[This blog has been updated–at the bottom–to address a few common questions. If you have questions that are not answered in the blog below related to base access, commissary privileges and MWR, please call Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647.] 

The Defense Department has announced expanded Commissary, Military Service Exchange and MWR access Jan. 1 and established a standard for physical access to military installations.

Veterans who are eligible and want to take advantage of in-person benefits must have a Veterans Health Identification Card, or VHIC. Primary Family Caregivers must have an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.

Veterans use VHICs for identification and check-in at VA appointments, but will also use them for base access under the new program.

Veterans eligible solely under this act who are eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card must use this credential for in-person installation and privilege access. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED).

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

Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are eligible for DoD credentials under DoD policy.

How to get a VHIC

Veterans must be enrolled in the VA health care system to receive a VHIC.  To enroll, you can complete an application for enrollment in VA health care by telephone without the need for a signed paper application. Just call 1-877-222-8387 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Eastern. You can also apply for VA healthcare benefits online at www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll, or in person at your local VA medical facility.  Once your enrollment is verified, you can have your picture taken at your local VA medical center, and VA will mail you a VHIC.

ID needed to get VHIC

To ensure a Veteran’s identity, enrollees must provide one form of primary identification when requesting a VHIC. Acceptable forms of primary identification are:

Primary Identification (Unexpired)

State-Issued Driver’s License

United States Passport or Passport Card

Other Government ID

This ID can be issued by federal, state or local government agencies provided it contains a photograph, name, date of birth and address. If the address is not on the proofing document, Veterans can provide separate documentation to confirm their address. Acceptable address documents include:

  • Electric bill
  • Cable bill
  • Other mailing document
  • Voters Registration card

How long does it take?

Once you have your picture taken, you should receive your VHIC within 10 days. If you have questions about the status of your VHIC, you may call your local VA medical facility where you receive your care or contact us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

The VHIC provides:

Increased security for your personal information – no personally identifiable information contained on the magnetic stripe or barcode.

Unique Member Identifier — Department of Defense assigns an electronic data interchange personal identifier (EDIPI) that allows VA to retrieve the Veteran’s health record.

A salute to your military service – The emblem of your latest branch of service is displayed on your card. Several special awards will also be listed.

Accessibility – Braille “VA” helps visually impaired Veterans to recognize and use the card

Anti-Counterfeiting – Microtext helps prevent reproductions

Lost or stolen?

If your VHIC is lost or stolen, contact the VA medical facility where your picture was taken to request a new card be re-issued, or call 1-877-222-VETS (8387). Veterans will need to provide identification information, when reporting lost or stolen cards.

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.

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

First visit

Upon the first visit to an installation, these eligible Veterans and caregivers must stop at the visitor control center.  Depending on the type of installation, Veterans may enroll for recurring access, which would allow them to proceed to the gate for entry upon subsequent visits without having to stop again at the visitor control center.

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

Find out more about military resale privileges.

Army and Air Force Exchange Service (https://www.shopmyexchange.com/vets)

Coast Guard Exchange (https://shopCGX.com)

Defense Commissary Agency (https://www.commissaries.com/)

Navy Exchange (https://www.mynavyexchange.com/)

Marine Corps Exchange (http://www.mymcx.com/)

MILITARY STAR Card (https://www.myecp.com/)

American Forces Travel (https://www.americanforcestravel.com)

IMAGE: Welcome Home Graphic with various DoD logos


Based on the hundreds of comments below, here are answers to the most-asked:

Q: Can I bring a spouse/friend/guest?

A. Yes, but all guests must go through the required vetting at the visitor control center and must remain with the sponsor at all times.

Veterans and caregivers should know that while they can bring guests onto the installation and into the facilities, those guests will have to stop at visitor control and go through the required access steps, which includes providing acceptable proof of identity (e.g., REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or U.S. passport) and undergoing a quick basic background check. If the guest shows up without the proper ID, they will not be able to accompany the veteran or caregiver onto the installation.

Q. Does this includes bases overseas?

A. It includes installations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the participating U.S. territories and possessions. Access at installations overseas in foreign countries is subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host countries. So, for now, the answer is not all.

Q. Does this include Class Six, gyms, golf courses?

A. Yes to Class Six, no to gyms, yes to golf courses.

By Air Force Veteran Adam Stump is a member of VA's Digital Media Engagement team.

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Published on Nov. 26, 2019

Estimated reading time is 6 min.

Views to date: 8,183

821 Comments

  1. Angela H December 24, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    How can I get a new card if my VA facility in Biloxi MS says they are not issuing new ID cards? Can I go another facility close to me like New Orleans LA or Mobile AL to get my VHIC since I am already enrolled in the Healthcare system.

  2. A Sims December 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    just as an FYI, I went to pre-register at a base that’s not far from me. I am service-connected and my VHIC states this under my picture as the requirements state…however, I have an older VHIC card, and the Visitor Control center informed me that they cannot register it. I have to have the newer card. So I ended up having to go to the VA to get the newly issued cards. Apparently this has been happening a lot at this particular installation. He handed me some info they’ve been passing out to veterans.

  3. Alvin DeWalt December 20, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve read through all the comments and no answer yet about Japan. I was just told in an email by a high level MWR official that Japan’s SOFA agreement does not allow disabled vets the privileges under the new law. Here is what he wrote:

    THE HOST-NATION AGREEMENT DOES NOT ALLOW U.S. CITIZENS RESIDING IN JAPAN TO ACCESS THESE PRIVILEGES UNLESS THEY ARE ACCOMPANYING THE U.S. MILITARY FORCE, OR ARE UNIFORMED SERVICES RETIREES. BECAUSE YOU ARE NEITHER, YOU WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO COMMISSARIES, EXCHANGES, AND MWR FACILITIES IN JAPAN.
    WE HOPE YOU WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE PRIVILEGES WHENEVER YOU ARE BACK IN THE UNITED STATES OR IN A U.S. TERRITORY OR POSSESSION. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

    However this is what the law states; “(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.”

    My reading is that disabled vets are placed in the same category as retired military, therefore they should be eligible under SOFA. I have a DoD ID card since I have over 21 years DoD service, including my Navy service. My pension is deposited in Navy Federal, so I really need base access and am thankful for the DoD ID card. Unfortunately, it looks like the official position is that those of us in Japan are out of luck with the current interpretation of the law and SOFA . I’m hoping that the senior MWR official is mistaken, but at this point-who knows?

    • John Whalen December 24, 2019 at 8:17 am

      It sounds like the high level MWR official doesn’t understand the law is the law. If retirees have access you have access.
      VHIC=Retired ID. Plain and simple.
      I would argue that point with them.
      I hate it when these “host” (read defeated) countries can dictate what OUR military can and can’t do.

  4. ADAM SMITH December 20, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    This is what the VA wrote in the article above (scroll up to see it).

    Q. Does this includes bases overseas?
    A: It includes installations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the participating U.S. territories and possessions. Access at installations overseas in foreign countries is subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host countries. So, for now, the answer is not all.

    Can the DoD/VA/Exchange/Commissary please be more responsible here? Who is working on this issue?

    The actual answer is YES IT DOES APPLY WORLDWIDE AND UNLESS THE COUNTRY SOFA PROHIBITS RETIRED MILITARY WITH PAY THEN PERHAPS THERE IS NO ACCESS. THE NEW LAW IS CLEAR, EQUAL ACCESS ON THE EQUAL BASIS AS RETIRED WITH PAY. AND EVEN IF THE SOFA PREVENTS ACCESS ON THE SAME BASIS AS RETIRED WITH PAY OR 100% DAV, ISNT THIS A GOOD TIME TO REVIEW THESE ISSUES? WE PAID THE PRICE AND THE USG HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS US THE DISABLED VETERAN MORE THAN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WE PROTECT. THESE COUNTRIES SHOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SACRIFICES OF VETERANS MADE TO PROTECT THEIR COUNTRIES, NOT TREAT US LIKE A PILE OF GARBAGE.WHY DOESN’T START A REVIEW TO IMPROVE OTHERWISE POOR ACCESS IN CERTAIN EU COUNTRIES FOR VETERANS OVERSEAS?

