! Please.

  173. John Carmosino    

    Whats valid for privaledges ? DOD service connected or VA service connected disability ?
    I was discharged after 11 years active and received a 10 % service connected disability from USMC and Naval board.
    Thank You

    1. JW    

      John, your service-connected disability must be determined/validated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and you must bring a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “SERVICE CONNECTED” below the photo on the front of the card to access the DoD benefits. If your service-connected disability rating is 0% and your income exceeds the threshold to be eligible to obtain a VHIC, the VA would have sent you a Health Eligibility Center (HEC) Form H623A that states you were placed in VA health care priority group 8E. DoD will also accept this HEC Form H623A with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport from eligible veterans.

  174. Michael Smith    

    I have a VHIC but it doesn’t have service connected on it. As I just received a 10% service connected, do I need to contact the VA health facility I frequent to get mine updated?

    1. JW    

      Georgia, if the installation has animal kennels run by the morale, welfare, and recreation department, then you could use them; however, veterinarian services may not be included. You would need to check locally.

  175. Celina Benoit    

    When will we be able to use the Armed Forces Travel Site. It still says you have to be enrolled in DEERS to access the benefit and the eligible patron list does not include newly eligible veterans as of yet. Also, will we be able to establish a my commissary online account?

    1. JW    

      Celina, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  176. Robin Bellamy    

    I have a service connected disability and a VHIC card.

    Just now, I was denied access to Commissaries.com and AmericanForcesTravel.com. Disappointed.

    Both websites asked for my name, DOB, and last 4 of my SSN. I am qualified to use these websites but was denied. It seems like the VA hasn’t yet shared the names of VHIC holders with the administrators of these websites.

    1. JW    

      Robin, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  177. Joe V    

    VAntage Point:

    Can you please advise on when newly eligible veterans will be granted access to americanforcestravel.com? My credentials (name, dob, last four) are not allowing me to login. How can we register for this site? Thanks!

    1. JW    

      Joe, the data push that allows the DoD websites to authenticate new eligible users is taking longer to update than expected. All of the new records have to get pushed to all four of the DoD retail organizations and there are millions of records. Please be patient and try the site again daily until you get access.

  178. Gil De Wind    

    Some websites like Bellows AFS reservations Cabins & Cottage have not been updated. Can I assume in the interim we call the facility?

    1. JW    

      Gil, it may take some time for all of the online systems to be updated. Until they are, calling the facility directly will be your best option.

  179. Martin Tidd    

    I stopped by the visitor center on Ft. Riley this past Friday, and they knew nothing about this. The lady there copped an attitude, even though she said she had not seen the regs. I was asking because I work with separating service connected Soldiers and wanted to know what to tell them. She even tried arguing that the new rules didn’t include anything but PX and Commissary, even though she said she hadn’t seen the regs. I offered to give her a copy, and shhe told me she didn’t need them. I hope other installations are doing a better job.

  180. Darlene Pittman    

    I have ChampVA and Survivor benefits from my late husband who was 100 percent service connected Disabled Veteran. He died 1998 of Pancreatic Cancer at age 42. Yearly flight physicals missed his diagnosis. Anyway, I remarried in 2015 to a Veteran who is now service connected at 90 percent and still fighting for the last 10 percent. Will I qualify for an this new ID card since my my ChampVa is service connected from late husband? I was his caregiver. Thank you for your time.
    Darlene Stinson Pittman

    1. JW    

      Darlene, if you had not remarried, you would still have your DoD benefits. Widows of 100% service-connected disabled veterans retain their DoD benefits as long as they are not remarried. This new benefit is only for the newly eligible veteran or caregiver (currently the active Primary Family Caregiver for an eligible veteran under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers). Family members of the newly eligible veterans and caregivers do not get this benefit.

  181. Francis M. Creevan Sr    

    So can be ANY Navy Commissary or a say Army,AF Facility??

    1. JW    

      Francis, it can be any Military Service installation…Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.

      1. PJ Rice    

        Any Military Service installation, but restrictions may apply in foreign countries based on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the US government.

Comments are closed.