IMAGE: Welcome Home Graphic with various DoD logos

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 Feb. 2, 2020.

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

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

Who is eligible on Jan. 1, 2020?

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

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

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

Required credentials

  • Veterans
    • 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 www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll.
    • Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are eligible for DoD credentials under DoD policy.
  • Caregivers
    • Eligible caregivers will receive an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.
    • If you are a primary family caregiver under the PCAFC and lose your eligibility letter, please call 1-877-733-7927 to request a replacement.  Please allow two weeks for processing.

 

Find out more about military resale privileges.

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Published on Nov. 14, 2019

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510 Comments

  1. lowell ebalo December 12, 2019 at 1:54 am

    so what does it mean exactly 0% – 90% disability rating? don’t quite understand.

    • Cedric December 12, 2019 at 8:03 am

      0%-90% means the disability rating the VA gave if you submitted a claim for VA disability benefits.

    • Mary Ann Humphrey-Keever December 12, 2019 at 9:05 pm

      I have the card, but before this new disability rating, as I got card about 1 year ago. In 1962, right out of high school, I went into the US Marine Corps, for a short time, total time 3 months, 28 days. I was quite traumatized by the San Diego post, and after a few months, was discharged with a DD214 that I believe states, Honorable, unsuitable. That has since been changed to simply Honorable. In my later years, and with experience and advanced degrees in education, I received a direct commission to Captain, in the US Army Reserve. I served nearly 10 years with the Reserves.

      What I am wondering is, can the time in 1962, be re-visited in order to claim a disability for not being able to remain, due to the emotional anxiety and mental situation, I had during that brief time? Just wondering. Thanks.

  2. J Mauricio Montiel December 11, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    I am 40% disabled but my GA ID card only states “service connected” do I need to get a new card?

  3. Andres Diaz Osorio December 10, 2019 at 2:38 am

    Can service connect can buy gas and us the gym

    • The Exchange December 10, 2019 at 10:51 am

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

  4. Andres Diaz Osorio December 10, 2019 at 2:35 am

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

    Please let me know.

    Thank you

    • Bri December 10, 2019 at 9:51 am

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

      • Jill December 10, 2019 at 9:23 pm

        No on the gyms- those are Category A programs which are not included under thi

  5. Gil De Wind December 9, 2019 at 2:04 pm

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

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

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

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

    • Jill December 10, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      No on the gyms- those are Category A programs which are not included under this.

  6. Anibal Bonilla December 9, 2019 at 1:49 pm

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

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

  7. Rodney Horn December 8, 2019 at 11:28 pm

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

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

    • JW December 9, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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

      • Rodney Horn December 9, 2019 at 2:31 pm

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

  8. Jose Lopez December 7, 2019 at 8:36 am

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

    • JW December 9, 2019 at 1:03 pm

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

  9. Jason Holland December 6, 2019 at 10:36 pm

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

    • JW December 9, 2019 at 1:05 pm

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

  10. Rey Salanga December 6, 2019 at 10:30 am

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

    • JW December 6, 2019 at 11:31 am

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

  11. Guy December 5, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    TLFs?

    • JW December 6, 2019 at 8:27 am

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

  12. Roy Cogburn December 5, 2019 at 7:30 am

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

    • JW December 6, 2019 at 8:29 am

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

  13. Jose Torres Jr December 4, 2019 at 8:46 pm

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

  14. Alex C December 4, 2019 at 8:41 pm

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

    • JW December 5, 2019 at 3:16 pm

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

  15. nikki candelaria December 4, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Why are gold star families not included in this?

    • JW December 5, 2019 at 3:06 pm

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

  16. Peter Liller December 2, 2019 at 1:46 pm

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

    • L. RODRIGUEZ December 3, 2019 at 9:50 am

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

      • Daniel Parsons December 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm

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

      • JW December 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

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

    • Jonathan December 3, 2019 at 5:33 pm

      I was initially rated 0% service connected.