    What is so difficult about this issue? This law has been passed for almost 2 years now. So with the half answer to this question, come next week, disabled veterans are expected by the DoD to show up at visitors center and request access, then what? Then what about the Exchange/commissary employees overseas, any training? Since the information regarding overseas access at the NEX/PX is not updated yet, what is happening and what is the update, thank you.

  5. Leo Tampa December 20, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    It needs to say “SERVICE CONNECTED” under VA Healthcare Enrollee. It will only say service connected if you have a service connected disability.

  6. george w hanna December 20, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    my I D has V A health.care enrollee ,will this work

    • JB December 23, 2019 at 7:56 pm

      Hello George, “VA Health Enrollee” I was told that will get you on military post after you have register the card through the MP’s main control center but it will not give you access to shop in the commissary or main PX. You must do the leg work and get one of these three identifiers printed on your card. 1. service connect, 2. pow, 3. purple heart, if you don’t see one of these three you will not be able to purchase in person in the commissary and PX. This is what I was told by the managers who work for Afees who had to take the class about this new service to veterans so they and employees would know what to look for on the card. Go see your VA Rep for instructions on how to obtain. Hope this helped you

  7. W Conner December 19, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Where can I find the guidance on whether VHIC Card holders will be able to sponsor or utilize trusted traveler for families/friends?

  8. David Ravetta December 19, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    I have a current Choose VA card. Do I need to get this card as well

  9. Bill Scheeler December 18, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Can a VHIC card holder with a service connected disability be a sponsor for his wife to go on base and also use military lodging?

  10. James Tilson December 17, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    I have a friend who is in his 90’s and is an honorably discharged Army Korean War vet. Does he actually have to register with the VA and get a VHIC card if he’s on Medicare?

    • michael J stone December 18, 2019 at 11:57 am

      yes .. He has to have at least a 0 % service connected or higher .. It will be noted on his new card.

  11. Mickey December 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    My Drivers License has specified Veteran on it and I did need my DD214 to obtain this action. Do I still need to cary my VHAC card in order to in-store shop or will my DL allow me access?

    • michael J stone December 18, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Read the mission act again.. You have to have the new VHIC card. It has to have the minimum .. 0% service connected on the front of the card… Just having a new VHIC card will not qualify you for access…

    • Janelle Russell December 22, 2019 at 7:59 am

      If 0% or higher…then you do NOT need a service-connected disability to gain access, correct?

  12. Christopher D Greer December 17, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Serious, if a little odd question.

    With MWR access listed, does that include being able to purchase things like Disney Parks Military Salute tickets?

  13. MARK MARTINI December 15, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    once you and you spouse, guest or significant other goes through the background check as requested do you have to do this everytime you enter that same base you did your initial check at? and further more do you have to get a check for every base you enter, for instance I live in San Diego area which has several bases. is it one background check apply to all bases?

  14. Teri December 11, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Think it’s worth mentioning that I think the VA needs to put clarification out because from my base. CAC holders are not authorized the the “trusted traveler” status. Which means, no you cannot bring a spouse, or a friend. Caregivers who are registered yes but just the Vet not others in the car.

    • Fill December 14, 2019 at 8:56 am

      Far as I can tell each state is different

    • Fill December 14, 2019 at 8:58 am

      As far as I can tell each state is different

  15. James Thomas Murray December 11, 2019 at 11:52 am

    4 Years USMC. No military related health problems.
    Served six to eight months at Marine Base Camp Giger in North Carolina in 1962.
    Am I eligible for the new MWR, BX/PX, Class Six, benefits that go into affect on January 1, 2020?

    • JB December 24, 2019 at 3:41 am

      File a disability claim you will get a rating from 0-90%

    • Mark Martini December 24, 2019 at 11:11 am

      Not unless you have a service connected disability, it will also state that under the picture of your “New” VHIC card

  16. James Thomas Murray December 11, 2019 at 11:43 am

    I served 4 years in the USMC from 1958-1962. Six to eight months of this was at Camp Giger in North Carolina. I received an honorable discharge in 1962. I have no military health problems that I am aware of.
    Am I eligible for the extended benefits of MWR, PX/BX and commissary/class six that will be offered January, 2020?

    • michael J stone December 18, 2019 at 12:08 pm

      No you have to be the minimum of 0% service connected .

  17. dave riggle December 11, 2019 at 3:19 am

    live in WV. vet on disability. can’t afford food anyway. I do have a va health card but it says temp. no idea what that means. i don’t go to the VA. private doctors. this is all to confusing for me. will go to the food banks to make ends meet.

  18. Mario Santiago Jasso December 10, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    As a veteran with physical disability I was using the gyms to continue to strengthen my injury due to my service connected disability by keeping me exercising. Why would I be discontinued to access the gyms that I was accessed before?
    As an honorable discharged veteran with service disability and never a threat in any way to the facilities, why now am I not allowed to partake in the benefits of a veteran?

  19. Tony J December 10, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Wow – I see a lot of whining from retirees.. Just because you served longer doesn’t make your service any more honorable. Many of us would have served longer but were injured on duty and have been getting screwed for 30 + years by the VA denying benefits for life altering injuries incurred while serving.

    Get off your high horse and realize your area vet just like the us are vets.. So much for the brotherhood I guess.

    I think any vet who served honorably should be eligible. As for the moron who thinks it would lead to “black market” sales.. the PX prices aren’t that friggin great in the first place, there are much easier ways to make money in resale… SMDH

  20. Robert T Donaldson December 9, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    I have a V.A. ID card for syr. n. y. hospital do I need another

    • michael J stone December 18, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      You need a new VHIC .. You have to me a minimum of 0% service connected. That is the card you need to access a facility..

  21. Richard Ziesche December 9, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    I’m seeing a lot of complaining about giving these deserving vets an added benefit. I’m an Air Force Retiree, 4 years active service (1972-76) and 26 years Active Reserve (1988-2014)–wore the uniform for 30 years. I wouldn’t deny any vet benefits they’re entitled to and there are vets who get benefits I don’t. But, as we all know, getting the government to extend any new benefits to those who served our country faithfully, whether or not they saw combat, has always been a long, rough road. It’s all about the money. I think this is a great new benefit that I hope will help some vets who can use the help. I saw one comment regarding the exclusion of Coast Guard vets, and I’m inclined to research that one a little further. It doesn’t seem fair to treat the Coasties any different–they ARE brothers and sisters in arms. The Coast Guard was my first choice, but the waiting list was longer back in the day. I have nothing but respect for all of our vets! Have a problem with this program? Write your Senators and Congress members–especially those who are vets themselves!

  22. the_frumious_bandersnatch December 9, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    As a person who is much more grateful for what I have than resentful about the lack thereof, I’m content to have the privilege of shopping online at AAFES (even though I signed up a few years ago but have yet to make purchase #1). The “luxury” garbage sold by them doesn’t interest me, and the prosaic items are cheaper at Costco. Thank you all for your service.

  23. Alberrt Lee Laliberte December 9, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Ref: to Calvin Rodney Ford, Dec. 5th, 2019 response:
    He mentions ” you can be 100% and only get paid for 50% it’s the VA way of keeping more of the money.” Is this accurate or true? If so how can a veteran find out his/her status to this claim?

  24. Richard Romo December 8, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Typical…and one of the reasons I didn’t want to stay in the military anymore . . .because of assh*le troops like the guys bitching above because someone is getting a benefit they don’t want others to have.

  25. CPL Phil Morris, December 8, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    ANOTHER ISSUE …. is that in virtually every Military Era, there are those who served, are Honorably Discharged, and years or decades LATER, it is determined that they have medical issues that appeared later. AGENT ORANGE for example. How many VETS served in Vietnam and it was later determined that they have conditions that become more sever over time. AGENT ORANGE has been found to be PRESUMPTIVE for cancers, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. Their life expectancy has been shortened … their earning capability has been shortened. This small benefit will be valuable to some. ALSO …. not that many even live close to an active installation now with all the closings and consolidations.

    FINALLY … why would anyone begrudge the extension of a benefit to others who have served and are found to be in need. They also paid TAXES that fund retirement and benefits for all who served.

    20% disabled when I left the military …. 80% disabled today from AGENT ORANGE exposure.

  26. james edward rodgers December 8, 2019 at 9:19 am

    i am an 82 year old service connected vet and there must be a short cut to get this card.I am not as sharp as i used to be ! thanks!

