available January 1, 2020


Another opportunity to save

Thanks to the passing of bill HR 1292 - Starting Jan. 1st 2020, new access to commissaries and exchanges will be granted to the following personnel:

  • Purple Heart recipients
  • former POWs
  • all service-connected disabled veterans, of all ratings
  • caregivers enrolled in the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program.

Like with many new Government programs there seems to be a lot of confusion as to exactly how this will work. 

I have checked with both the local Air Base here and the VA Regional Office to determine what is require to get on base for these new shoppers. At this time it appears veterans that are service connected can use their  Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). You will need to go to the visitors center at your local military base with this document and  they will  run a vetting process on you to prove your identity. (NOTE: Felons will not gain access to military facilities) You may wish to go  online to eBenefits and print off a veteran status letter which will show you are a service connected veteran.

From the information I could obtain unlike active military no one will be allowed to accompany you on base. Other than certified Caregivers through the VA. For example my son is 100% rated - he can bring a guest along with him. In my instance being service connected, I will not be allowed to bring a guest with me on base.

These folks with newly granted access will have access to revenue-generating Morale, Recreation and Welfare amenities, places such as golf courses, recreation areas, theaters, bowling alleys, campgrounds and lodging facilities that are operated by MWR.

As I understand it there will be sometype of added fee if you use credit or debit card to pay for their groceries, in addition to the 5% surcharge commissary patrons already pay. However, eligible beneficiaries will be able to apply for the Military Star Card. There are no transaction or processing fees associated with this card, since it is an in-house payment method.

You can also avoid fees by paying with cash or check.

As more information becomes available I will update it here.


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