Starting Jan. 1, 2020, all service-connected disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and primary veteran caregivers will be eligible to shop at commissaries and exchanges. Federal officials determined earlier this year that veterans would use their Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) in order to get access to DoD and Coast Guard installations, and to shop at commissaries, exchanges and use certain morale, welfare and recreation facilities.

Previously only veterans with 100 percent service-connected disability ratings were authorized shopping and MWR privileges. The new law now allows all those with service-connected disability ratings, including 0 percent, to have those privileges.

During the first visit to the installation, eligible veterans and caregivers must stop at the visitor control center. Depending on the type of installation and the credential presented, the veteran and caregivers may be enrolled for recurring access, so they wouldn’t have to stop at the visitor control center each time they visited in the future. Eligible veterans must bring a driver’s license, Veterans health I.D. card, proof of insurance and vehicle registration when applying at the visitor’s center. To apply, visit the VA healthcare benefits website, call 877-222-8387 or visit your nearest VA health care facility.

FAQ

Q. Where do I get information on locations of commissaries?

A. Click here.

Q. Where do I get information on locations of exchanges?

Those are the Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores, www.shopmyexchange.com and click “Find a store”; Coast Guard Exchange stores, ; Marine Corps Exchange stores, and Navy Exchange stores, https://www.mynavyexchange.com/storelocator/storesearch.jsp.