    • Aaron Bouser December 10, 2019 at 9:54 am

      Mr. Rodgers,
      If you’re anywhere close to Arkansas, I will personally come help you get this card. It’s not hard at all. Or, you could ask your local VA rep in your town to help you out. Basically, all you need is to take your proof of service (DD214 or whatever) and get to your VA hospital. They’ll make the card for you. I’ll answer any questions I can for ya. I like to do all I can to help my service brothers & sisters out.

  27. Dennis Flynn December 8, 2019 at 5:36 am

    I have a vhic card. I was honorably discharged USMC after 3 years service In 1978.
    I have a felony conviction for growing 5 marijuana plants in my back yard in 1981, 38 years ago.
    Regarding the “quick backround check”,I read if you have a felony conviction I will be denied access.
    My question is will I be denied access to exchange for a 38 year old felony?

    • Lorn H Olsen December 10, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      I had an felonious assault conviction 6 years ago and had it expunged. Have yours expunged. I now own guns again.

    • Dane December 12, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      As of now you need a service connected disability for this ‘benny’ . So unless you are concerned about being a guest to get on, you aren’t affected anyways.

      • Dane December 13, 2019 at 9:54 am

        This updated info?

        First visit
        Upon the first visit to an installation, these eligible Veterans and caregivers must stop at the visitor control center. Depending on the type of installation, Veterans may enroll for recurring access, which would allow them to proceed to the gate for entry upon subsequent visits without having to stop again at the visitor control center.

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

  28. Charles Pisano December 8, 2019 at 4:42 am

    Lots of comments on this one… Not sure why, haven’t read them yet. Why is it no one wants to address all the radiation in VA treatment areas. Even my nurse & nurse practitioner were wearing smart watches. I have health benefits I cant use because I’m EHS. I’m reading about some military bases now getting 5G. Things are going in the wrong direction.

  29. Vanessa Simmons December 8, 2019 at 1:34 am

    It states MWR retail and includes golf courses. How about Famcamps?

    • Martin Petretti December 11, 2019 at 7:56 am

      Under the new program will qualified members access to,shades of Green, Halekoa, Dragon Hill?

  30. Eric William Oetjen December 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    I’m a vet with an honorable discharge and don’t get any of these new benefits even though I have spent a lifetime in our military on active duty, national guard, inactive reserves, and service academy grad. Count your blessings if you have these benefits. Our government does not recognize all veterans having “equal service” when it comes to qualifying for entitlements!

    • Dane December 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm

      Did you retire? If so , you already get this benny. I did 10 years active and some delayed enlistment, and till now have gotten nothing for it!

  31. bill scott December 7, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I think gave the wrong name of who added benefits on defense appropriation bill that was Late senator John McCain .
    RIP. His funeral was Sep 1, 2018.

  32. Edward Clark December 7, 2019 at 11:15 am

    I served and was honorably discharged from the Air Force but was told when I tried to obtain a VHIC I was not eligible due to the income restrictions associated with the VA. Was this new program designed to exclude me and other fellow military veterans from access to BX/Commissary privileges solely because our income exceeds enrollment limitations. I’m not trying to utilize other VA benefits; just gain access to these facilities.

    • Jeffrey Bisch December 10, 2019 at 9:36 am

      I was told the same thing. I am an Honorably discharged US Army Veteran, and I was denied a VHIC because of my current salary. Had I applied years ago when I was at the poverty level, I would have been eligible. As you said, I am not trying to obtain Veteran’s health care, I would just like to shop at the PX and commissary.

    • A Sims December 11, 2019 at 6:50 am

      From my understanding, they are working on a resolution for those of you who fall into this category

      • MzJW December 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm

        Just because you qualify for VA Health benefits, and obtain an ID card, DOSE NOT mean you have to use the VA for your healthcare. You can go see a prime care dr once a year to remain active in the system, if you want, but you don’t HAVE to be seen at the VA.

    • Dane December 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      Did you retire? If so , you already get this benny. I did 10 years active and some delayed enlistment, and till now have gotten nothing for it!

      • Dane December 12, 2019 at 12:36 pm

        Above reply was for a different post. Current requirements are service connected or purple heart or POW.

        So not all vets get this yet.

    • Chris Asman December 13, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      As of Nov 11, 2017 any honorably discharged veteran of the 5 branches are eligible to shop the Exchanges online-only. The new rule effective Jan 01, 2020 is for physical base access to visit an Exchange in person. The new benefit does require special qualifications as noted on a VHIC card. Many people will not be eligible for the new base access privileges.

    • JB December 24, 2019 at 3:06 am

      You will need to file a disability claim. You might get zero percentage for compensation but you will get “service connected” printed on your VHIC

  33. Jorge Portillo December 7, 2019 at 8:14 am

    Hi everyone,
    I was very pleased to find out about the commissary privileges given to veterans like me, however I was disappointed when I found out that these privileges do not extend to the US Coast Guard because they’re part of the department of Homeland Security not the DOD….I think it should be extended to DHS as well since we’re all brothers and sisters who have protected and served our nation during war and peace and it shouldn’t be a barrier to access the commissaries across the network.
    President Trump can actually sign an order to make this happen.
    Semper Fi

    • AJ Edwards December 11, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      Glad to say you’ve been misinformed Jorge. I’m a 27 yr CG retiree with 60% service connected disability from injuries while deployed serving Iraq and at sea in the Northern Arabian Gulf in 2003-2004 as well as cumulative injuries sustained doing counternarcotic patrols in the Caribbean and off the Columbian coast. Coasties are treated exactly like any other Military service regarding VA care, commissary privileges, etc. And for that I am super grateful, thankful and blessed.

      • Dane December 13, 2019 at 10:02 am

        But you say you are a ‘retiree’ , that fact gives you access already. How about a CC who didn’t retire? That is the point in question. Is CC like any other veteran?

    • Chris Asman December 13, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Jorge, I would suggest calling to be sure. The article specifically lists the Coast Guard Exchange. The new rule effective Jan 01, 2020 requires special status (e.g. Purple Heart) for physical base access for in-person shopping. You can already shop the CG Exchange online as of Nov 11, 2017 as a veteran with an Honorable discharge.

  34. Christy Brown December 7, 2019 at 6:26 am

    I don’t understand why everyone retired is so mad about this. Less than one percent of the US population has served, and you all are acting like as soon as other veterans have access to base its going to be a constant black Friday rush. Calm down, Johnny Awesome, you’ll still have your golf courses. Change happens, get over it, or at least we were told to “Suck it up and drive on.” Furthermore, it would also behoove you to maybe NOT treat us all like bottom-feeders. #KTHXBAI

  35. Errol Britten December 6, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    This is great and all, but it would be much easier for base personnel if they gave eligible vets a CAC. I wouldn’t mind bringing my VHIC to the nearest ID Card Office and getting a CAC. It just feels like this wasn’t well thought out.

  36. Archie Smith December 6, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Are the old VA. Service connected i.d. ok
    Or do you need the new one.. i serviced 1964 to 1967. 10% disability. My car had large flag on it

    • michael J stone December 16, 2019 at 10:38 am

      you need the new ID

  37. Marc Wahler Sr (SFC RET USA) December 6, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    I do not know if this info is in all the above text messages. I talked with an official at the Ft Benning commissary and was told all Vets using their VA health care card would be charged 1.8% for using their credit or debit card each time you use the store. I thought this info would have been told during the news , good news, regarding the Vets ability to use the ( well most of the) post, base, or what ever each Branch calls their amenities.

    • Craig F Bronson December 9, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      The commissary charges everyone that fee.
      Having worked with the main commissary facility in Ft. Lee VA, that fee provides the necessary resources to keep AFEES running, but new scanners for inventory, purchase services like new and more robust data centers across the globe. I’ll vlady pat the small amount rather than the 5-8% state taxes. This money goes directly into a fund that the managers take very seriously. It’s for the enlisted and officers and keeps costs down.

  38. Gerald Ryan December 6, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    I guess 13 years in the Navy means nothing , was a E6 that did my job everyday ,but had a E8 that was by the book , when I put in the paperwork to reenlist ,was told it was denied .said that I couldn’t adapt , just another way of saying that I didn’t kiss ass , the same thing I still do to this day , if I have to taste s–t ,I will do without

    • Randall December 12, 2019 at 7:40 pm

      I’ve met your type before. Refuse to do things because you think it’s “kissing ass” or beneath you yet blame everyone else like your E8 for your problems. Life is about adapting and as long as you refuse to you’ll always be “denied” and blocked from advancing. Try not thinking everyone is out to get you and just follow the rules because I can tell you I’ve only met one type of person that is “denied” reenlistment.

