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Disabled Veterans Allowed To Shop On Military Installations

By USVCP Staff Writers
July 22, 2019                    


Thousands of veterans have been waiting for a long time, and many begging for the right to shop on military installations.  Well, the moment is finally here and veterans are thrilled.


Starting January 1, 2020, all service-connected disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war (POW) and primary veteran caregivers will be eligible to shop at commissaries and base exchanges at stateside military installations.












Also, all newly eligible veterans and caregivers will be allowed to use certain morale, welfare and recreation activities.


The new installation access privilege also extends to recreation facilities on military installations. As many service-connected veterans and caregivers already know, MWR (Morale, Welfare, Recreation) facilities offer an array of services such as:

  • Installation libraries
  • Outdoor recreation areas (i.e., installation parks, lakes, memorials, etc.)
  • Installation restaurants (i.e., Burger King, McDonald’s, Popeyes, Charlie’s, etc.)
  • Installation golf courses
  • Installation sports & fitness centers
  • Installation bowling centers
  • Installation arts & crafts centers


Not long ago, only veterans rated at 100% service-connected were approved to shop on military installations; now all veterans with service-connected disabilities can shop on military installations.

The issue now becomes; how does a veteran or caregiver gain access to military installations?












How To Get On Base

Supporting officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) have decided the best, easiest, and most reliable way for service-connected veterans to get on military installations is to use some form of identification showing their service-connected status.  Therefore, service-connected veterans must:

  • Use their Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC).  Access guards at the military gate will scan cards allowing access to the installation.
  • Caregivers will gain access to military installations by showing their driver’s license or other forms of ID which shows their dependent status to the veteran.  The VA is currently working on a caregiver-type ID card, which will have scanning swipe technology.  Also, the VA and DoD may implement a policy of having caregivers submit their name and information to a frequently used or local military installation of their choice so that their name appears on an “caregiver access list.”


Using A Credit Card On The Military Installation Will Cost You

Unfortunately, service-connected veterans or caregivers who use credit cards to make purchases at commissaries will have to pay a fee for using it.  To avoid such “service fees,” service-connected veterans and caregivers may consider using cash or a debit card.

News & Updates

Add Comment

Cesar Vargas, 3/1/20

Great news, nevertheless I have the same question as the service member from Hawaii. I was station in Puerto Rico, and recall that we always had the concern about? Is Puerto Rico consider overseas?  This was always an argument because for some things it was but for other it wasn't. School, commissary and Exchange were always on top of the list. Can anyone answer this? Will it be considered overseas for this benefit or not?


R.D. Noel, 12/4/19
I want to thank all who have made it possible for disabled veterans to obtain services on base.


Jeff Duncan, 11/28/19
I have read the law titled "John S. McCain Defense Budget Authorization Act of 2018" it says nothing about CONUS bases. It says all military bases. This is not due to anything from the current president either. This has been in the works for more than 10 years and I have been a part of it. The main reason that it finally has passed is to reduce the cost of the Exchange and Commissary so there would be less need to support it from taxes. The chance of a mad rush as some suggest it not likely as most veterans are not near military bases. If there was a mad rush it would be good for reducing costs to have these facilities. Using a credit card costs any vendor including those on base so if you do not like it then do not shop on base. The reason to have this benefit is to save money for the government not spend more. I am amazed at how some veterans can be so selfish and unawares. The VA and the current president had nothing to do with this new benefit but some members of congress and service organizations did. Thank the right people.












Paul Nicolicchia, 11/23/19
While I agree with the decision to offer commissary and exchange privileges to all service connected veterans from 0 to 100%, in my opinion this change should have been offered at a slower pace.
For example, the first year, all veterans, from 50% to 95% will now have commissary and exchange privileges starting Jan 1, 2020. Then starting Jan 1, 2021, all veterans with 0% to 45% can begin to use the commissary and the exchange.

Unfortunately, having all veterans from 0% -95% now eligible for base privileges, while I can't speak for a base in Ohio, I can speak about Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY. I think it's going to be absolute madness due to all the service connected vets who live in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, and Long Island.











Security officers at the gate will be scanning the VA hospital cards (whatever they?re called) but currently all we need to do is to show the base privilege ID to the security officer at the main gates. What happens when there's a long line of cars waiting to get into Fort Hamilton and the scanned card has a problem. Now what?  OK, everyone back up so your cars so he/she can turn around and leave. What happens when an argument breaks out between the veteran and the security officer? You know the vet is going to be pissed off, especially if he/she has travelled from the Bronx. Now what?
On certain days and times, I'm not sure the parking lot will be able to hold all the extra cars. It could be like trying to find a parking space at the mall on Christmas Eve.  I can go on and on, but I hope I'm wrong about everything I've said. Only time will tell.


David Rossi, 11/2/19
I'm truly grateful.  Thank you to all who made it possible.


Bradley Kealoha, 8/25/19
I am thankful for this opportunity and for the personnel making this possible, but I have one question the word "state side" is hawaii included?


George Romano, 8/20/19
Thanks for giving disabled vets. Access to the military facilities. Great show of support for veterans.


Kenneth Cotton, 7/26/19

I am thankful for the opportunity to have access to any military installation to shop and use some of the services that exist on the installations Thanks to AFEES and the Veterans Administration for this opportunity to exist for all veterans.


Sam Jones, 7/26/19
Thank you for letting DAV with less than 100% to shop on base.


George Terminesi, 7/26/19
Not thrilled about the credit card policy, but if prices are good this isn't a problem. Also, immediate access would be great.


Joseph Lewis, 7/24/19
I am very pleased that finally we service connect veterans can utilize the array of facilities on military installations. I will cherish this opportunity for the rest of my life. THANKS to all who made this benefit possible.


Thomas Miller, 7/24/19
This is "Great News"...I have 80 percent and still waiting on my IU Claim and my claim of 1 year...will the VA have any VA Personel on Base/Post?


Thomas Talbert, 7/24/19

Of course. The credit card service fee just erased any savings for shopping on base.


Harry Agualo, 7/24/19

IF contractors have CAC with GREEN stripes. Wouldnt it be easier to issue caregivers CAC with PURPLE stripe?


James Holmes, 7/24/19

I see that this is for stateside veterans.Is this also for the veterans overseas?


Ramon L. Reyes, 7/24/19

Thanks to our President Trump. It?s about time that the government and this country give some recognition to the veterans that served to protect this country. We thank the President for all the effort to help the veterans of this country.


Harold Gross, 7/24/19

I am & have been 100% for many years and have I.D. as well, where are these places near me? I live in Florida.