      • Roy Manoley December 4, 2019 at 5:23 pm

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

        Good Luck

    • bill doherty December 4, 2019 at 6:06 pm

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

    • Erick December 5, 2019 at 12:01 am

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

    • Doug Heaton December 5, 2019 at 9:34 am

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

      • Amaralus M Kauten December 5, 2019 at 2:36 pm

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

    • Alan Moore December 5, 2019 at 10:37 am

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

  17. Aristotle Geronimo Pangan December 1, 2019 at 10:00 am

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

    • JW December 4, 2019 at 9:00 am

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

    • Alan Moore December 5, 2019 at 10:19 am

      You might be able to shop online at: https://www.shopmyexchange.com/veterans

      • The Exchange December 6, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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

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

        • Don fenton December 7, 2019 at 12:42 am

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

        • Leslie GREEN December 8, 2019 at 2:52 pm

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

        • JW December 9, 2019 at 1:18 pm

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

        • Anibal Bonilla December 10, 2019 at 11:55 am

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

  18. Mary Mackey November 30, 2019 at 5:42 pm

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

    • JW December 4, 2019 at 9:01 am

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

  19. Wayne Robinson November 28, 2019 at 10:23 am

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

    https://www.shadesofgreen.org

    • JW December 4, 2019 at 9:06 am

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

  20. Ron Dankmyer November 28, 2019 at 7:14 am

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

    Thanks!

    • Stephanie Daniels November 30, 2019 at 11:00 pm

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

    • K D December 1, 2019 at 11:27 pm

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

      • JW December 4, 2019 at 9:15 am

        KD, DoD will not accept a VA award letter.

    • Peter Liller December 2, 2019 at 1:43 pm

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

    • Peter Liller December 2, 2019 at 1:49 pm

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

      • Gregory Deemer December 13, 2019 at 3:20 pm

        Peter, mine says service connected and I am 10%

    • JW December 4, 2019 at 9:12 am

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

      • Ron Dankmyer December 4, 2019 at 2:17 pm

        Thank You

  21. Joe November 28, 2019 at 1:13 am

    Will this allow access to Edelweiss?

    • JW December 4, 2019 at 9:20 am

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

  22. Daniel Razo November 26, 2019 at 10:09 am

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

    • Eddie November 29, 2019 at 7:04 am

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

      • James Reeder November 30, 2019 at 3:07 am

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

        • Larry Powell December 4, 2019 at 2:29 am

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

        • Brian Miller December 5, 2019 at 4:21 pm

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

      • D. Martin November 30, 2019 at 8:43 pm

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

      • Terry Day December 4, 2019 at 10:43 am

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

  23. Daniel Razo November 26, 2019 at 10:01 am

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

    • Mark B December 5, 2019 at 10:39 am

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

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

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

  24. JW November 25, 2019 at 4:27 pm

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

  25. JW November 25, 2019 at 3:16 pm

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

  26. Steve Church November 25, 2019 at 3:04 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:12 am

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

      • Steve Church November 26, 2019 at 12:06 pm

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

        • JW December 4, 2019 at 9:52 am

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

  27. Patrick Larson November 25, 2019 at 1:24 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:13 am

      Yes.

  28. Yolanda M. Adkins November 25, 2019 at 11:46 am

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:16 am

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

      • Mo Ransom November 26, 2019 at 12:17 pm

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

    • Jennifer Perez November 26, 2019 at 10:43 am

      You must be joking. You definitely did not serve

    • Frank the Tank November 26, 2019 at 10:48 am

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

      Entitlement- Party of you.

    • Regio November 26, 2019 at 11:41 am

      it says veterans. You did not serve.

  29. Freddie Gravely November 24, 2019 at 7:44 pm

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

  30. David November 24, 2019 at 7:08 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:20 am

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

      Family members are not eligible for these privileges.

  31. Joy Marshall November 23, 2019 at 9:10 pm

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

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

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

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

    • David DeCastro November 25, 2019 at 12:35 pm

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

      • Joe November 26, 2019 at 7:57 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:26 am

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

    • AP November 28, 2019 at 9:41 pm

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

      • Terry Day December 4, 2019 at 11:05 am

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

  32. W ROBERT HUNZIKER November 23, 2019 at 8:30 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:27 am

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

  33. rudy carpenter November 23, 2019 at 2:38 pm

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

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

    • SMSgt M.C. McDermott (Ret) November 27, 2019 at 8:31 am

      Just renew your VA card once it expires.