      • Dane December 13, 2019 at 10:12 am

        There are two sides to every comment. Hopefully you aren’t saying ‘politics’ aren’t in affect in the armed forces! It is my way or the highway attitude. In the 10 years I was in i saw it frequently. A chief who said I reminded him of his worthless son ordered those under him to write me poor annual reviews affecting my promotions. Another installation I was taken out of a supervisor job for no other apparent reason but skin color. When I discovered I outranked the other individual they had me working under then, I was moved to another position that didn’t even exist.
        So the kiss but, good ol boys club , etc I am sure still exists today!

  39. hecnav December 6, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    I was able to find the following at the below website:

    “This means that they will not be able to use the gyms, since these are subsidized by the DoD. However, they can patronize MWR-run on base restaurants, movie theaters and golf courses. On base hotels, bowling alleys and other for-profit enterprises are also going to be opened to identified categories of veterans and caregivers”.

    https://militaryshoppers.com/exchanges-and-mwr-opening-up-for-more-veterans-in-2020/

    Also:
    “That includes the PX, commissary, and other retail stores on base, in addition to morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) facilities, such as golf courses, bowling areas, campgrounds, and lodging facilities, per Military.com”.

  40. hecnav December 6, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    opps forgot how about MAC flights on space A?

    • John Barry Dreher December 9, 2019 at 10:10 pm

      Are you joking? That is for retirees and 100% service connected veterans.

  41. hecnav December 6, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    will lodging, billeting be authorized as they are MWR programs?

  42. Robert Davis December 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Any clarity on SOFA in the United Kingdom? I would shop at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall, if permitted by UK law, as I am rated at 90% Service Connected.

    • CHARLES E ALEXANDER December 8, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      The large response to this article is due in part to its misleading TITLE: “Veterans need Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) to access bases for commissary/BX/MWR privileges.”

      I,like many others, thought that this was referring to me. I am a vet, honorably discharged, with a VHIC card! Why not me, and millions of others like me, who served over the decades (1962 – 1965), but never had to go “down range!”
      That Commissary benefit would be an appropriate “Thank You,” even though a bit delayed.

      But there are RESTRICTIONS to who is eligible for this privilege: those with active duty, “service-connected,” injuries…as the article goes on to lay out. Sort of a clumsy, thoughtless, “bait and switch” scheme, if you ask me! You piqued the hopes and desires of millions of ordinary vets, and their families, with VHIC cards, only to quickly squelch those hopes, sending us back with our heads bowed in disappointment! Shame on you, and shame on those who under fund these important and beneficial programs, then restrict them to a tiny (though deserving) minority. Expand these MWR benefits at least to the honorably discharged (with income restrictions, if necessary). Now that would be a Merry Christmas!!

  43. Epes Croom December 6, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Veterans Department, I am a disabled veteran. Who do I contact and what is the office postal address and telephone number at the military barracks canteen exchange to order the mail order house. Can they arrange locomotive engine to trasnport the house to Nye, County, NV? Entire house wanted, furnishing, table, chair, bedding, linen, lumber, window casings, doors, flooring, sink, toilet, cast iron back tub, roofing, brick, and mortor.

  44. Caregiver/Daughter To 20 YR AF Vet December 6, 2019 at 11:20 am

    As my Father’s Caregiver and Plenary Guardian I applied for and received a DBIDS Smart Card. As I am sure you are aware this allows me the same privileges as a VHIC. My issue is that I work full time and also take care of my Father. I attempted to make purchases online through my Father’s “Shop My Exchange” account and my order was canceled. When I contacted Customer Service I was told that “Caregivers” are not allowed to Shop on Line for the Sponsor. Why would this be the case?

    • The Chuckster December 6, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      If you could just wait till January 1st, and attempt to make another purchase, this will clarify if the VA is not confusing your purchase for your dad as part of the rollout starting January 1st. If you still get a cancellation then that will tell you there is something wrong, because everyone and including caregivers will be allowed to make purchases. Even though you have your caregiver card on you sometimes things just fall through the cracks.

  45. Jules Ann December 6, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I cannot believe the condescending “my service was better than yours“ comments. The fact of the matter is that any of us that took the oath and wore the uniform served our great country.

    The VA card does not have to say “service connected,” it has to say “health care enrollee” and which branch of service, I.e., Army, Air Force… I will always hold respect for those who served in country during conflict, WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and so forth, but those that stayed stateside, we’re never deployed served support roles. As a Vietnam Era WAC, I’ve endured harassment, discrimination, and sexual trauma, and I was not allowed to see conflict. We are all veterans! Be kind to each other as we are a brotherhood and sisterhood that anyone who has never served would not understand.

    • Marcus Love December 6, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      Yes, I agree with you 100 percent. My card says “Health Care Enrollee,” and there shouldn’t be an issue with using it as proof of honorable service.

      • Diane Williams December 6, 2019 at 7:44 pm

        If you see the actual photo of the ID above, it does list “VA Healthcare Enrollee” under our photos, among the other listed classifications that were discussed, so it is acceptable. I have used mine many times with no issues, the only better thing now is the fact that we can utilize an array of services now. It’s about time

        • michael J stone December 18, 2019 at 12:23 pm

          It has to be the new style VHIC .. 0 % service connected as a minimum.

      • Kevin L. December 7, 2019 at 1:05 am

        “for in-person installation and privilege access. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED).“

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

      • Patricia A. (Forrey) Watts December 8, 2019 at 11:03 pm

        I believe that the term “service connected” refers to classification for disabilities resulting from injuries sustained during qualified active duty service. This has to do with the veteran’s eventual VA Disability Rating; it has nothing to do with his/her branch of service.

    • Chris December 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      Veterans eligible solely under this act who are eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card must use this credential for in-person installation and privilege access. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED)..
      Just having health care enrolled wont cut it.

  46. Mike Staser December 6, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Does this include military billeting?

    • Brian Heim December 7, 2019 at 11:08 am

      Yes! I have a buddy still in and he verified for me that you can stay in lodging on base under this new law. Made me very happy as well!!

  47. Rudolph Belohlavek December 6, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I am veteran but did not retire from the military and i do have veteran benefits With a VA valid card can i use the military commissary

    • Stanley Rokusek December 6, 2019 at 11:17 am

      What a bunch of f(redacted)n whiners

    • michael J stone December 18, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      You need the new VHIC and you have to be a minimum of 0 % service connected on the front right of the card..

  48. Eric Dorsey December 6, 2019 at 8:32 am

    To ensure this isn’t a slap in the face to retired veterans, I believe those that are retired shouldn’t be required to pay the commissary surcharge and those that are now receiving the privilege should pay the surcharge. That way the retirees are still being honored for there service.

    • T. Thomas December 6, 2019 at 10:36 am

      A veteran is a veteran. We all have sacrificed. What makes a retiree more important than a veteran who had to separate for other reasons. The veteran community has always been more selfless than what you are requesting. Everyone’s story is different. Be blessed.

    • Myhra, Matthew December 6, 2019 at 10:52 am

      I will preface my answer with the fact that this is only my opinion; however, I believe that your retirement pension/benefits is already providing you that same honor. To state that people who served as little as 4 or as much as 18 years did not fulfill honorable service to the country I believe is disingenuous. Also, for individuals like me who have worked as a federal civilian employee for 12 years since my six years of active military service this is the first time they are allowing us to access it and it’s not like we’re not serving honorably either. Just my thought.

    • Diane Williams December 6, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      My comment to you is, “Wow,” so if someone did not retire like yourself, then we should not be honored for our service? As long as you served and were Honorably Discharged, then you should be honored for your service, despite the amount of years you served. What would make you anymore special? we all served with some staying in longer and some not for perhaps other reasons; however, they should not be shamed and considered not to be honored for their service.

    • T W December 12, 2019 at 7:57 am

      Retirees are honored once a month with their retirement checks.

    • JB December 24, 2019 at 3:03 am

      No I don’t go along with your comments…retirees get a monthly retirement pay and Tricare because they chose to stay in for 20 years or more. Should you be thought of as less because you got out and pursued other avenues? These are benefits that should had been in place decades before now.

