The Department of Defense is expanding commissary, military exchange, and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) retail privileges on U.S. military installations, as required by the FY2019 Defense Authorization Act. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, access will expand to include all veterans with service-connected disabilities, veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, veterans who are former prisoners of war, and approved individuals designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Program for Family Caregivers. While this expansion will extend eligibility to more than 4.1 million new patrons, the DoD expects little to no impact on current patrons in most locations. There may be some impact in areas with a high cost of living, but the DoD is preparing to accommodate all new patrons. New patrons now eligible by the Act should be aware that the law requires the DoD charge them a small user fee to offset the increased expense incurred by the Department of the Treasury for processing commercial credit or debit cards used for purchases at commissary stores. The DoD is finalizing the details for these new privileges with the VA, Homeland Security and the Treasury. Information will be announced soon regarding installation access and the authentication process for these privileges. For more information, contact Sandra at the Veterans Service Office at 602 Strong Ave on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 3pm, or call 365-3612.
Sandra G. Van Zant,
Veterans County Service Officer