  34. Carl Walker November 23, 2019 at 11:04 am

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

  35. DOLORES EMMA KEELER November 22, 2019 at 8:51 pm

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

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:37 am

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

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

  36. Michael Parisi November 22, 2019 at 4:37 pm

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

    • Susan De La Paz November 25, 2019 at 10:08 am

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:41 am

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

  37. Julienne Thibeau November 22, 2019 at 3:28 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:44 am

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

  38. Don Lee November 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

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

    • Steve Church November 25, 2019 at 3:02 pm

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:52 am

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

    • James Stewart November 25, 2019 at 3:21 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 7:50 am

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

      • Kristina Reynolds December 2, 2019 at 8:23 am

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

        • JW December 4, 2019 at 2:18 pm

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

        • Ron. Miller December 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm

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

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

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

  39. RC November 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm

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

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

  40. Inger Jones November 22, 2019 at 10:49 am

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

    • William Spencer November 24, 2019 at 2:58 pm

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 8:06 am

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

  41. Charleen Anderson November 21, 2019 at 11:09 pm

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

    • James Harwood November 22, 2019 at 12:55 pm

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

    • TbirdGene November 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      Amen

    • K G November 22, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      That’s stupid. Shut up

    • Tim McManus November 23, 2019 at 1:40 am

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

  42. Dean Hanson November 21, 2019 at 9:05 pm

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

    • Eddie Mamaid November 22, 2019 at 10:12 am

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

      • Willett D Burch November 25, 2019 at 11:54 am

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

    • The Exchange November 22, 2019 at 10:39 am

      No. Your retired privileges will not be cancelled.

      • Steven P Catanich November 22, 2019 at 8:00 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 8:16 am

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

  43. Cornelius Edwin Hill November 21, 2019 at 8:09 pm

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

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

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

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

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

    Comment correct?

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 8:41 am

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

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

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

  44. HUBERT A FARRELL November 21, 2019 at 7:04 pm

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

    • Tia Gale November 23, 2019 at 10:47 am

      No you can’t. Read the article again.

    • David November 24, 2019 at 6:16 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 8:47 am

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

  45. Sean Funchess November 21, 2019 at 7:00 pm

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

    • Sean Funchess November 21, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      I found the answer for the OCONUS question.

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

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

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

  46. Liz Reed November 21, 2019 at 6:56 pm

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

    • Dennis Muraoka November 25, 2019 at 2:42 am

      Liz,
      I totally agree with your comments.

    • Teri December 4, 2019 at 11:24 pm

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

  47. Israel Guadalupe November 21, 2019 at 6:12 pm

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

  48. Israel Guadalupe November 21, 2019 at 6:07 pm

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

  49. R. Jackson November 21, 2019 at 5:34 pm

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

    • Tisa Johnson November 23, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      Yes, the article stated all service- connected veterans.

    • David November 24, 2019 at 6:20 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:03 am

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

  50. Anthony J. Harris November 21, 2019 at 5:07 pm

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

  51. Joe V November 21, 2019 at 5:07 pm

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

    • David November 24, 2019 at 6:25 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:10 am

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

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

  52. Karen Marie Prigmore November 21, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    I guess we were skipped over.

  53. Annette T Belk November 21, 2019 at 2:11 pm

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

    Annette

    • Anthony J. Harris November 21, 2019 at 5:08 pm

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

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:11 pm

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

      • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:18 pm

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

        • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:21 pm

          And not eligible for a service connected Veteran Health Card.