  49. John Whalen December 6, 2019 at 4:58 am

    People asking about OCONUS I know in South Korea it will be OK.
    Anyplace retirees are able to shop you will have access.
    Part of the new law:

    1065. Use of commissary stores and MWR facilities: certain
    veterans and caregivers for veterans
    ‘‘(a) ELIGIBILITY OF VETERANS AWARDED THE PURPLE HEART.—
    A veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart 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.
    ‘‘(b) ELIGIBILITY OF VETERANS WHO ARE MEDAL OF HONOR
    RECIPIENTS.—A veteran who is a Medal of Honor recipient 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.
    ‘‘(c) ELIGIBILITY OF VETERANS WHO ARE FORMER PRISONERS
    OF WAR.—A veteran who is a former prisoner of war 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.
    ‘‘(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.
    ‘‘(e) ELIGIBILITY OF CAREGIVERS FOR VETERANS.—A caregiver
    or family caregiver 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.
    ‘‘(f) USER FEE AUTHORITY.—(1) The Secretary of Defense shall
    prescribe regulations that impose a user fee on individuals who
    are eligible solely under this section to purchase merchandise at
    a commissary store or MWR retail facility.

    • Ken Reeves December 14, 2019 at 2:34 pm

      Regards paragraph (d) – I am an honorably discharged vet with a service connected disability. Since I am being treated by a non-VA doctor I am not enrolled the VA health system and my care is paid for by non-VA insurance. A couple of years ago the VA started issuing a new Veterans Identification Card so the thousands of people out there in the same situation had proper identification for discounts from stores, etc. Why is this card not being updated to include “SERVICE CONNECTED” so it can be used for this additional access? I am sure that there are thousands of guys out there in the same situation.

  50. Mark December 6, 2019 at 4:09 am

    This is for those who keep asking this (unintelligent) question after this info was posted in the article:

    Q: Can I bring a spouse/friend/guest?

    A. Yes, but all guests must go through the required vetting at the visitor control center and must remain with the sponsor at all times.

    Veterans and caregivers should know that while they can bring guests onto the installation and into the facilities, those guests will have to stop at visitor control and go through the required access steps, which includes providing acceptable proof of identity (e.g., REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or U.S. passport) and undergoing a quick basic background check. If the guest shows up without the proper ID, they will not be able to accompany the veteran or caregiver onto the installation.

    Q. Does this includes bases overseas?

    A. It includes installations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the participating U.S. territories and possessions. Access at installations overseas in foreign countries is subject to status of forces agreements, international laws, and other agreements with host countries. SO, FOR NOW THE ANSWER IS NOT ALL INSTALLATIONS OVERSEAS WILL HONOR THIS PRIVILEGE!!!

    Q. Does this include Class Six, gyms, golf courses?

    A. Yes to Class Six, no to gyms, yes to golf 

  51. rafael melendez December 6, 2019 at 12:17 am

    which is the minimum % for a service connected to obtain this privilege, or the veteran have to have 100% compensation

    • R.Nunez December 6, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Having a “Service Connected” injury is what makes this available to you. Whether it’s 0% or 100%, your still allowed this benefit.

    • Roger chevrette December 9, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      0% service connected qualifies

  52. Lee Ewert December 6, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Vets need transportation not silly cards.

  53. Brenda L McNeese December 5, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    This is sensational news. I tried to go on a base one time because l thought we already had this privilege. Got embarrassed. Had to pull out of line and u-turn it off the base.

  54. Eric Hughes December 5, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    People are going to be mad at me for this, but this new policy sucks. I served 20 years and base privileges were an entitlement I earned through retirement. Giving everyone who served with a rating base privileges takes away from what I earned. You want base privileges do 20 years. I wonder if this was done to bring in more business to base. Anyway, I’m disappointed with this new policy.

    • KN Klein December 6, 2019 at 7:59 am

      Navy Seal who served 14 years and 364 days, was injured in Afghanistan seriously with head injury. He did several tours in the Middle East and is fluent in Farsi, and Tagalog for his embedded tours in the Philippines. Navy would not give him the one extra day he needed for retirement. This man served his country under the most adverse conditions and sacrificed more than just his blood, sweat and tears. His father (also a Navy veteran) died while he was serving his country. His 2 grandfathers, one grandmother, both parents, and several uncles served in the US military.
      Please don’t be “disappointed” with this policy. Many, many veterans made sacrifices regardless of years served.

      • Timothy Brown December 6, 2019 at 10:01 am

        Couldn’t agree with you more!
        What will happen when the disabled homeless vets start pan handling, setting up tent cities. Refuse to leave the base ect.
        Has base Security received training on dealing with drug addicted, mentally ill homeless disabled VETS that refuse to leave the facility?

        • Elaine P. Richardson December 6, 2019 at 11:06 am

          To KN Klein. Absolutely. Some retirees have not sacrificed as much as others/Vets who had served shorter terms…We ALL served and “honorably” need to be the only criteria. As a retiree, I have no problem with benefits to Vets.

        • Randall December 12, 2019 at 8:07 pm

          are you serious?

    • Papa H. USAF disable veteran December 6, 2019 at 9:25 am

      I was hurt and was discharged. I fought to stay in and retrain but the ruling of 5 officers said no. So I did not have the chance to do 20 years. So you are saying you are better than those of us who were discharged due to our being hurt. Glad you had a long and safe time in the military.

    • Theresa Reynolds December 10, 2019 at 3:06 pm

      I am very disappointed in my fellow retired Vets. Mr. Eric Hughes, if you only retired to keep your commissary/Exchange benefits, that would explain your comment. As a retired vet, this should be for all honorable Vets, period. I retired for a pension personally, like most realistic people. I don’t really shop at the exchanges because I have found cheaper prices as most companies price match.

    • JB December 24, 2019 at 3:11 am

      It’s because the commissary is losing money to the stores on the outside of the base

  55. L. Hamilton December 5, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    Anyone that’s enrolled in the VA Health System, but, does not have a card, needs to get there card immediately, it’s a new method of tracking all veterans now, they the Gov’t want to keep an accurate count of how many Vets are out of circulation/underground etc.. Upon getting the card you should be able to have access to all military facilities/benefits.

    • Anita Osborn December 12, 2019 at 2:38 am

      Just having a VA healthcare card doesn’t make you qualify for these benefits. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED).for you to be eligible for base privileges, etc.

  56. Derik Danes December 5, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    The sense of entitlement is overwhelming here..you were lucky enough to leave the military with your health…enjoy it!

  57. Kim J Stone December 5, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I am a 30 year retired CSM, In the late 30’s the Veterans Hospital were set up for Retired Military, and those that were injured while on active duty. Those veterans that did their two or three years and went back to their families and friends were not authorized these privileges! Most veterans lived on a substandard pay, civilians workforce made two or three times the money military received for the same work, civilians did not have to pick up and move every few years relocating their families. Those that sacrificed their lives and families, to serve and protect our Great Nation were awarded these privileges. In the mid 90’s there were not enough veterans utilizing these VA hospitals and there was a push to close many facilities, Someone made a decision to allow anyone with an honorable discharge access to VA health care system, utilizing a co-pay amount, depending on your yearly income. Then Obama care came to be, the veterans healthcare system was swamped by people taking advantage of VA Hospital. Now the retired of injured veterans who were previously authorized the healthcare are having to wait for treatment because the health system is overwhelmed with new patients, Big failure! Now another dumb change, allowing anyone with a Honorable discharge access to our military facilities is another big mistake! All military facilities are tax exempt, there will be a lot of resale (Black Marketing) of items purchased on base. Lifers sacrifice family and friends spending years away from loved ones. not counting the years spent in combat. I personally spent twenty three (23) years over seas. These are some of the sacrifices retired veterans do to earn these privileges. Why should they be given to non retired individuals?

