Millions More Vets and Caregivers Are About to Get Commissary, Exchange Access

Millions More Vets and Caregivers Are About to Get Commissary, Exchange Access

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and all service-connected disabled veterans, regardless of rating, as well as caregivers enrolled in the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program, will be able to shop at Defense Commissary Agency stores and military exchanges. Julie Mitchell/AAFES The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are gearing up for what will be the largest expansion of patrons to the military commissary system and exchanges in 65 years, making sure that shoppers will be able to get on base and find the shelves fully stocked. Starting Jan. 1, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and all service-connected disabled veterans, regardless of rating, as well as caregivers enrolled in the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program, will be able to shop at Defense Commissary Agency stores and military exchanges. They also will have access to revenue-generating Morale, Recreation and Welfare amenities, such as golf courses, recreation areas, theaters, bowling alleys, campgrounds and lodging facilities that are operated by MWR. Facilities such as fitness centers that receive funding from the Defense Department budget are not included. At commissaries, however, there will be an added cost for new patrons who use a credit or debit card to pay for their groceries, in addition to the 5% surcharge commissary patrons already pay. Related: Key Pentagon Official Endorses Commissary-Exchange Merger DoD officials told Military.com on Wednesday that an estimated 3.5 million new patrons will be eligible to shop. However, after analyzing store locations and their proximity to where veterans live, they expect that slightly more than a quarter of those patrons, or 800,000 people, will take advantage of the benefit. According to Barry Patrick, associate director of MWR and Resale Policy in the Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, the […]

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