    • Bruce E Stevenson November 21, 2019 at 6:17 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:13 am

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

  54. Chad Robb November 21, 2019 at 12:18 pm

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

    • Charles C. November 21, 2019 at 1:15 pm

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:19 am

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

    • Richard Barlow November 21, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Starting January First your VA card should be accepted for base access. See the first paragraph of this Military Times article.

      https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2019/07/22/heres-how-3-million-more-people-will-get-military-shopping-benefits/?fbclid=IwAR1p2xikrrIqcNStuSoQkeJvDKWatcfpTCmEfuypaHltsReCYNMelyNjIR4

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:22 pm

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

    • Raymond Blauvelt November 22, 2019 at 3:57 am

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:22 am

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:17 am

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

  55. Judson Stevens November 21, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Is the Halekoa Hotel in Hawaii considers a MWR facility?

    • Larry Young November 22, 2019 at 12:00 am

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:28 am

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

    • David November 24, 2019 at 6:37 pm

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:30 am

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:23 am

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

  56. Dominic Westfall November 21, 2019 at 11:48 am

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

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:27 pm

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

    • Stephen November 22, 2019 at 7:27 am

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

  57. Ahah November 21, 2019 at 11:43 am

    “Make America Great Again”

    • Michael Cowan November 21, 2019 at 1:26 pm

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

      • Jim Marow November 21, 2019 at 5:03 pm

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

      • Anthony J. Harris November 21, 2019 at 5:10 pm

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

      • Anthony J. Harris November 21, 2019 at 5:11 pm

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

      • Mark Hayes November 21, 2019 at 6:12 pm

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

      • Brian Baca November 21, 2019 at 10:40 pm

        Clinton is not in office anymore.

      • William D Lowe November 21, 2019 at 11:08 pm

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

      • Barbara Matthews November 22, 2019 at 3:20 am

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

    • John Owens November 21, 2019 at 8:11 pm

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

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

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

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

  58. Michael Murray7 November 21, 2019 at 11:25 am

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

    • Ray Green November 21, 2019 at 2:47 pm

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

      • william browning November 22, 2019 at 4:57 am

        only if you have a service connected disability rating.

    • Christopher Hamel November 21, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      You are understanding it right, unfortunately.

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm

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

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:34 am

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

  59. D. Rush November 21, 2019 at 11:22 am

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:36 am

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

  60. Robert Anchors November 21, 2019 at 11:18 am

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

    • Anthony J. Harris November 21, 2019 at 5:19 pm

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

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:35 pm

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

    • Ferrell Naputi November 21, 2019 at 7:02 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:39 am

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

  61. Joseph Carr November 21, 2019 at 11:12 am

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

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

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

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

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

    • Bill Guinane November 21, 2019 at 2:31 pm

      Amen. Great summary

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:37 pm

      GREAT…THANK YOU…PLEASE READ PEOPLE!!!

  62. Kenneth Kodadek November 21, 2019 at 11:09 am

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

    • Diane November 21, 2019 at 1:01 pm

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

    • Anthony J. Harris November 21, 2019 at 5:22 pm

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

    • Orrace Clifton Eley November 21, 2019 at 6:41 pm

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

    • Gil Golti November 21, 2019 at 7:45 pm

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:43 am

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

  63. Dan November 21, 2019 at 11:02 am

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

    • Jason Brown November 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm

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

    • Nicole D Samuel November 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm

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

      • Jeff Moomau November 21, 2019 at 2:23 pm

        This does not take affect until Jan 1 2020

    • Anthony J. Harris November 21, 2019 at 5:23 pm

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

    • Barbara Matthews November 22, 2019 at 3:12 am

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:49 am

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

  64. BARBARA ANDERSON November 21, 2019 at 10:54 am

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

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

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:55 am

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

  65. Tim Galloway November 21, 2019 at 10:22 am

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

    • Philip J Cross November 21, 2019 at 11:38 am

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 10:00 am

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

    • Gary Davis November 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm

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

      • Douglas Darnielle November 21, 2019 at 8:44 pm

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

      • JW November 26, 2019 at 10:02 am

        Gary, family members are not eligible for this benefit.

    • Josh Brody November 21, 2019 at 1:12 pm

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

      • Carl Skinner November 22, 2019 at 1:44 am

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

      • David November 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm

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

        • JW November 26, 2019 at 10:05 am

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

    • JW November 26, 2019 at 9:58 am