    • KN Klein December 6, 2019 at 8:31 am

      Again, please remember those who sacrificed so much, were riffed at 18 years served, or were afflicted with PTSD, who lost marriages, who worked 84-96+ grueling hours/week for 8 years in the Army (equivalent to 16 years for a civilian) plus 4 years reserves, etc. Or the injured Navy Seal mentioned above whose injuries and related issues prevented a 20 year career…and someone higher up in command literally discharged him one day before he would have met retirement criteria.
      Suggestions: 1. Full retirees and disabled vets SHOULD be given TOP priority for apptmts.
      2. Your insight regarding black marketing is valid. State and federal taxes could be charged for non-retirees non-disabled; however that could be difficult to implement and possibly more costly and onerous to administer. You have a very good point. Possibly a set amount, example 10% could be added for non-retired/non-disabled veterans. This could then go back to funding services particularly for disabled vets.
      3. Maybe a special checkout for retirees/disabled making purchases if an area is crowded or there are long lines. Possibly a max dollar amount per month which would cap the newly eligible folks; to prevent misuse of the system.

      • Samuel smith December 6, 2019 at 10:54 am

        Something flakey here. A service member who is wounded, and forcibly retired because of injuries, wouldn’t be summarily discharged. He/she would be medically retired. Big difference there. And no officer or panel can “give” a dash of service. No process to allow that. It’s bad enough that we will now allow non-serving/retired service members at exchanges, gyms, etc. Those facilities are over-stretched as it is. No facility can absorb the massive impact if everyone decided to use them. Today, it is veery difficult to use things like auto shops and especially campgrounds. Add a huge influx, and today’s authorized users are screwed. I respect all veterans, but this is ridiculous. AAFES and such merely want to increase profits….which is sensible. But the impact will be like when USAA insurance opened to enlisted and just relatives of service members. Service will be impacted for everyone.

        • Brian Heim December 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm

          Good point on USAA, thought I was the only one that noticed. Used to love them but had to switch to progressive actually.

        • Donald Guerriero December 8, 2019 at 3:17 am

          As far as I can see, the new regulations are not allowing every veteran to have access. They must be classified as having a service connected disability. There is nothing funny about being disabled. Also, there were a few comments about veterans using VA hospitals. That’s only in very restricted ways, not something every veteran can take advantage of. Finally, others are too incensed about this benefit for an additional group of service members and veterans. Frankly, with all the online sales places like Amazon, Cot o and Walmart, finding and driving on to a military installation for shopping isn’t much of a benefit to most veterans.

      • Jack Smith December 11, 2019 at 4:02 am

        Dear CSM You are wrong and you respect your fellow vets. So don’t thick you for better than the rest of us that did not do 20 years

    • Papa H. USAF disable veteran December 6, 2019 at 9:33 am

      how about those of us who were hurt while serving our country and not given the chance to do the 20 or more years? Or are we to be just under your foot as dirt? You talk like you are better than those of us that got hurt.

    • Papa H. USAF disable veteran December 6, 2019 at 9:37 am

      Kim Stone: Thank you for your service. I was hurt and was discharged. I fought to stay in and retrain but the ruling of 5 officers said no. So I did not have the chance to do 20 years. So you are saying you are better than those of us who were discharged due to our being hurt. Glad you had a long and safe time in the military.

    • Jack December 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      So what you’re saying is people that served longer deserve more privileges than those who haven’t. A regular old grunt could hit an IED causing life altering brain injury’s in his first year; and you say he’s not deserving because he didn’t do 20 years. F*** YOU. Come on man you should be wiser by now. Think about it, each members situation is different but there must be a minimum qualification and a Service connected disability is a good one. Some served only a few years but have sacrificed more than all your years. It could be reversed also I recognize. Regardless if someone served honorably and was injured due to their service that member deserves benefits. End of story!!!

    • John Barry Dreher December 9, 2019 at 10:01 pm

      My nephew is ready to go golfing. He only served 1 month in Navy bootcamp, hurt his leg, and got an honorable discharge. The VA gave him 0% service connected and he got his VHIC. He said that when he goes golfing in 2020, a retired Admiral has to wait in line behind him and can’t golf if he got last spot and if he uses hotel lodging and gets the last room, Admiral has to sleep in his car. We laughed a lot. Now all sc veterans with just a month served are equal to retired officers. I bet that soon all sc can fly free Space A. Bye, see y’all at the commissary.

      • Bryan Walrath December 13, 2019 at 8:47 pm

        That’s the dumbest comment I’ve read on here so far. If you think that your nephew or any other vet who is allowed these new privileges will take precedence over an active duty vet or retire of any rank you’re not that damn intelligent.

    • Mr. Greatful December 11, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      In countless cases the only reason one person was able to retire and another left service prior to retirement or lies dead in the ground is dumb luck. There should be some privilege, and that privilege should be extended to all those in Active Duty, because they may not come home tomorrow.

      ALL others to the back of the line.

  58. Timothy Brown December 5, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Only Disabled veterans with a service connected disability 0 TO 90 percent. Honorably discharged veterans ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THIS PROGRAM..

  59. Leo December 5, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    I served as an MP for 10 years. My K9 partner got service connected for having ticks and has a VA Vet (veterinarian) Services card. Can I shop with my K9?

  60. bill scott December 5, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    I read through the questions and if they had comprehend the intro text the answers world of been answered.
    My service connected disability is 10% and will use the on base facilities. The late John McFall added our new benefits
    into the defense appropriation bill so thank him for leaving a legacy.
    I have said for years that vets need these added benefits and will increase the sales in Commentary and exchange etc.
    Being a retired civil service employee get to use the MILITARY VACATION CLUB and have a retired base pass.

  61. Dwight Coleman December 5, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Once again most Vets are on the outside looking in. We served at a great cost and some gave more than others and we honor them but we’re all honorably discharged Vets. Don’t leave doing the right thing for all Vets to the civilian business community. We need their help but we are yours. We followed our leaders and lead with honor for our country. As a Vet with base access and only the standard issue Vet ID, I would think much more could be done for all honorably discharge Vets.

    • JB December 24, 2019 at 3:20 am

      All honorably/ under honorable conditions vets can get these benefits but you have to file a disability claim in which case you will be giving a rating of 0-90% with service connected, former pow, or purple heart printed on the card

  62. Cyrus December 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    What other medals qualifies for this benefit besides purple heart and Medal of Honor? Since these two medals were the only examples, is there a list somewhere of all qualified medals for this benefit?

  63. Walter Orellana December 5, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Any veteran that served honorably should have access to commissary bx what ever store on base…I was in the infantry went to battle didn’t get wounded thank god didn’t get a medal vid honor and did not get captured by the enemy I did my service and would do it again if allowed why not allow m to shop on base…

  64. Richard D. Rendon December 5, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    i did not see anywhere that we could use hotel inside base can we

  65. Bruce Costs December 5, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    I’m confused… and didn’t read through all the comments but, at this time is the benefit only extended to PH and 100% SC vets?

    • Errol Britten December 6, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      Purple Hearts, Former POWs, and vets with service connected disabilities (VHIC must state one of these). Medal of Honor recipients and retirees already had this privilege.

  66. Selwyn E. Garner December 5, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    I’ve been trying to get my AF medical records for quite sometime now. I went to the VA and the VA says we don’t have them and to go to St. Louis….St. Louis says no we don’t have them and to go back to the VA…..and that’s where I’m stuck in the mud. I separated from the AF in 1984. Any suggestions or advice…..

    • Eric Dorsey December 6, 2019 at 8:29 am

      Work with a Veteran organization like DAV and they may be able to help with this.

      • Stan Small December 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm

        I served from 1959 to 1967. Assigned a 0% disability by the VA in 1963. Continued to be blown off by the VA until 2015 when I contacted my U.S. Congressman (Dan Webster (R) FL) who was able to mysteriously locate my missing service/medical records & was finally assigned a 10% service connected disability. Put your representatives & senators to work for you instead of them wasting our money & their time being unproductive in DC.

    • KN Klein December 6, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Try your local Veteran representative in your community. The one in Coldwater, Michigan has been tremendously helpful.
      Records may exist in obscure places. The VA and St. Louis could not find any record of a one week hospitalization in Landstuhl Germany, but there was an entry in an outpatient progress note that showed that one medication was refilled later related to that diagnosis.
      I would put your concerns in writing, and persist in the search. Possibly check again if it has been awhile since you tried.
      If there happen to be any medications related to your diagnosis, any notation that it was prescribed while in the military could get the ball rolling.

    • Papa H. USAF disable veteran December 6, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Selwyn Garner: I got discharged in 1985 after being hurt. My records are also gone, and according to a letter I got back around 1991, there is a national search looking for my records (LOL). Still do not have them. Keep bugging everyone you can and maybe (I hope they do) they will find them. Good luck and Thank You for your service.

