New year brings big changes to commissaries

Photo credit Defense Commissary Agency

Starting Jan. 1, all service-connected disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and primary veteran caregivers will be able to shop at commissaries throughout the continental United States.

Beginning New Year’s Day, access to commissaries, morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR), and military exchanges will be extended to around 3 million customers who make up the four groups, thanks to a change announced by the Defense Department in November. This is the largest eligible shopper expansion in six decades.

 "These new privileges recognize the service and sacrifice of these veterans and those that care for them," A.T. Johnston, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy, said in November.

The expansion was part of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.  Veterans who are not enrolled or are not eligible to enroll in VA healthcare are not eligible for the additional benefit.

Defense Department officials have said that disabled and other eligible veterans will use their veterans' health ID card to access the facilities. To determine eligibility, visit a local VA medical facility; call 1-877-227 8387 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., Eastern time or apply online at

For more information regarding expanded access to military commissaries, visit Military One Source.

All service-connected disabled veterans can now shop at commissaries

3 million caregivers, wounded warriors will soon get to shop at commissaries 

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