      • MICHAEL O'CONNOR December 6, 2019 at 7:11 pm

        I was drafted then did another 14 yrs in the reserves. last time I went to re-up in ’85 they couldn’t find my records, either. (2) congressional investigations and 1 senatorial inquiry (McCain) later…nothing.
        Finally, (5) yrs ago they determined that some other (unknown) federal agency requested my records, as I had been telling them all along, and they haven’t been seen since. Fortunately, my DD-214 was all I needed for eligibility.

    • Ronald E Nesler December 7, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      Good luck! I was US Amy 1967 to 1975 with Vietnam service 1970 and 1971. In 1991, without keeping copies, St Louis Records Center sent the ORIGINALS of my eight years of Army medical records to the Albuquerque, New Mexico VARO. The VARO acknowledged receiving the records, but they have never been seen again. Despite decades of Congressional complaints, nobody at VA will even talk about what happened to my records. The VA is a crime syndicate

  67. George Conklin December 5, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Common people, read the article!
    NOW read it again.
    See there now all your questions are answered.

    • KN Klein December 6, 2019 at 8:52 am

      “Common people”? If someone has a comprehension problem, you are not superior to them. Some veterans with head injuries and/or PTSD deserve your respect, even if they may not fully comprehend what they read as well as you do.
      There is no harm asking a question, even if it is repetitive or redundant. Are you truly that invested in correcting “common” people? You certainly seem to feel that way. Let the questions happen, the more the merrier!

      • MICHAEL O'CONNOR December 6, 2019 at 7:17 pm

        uh duh, KN; he meant c’mon (lol)

  68. James A Bish December 5, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    I already have a CAC for base access as a DoD employee. Do I need a VHIC to shop in person? I already have online access

    • JB December 24, 2019 at 3:21 am

      Yers you will need the VHIC with one of the 3 identifiers printed on the front of the card

  69. Charlene Perry December 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    If you were awarded 0%, it will say “Service Connected” on the VHIC. 0% means that you have a service related condition, but the VA doesn’t consider it to be compensatible with a monthly disability check, You can still treatment at a VA facility. For instance hearing loss might be rated at 0% which means the VA will provide you with hearing aids.

  70. Charley December 5, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    From HUNDREDS of comments you came of with 3 questions??…… and use of the gym or golf course made that list? Man it would seem that 24 hr fitness and the local Country Club are going to see a plunge in their bottom line for 2020!!

  71. Jude chang December 5, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Do you have to be 100% disables to enter the commissary even if you have the card and are service connected?

  72. Mark Wadlow December 5, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Same question, i.e. are the “old” VHIC cards, one with the US flag across it, bar code on the end, and states “Service Connected” under my picture, usable at the bases?

    • james kelley December 10, 2019 at 7:54 am

      same question. my id has flag across with no branch of service identified and “va healthcare enrollee”
      under my picture. I am 40% disabled and receive monthly checks but none of that is reflected on the
      card.
      VA please clarify this new policy.
      Sounds like me and many others need a new updated card.
      Signed
      CONFUSED

  73. John T. Seiffert December 5, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Good info. I have a VHIC card with 80% disabled. You mentioned military golf courses are eligible. Does this include the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO?
    Thank you

  74. Farha Cameron December 5, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    I have a service connected disability and so does my husband. Are we allowed to bring our small children on base with us. There is info on this article but I says nothing about dependants. Children Dont have i.d.

    • Brian Heim December 6, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      There’s no way they would make you leave your children at the gate.

  75. Tommy H December 5, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    I have a VA medical card due to being exposed to chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water supply. That seems service connected. The VA is paying the out-of-pocket for my daughter’s cancer treatments.

  76. Evelyn Ruppel December 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Does this benefit includes staying at Military campsites … FamCamp?
    That would be a useful benefit!

    • JB December 24, 2019 at 3:31 am

      Contact MWR on March AFB

  77. Mark Alan Auld December 5, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    I had a fellow soldier who in a drunken rage punched a window. He damaged some nerves in his hand and lost some mobility to his ring finger and pinky. He is now service connected I believe 10 % . He did 8 mos service before receiving a general discharged (unable to adapt).
    I did 20 years, honorable discharge. 12 surgeries while in, also 2 deployments. I now share the same benefits minus TRICARE as everyone? Time, quality of service or even completing your first enlistment means nothing? So now the quality of my benefits goes down.
    Feel free to jump on my a$$ for my opinion. I don’t care I will not reply said all I need to say.

  78. Mark Alan Auld December 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    I had a fellow soldier who in a drunken rage punched a window. He damaged some nerves in his hand and lost some mobility to his ring finger and pinky. He is now service connected I believe 10 % . He did 8 mos service before receiving a general discharged (unable to adapt).
    I did 20 years, honorable discharge. 12 surgeries while in, also 2 deployments. I now share the same benefits minus TRICARE as everyone? Time, quality of service or even completing your first enlistment means nothing? So now the quality of my benefits goes down.
    Feel free to jump on my a$$ for my opinion. I don’t care I will not reply said all I need to say.

    • Eddie December 6, 2019 at 8:12 am

      I am with you. This new law is a slap in the face to all active duty and retirees. The commissary has enough shortages already. Now we add to the customer base.

      • MICHAEL O'CONNOR December 6, 2019 at 7:26 pm

        re-up, and buy a brand new car…
        re-up, and show ’em how (disgruntled) you are.
        re-up, I’d rather throw up…

      • You selfish pricks December 6, 2019 at 11:22 pm

        Wow, what a horrible feeling it must be to have to share your precious f****ng commissary and px with some sorry piece of s**t small time veterans, huh? That’s gotta be almost as bad as having to put up with seeing those sorry part time Reservists like myself walking around on post like they have actually earned the right to be there, lol. Kiss my a**.

  79. Betty Dixon December 5, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    This should have happened years ago!

    • CPL Phil Morris, December 8, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      Sad / selfish statement.

  80. Kenneth Hanson December 5, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    We in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. When entering our zip code at
    https://www.commissaries.com/shopping/store-locations/find-a-store
    we were given Camp Pendleton as our nearest commissary at:
    Bldg 20850 Vandergrift Blvd., Camp Pendleton MCB, CA 92055-5212

    This is a 12 to 24 hour round trip drive from where we live. Not Good!

    Los Angeles AFB is a two to three hour drive depending on the traffic.

    Is there any military commissary near Van Nuys or Burbank, California?

    • Gregory Potts December 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm

      March Air Reserve bade has a decent size commissary and a small BX — both in riverside CA

    • PK December 6, 2019 at 12:45 am

      DoD base overseas should be included. We have veterans there aswell.

    • Stephen Brenot December 6, 2019 at 1:51 am

      I lived in Chatsworth, which is in the northwest portion of the San Fernando Valley a number of years ago and I am aware that things do change but I also know for a fact that the Navy has a test facility and a Naval Air Station in the Oxnard/Ventura area and the Air Force has Edwards Air Force base located in the Riverside area. I also believe that there are a couple Air Force facilities in the Palmdale area but these might be secret high-security test facilities. In addition, if you drove a little further northeast to the China Lake Naval Weapons Center located in China Lake California. Be sure to stop to eat at the Golden Frog restaurant if you visit this Naval base and town. The main Air Force Command Center is located close to LAX but I would call each of these and Google them. Oh, Van Nuys Air National Guard station at Van Nuys offers various services such as issuing Veteran IDs and offering military veteran discounts on all sorts of things, including travel.
      Good Luck,
      Steve Brenot

    • Diane Williams December 6, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      The last time I checked, driving from the San Fernando Valley to Oceanside aka Camp Pendleton is not a 12 to 24 hour roundtrip. I live outside the base and yes, it would take a couple of hours, but that is all – so at the most you might have a 5 hour round trip, make it a day of fun going and coming, but again it is not 12 to 24 hours round trip unless you decide to stay in a hotel, then of course, but you might want to check your Google Maps again.

    • Frank eala December 7, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      If your getting the benefits, then use them. I used to live in camp Pendleton and drove to van nuys every weekened for liberty. Are you taking a horse carriage to say that it takes 12-24 hrs HAHAHAHA to say the least i would understand 3 hrs max. Stop complaining use the benefit and live life. What a fu@%&^ shame…

  81. William Carter December 5, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Will the access to MWR include the ability to purchase discounted tickets?

    • Adam Urbach December 5, 2019 at 5:22 pm

      I can’t answer your question, but Vet Tix is a source for discounted tickets for veterans.

    • R.Nunez December 6, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      Short answer is YES!

  82. jeffrey thomas December 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    This assess has nothing to do with the current administration or the VA fighting for the rights of non-retired veterans. It has to do with money. With Walmart, Target, Publix and big box stores on every corner the military commissary is losing money and they are expanding usage. The allure of shopping at commissaries is not as it was too much competition other places. The only reason I shop there is because I work close to one. On the weekend or holidays I go to Walmart like everyone else. I spent over 20 years in the Navy so I have had assess for 45 years.

    • Keith Baumback December 5, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      Your message is not at all clear. Are touting having had the privilege of using on base facilities for 40 years or are you saying veterans should be using public stores like Walmart instead? Money spent in on-base facilities generates money for the MWR services which some services stopped funding out of their DOD budget buckets about 35 years ago. Those MWR funds are needed and valued by the existing service personnel. Money makes the world go round and in this regard you can choose to spend your money when and if you want to spend it. You can look at it as a money issue, but the former members who live near to the more remote basis may find this offer very worthwhile. The constructive, positive view would be that this benefit is better than no benefit. It’s a win-win.

  83. Cathy Jimerson December 5, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    My husband is 100% disabled vet and was medically retired from Vietnam. He has a permanent ID card since Vietnam. We were full time RVers for 7 years and stayed mostly at Military RV Parks. This addition and inclusion of new people who are able to obtain ID cards and use the services on bases is gonna REALLY affect availability at Military RV Parks. It was already almost impossible to get RV spaces at some of them. This doesn’t affect us because we no longer RV but I feel bad for those who still do unless the bases are going to work on enlarging the RV parks to accommodate more people and I can hardly see THAT happening.

    • Darlene Pittman December 6, 2019 at 6:04 am

      My late husband was 100 percent totally disabled service connected due to PANCREATIC CANCER!! Died in 1998 at age 41 I didn’t remarry until 2015. I have all my benefits EXCEPT my ID card. I have a ChampVa card for my health coverage.I loved shopping the commissary and was there two three times a week. I was devastated when they made me give it up in 2015. In 1998 I was told if I remarried I would be allowed to keep it due to my late husbands 100 percent service connected disability. When I married my current husband who is at 90 percent (still fighting for his 100 percent). has already said he’s not using it!! Not allowing the spouse to have Commissary privileges UNLESS he is present is going to deeply affect Commissary sales and the Exchange with your decision as to how many will actually use the commissary. NOT allowing us an VHIC card for commissary is just plain stupid. Whoever made this rule is not thinking smart! Must have been a man to make this rule!!

  84. MiChelle December 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

    I found this on a clearer blog (https://vaww.blogstest.va.gov/VAntage/67974/commissary-military-service-exchange-mwr-access-extended-veterans-beginning-january/):

    Who is eligible Jan. 1, 2020?
    Veterans
    Purple Heart recipients
    former prisoners of war
    Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings

    Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are already eligible under existing DOD policy.

    Caregivers
    On Jan. 1, individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran under the PCAFC will be eligible for these privileges.
    For information about primary family caregivers in the PCAFC, visit https://www.caregiver.va.gov/.

  85. A Rey December 5, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Mark,

    I spoke to VA health care person who clarified a couple of points in the article. Having a VHIC alone is insufficient for base access on Jan 1. It must list a priority category. So a Category 8 VHIC card holder would not have access according to this employee. He did confirm access to online services, and one additional one not in your blog: shopvcs.va.gov

    • Tom D December 7, 2019 at 4:52 am

      Question- I’m 80% disabled, and enrolled in VA- my card doesnt list a category or say “service connected”- am I to get a new card?

  86. WIlliam DeCamp December 5, 2019 at 11:15 am

    Total complete BS! All Veterans should have access not just those fortunate enough to get through bureaucratic red tape of getting a service connected disability. Serve 10 years active, Honorably discharged and still don’t qualify for this ID card and now I’m denied for income level exceeding the max allowed, just more bureaucratic BS. Thanks VA

    • Samuel Covelli December 5, 2019 at 12:44 pm

      I agree totally, this policy is discriminatory on its face and an insult to all veterans. Purple Hearts and other awards were handed out very suspiciously in a number of cases I witnessed.

      • Ben L. Barker December 5, 2019 at 4:39 pm

        I totally agree with your statement. My income also is above the $75K annual limit so I’m denied the V.A. Health Care and other privileges. I served 8.5 years in the Air Force, Honorably Discharged and when I got out a whole host of “privileges” had been changed. When I joined, I had G.I.Bill for life. That got changed 1 year before I got out. Then I find out because I make more than that allowed income, I was disqualified for V.A. Benefits. I feel our government like to me and others. And to top it off, the Community College of the Air Force said I was never enrolled. Funny, I have two transcripts, which are way shorter than my original one as there was a fire and my original one got destroyed. So I think no problem, the CCAF will have it. So when I applied for it years later, I got this letter saying “How dare you as you were never in the A.F.! ” But they ended up sending me a transcript with minimum credits, not the Associated Degree I had with my original. Then when I asked them about it later, they said I was never enrolled. Go figure.

    • Rick Belleville December 5, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      William, I’m with you. This is BS. This should definitely be extended to at least all VFWs that were fortunate enough not to get a Purple Heart or MOH. But, it should be extended to all who served, regardless of where or when. At least give out specially marked cards just for the purposes of using the Commissary and not for medical purposes.

      • John Bybee December 5, 2019 at 2:40 pm

        I’m a Gulf War Vet with VHIC card. I have no service connected. Am I eligible?

        • Louie Bassi December 5, 2019 at 4:08 pm

          According to the info above, no. The VHIC card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED).

    • Rick Iseminger December 5, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      I agree. I have a dd-214, I have a choiceva card, I’ve been denied benefits for the va so I won’t be able to get a card. It’s damn sad that my own government doesn’t recognize my veteran status as an honerably discharged. So this does nothing for me, thank you very much Congress of the 80’s to make my uniform, honor, and my code less than what it should be.

    • Luis Cano December 5, 2019 at 2:47 pm

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

    • pat ming December 5, 2019 at 11:23 pm

      I got out of the military in 1973. I have an honorable discharge and finally qualified for 100% disability 10 years ago. Perhaps that does not mean much to some of you, but I would have much rather did my 20 and retired without the nightmares and hell that I have gone through. It would have saved a lot of pain and I would be done with it. I do not begrudge benefits to anyone who earns them, but now being in a position to hear some cases, I don’t see how jumping down and breaking an ankle while you were under the influence or hanging out in the psych ward because “you think you can convince someone that you deserve disability because a drill instructor didn’t hold your hand and tuck you in at night. So while we are airing it all, air this. Be grateful if you do not qualify for disability, because unless it has changed, you must walk to the gates of hell before you qualify. My brother in law was sent as a remote radio man during Viet Nam he has 50%. My husband was a platoon leader during Viet Nam and had to call artillery on his own position because he was surrounded . He died at 34 with no disability. I have talked to vets that could not drive because they had flash backs, loud noises that sent them to cover, The military for thousands is a job just like any other, office workers, cooks, dental assistants, they never see action and like any other job if you quit before retirement you get nothing. For those that see action, they deserve our respect, there is something about someone that is willing to face fire and risk life to protect what they hold dear. Unless you are in that group then be grateful, show respect to those that were, and stop your whining. Blessed day

      • R.Nunez December 6, 2019 at 12:56 pm

        Thank you, Pat.
        Bless you and your family too.

        • Rita K Levell December 7, 2019 at 12:08 pm

          Pat, there is no change. In 1991 I received a 10% disability rating. In 2006 I submitted an application to have that rating increased. It wasn’t until May of this year my rating was increased to 60%. 13 years, and countless phone calls, hearings and the “oh wait we need additional informations” for it to be approved. In the mean time it took me only 8 months after requesting social security disability to get it approved for the same thing I was discharged for in the Army. Go figure.

      • prks December 6, 2019 at 5:27 pm

        Thank You Pat, my feelings entirely! I’d give back these benefits in a heartbeat to be a whole person again.