Department of Defense extends services to veterans

Beginning Jan. 1, Department of Defense commissaries, Exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation facility privileges will be extended to eligible veterans and primary caregivers who have or are eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card.

Currently, DoD commissaries, Exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation facilities are only accessible to active-duty military members, Guard, reservists, military retirees, 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans and their families.

Veterans can take advantage of these benefits in-person if they possess a Veterans Health Identification Card, while eligible primary family caregivers must have an eligibility letter from the Veterans Health Administration Office of Community Care. Veterans must be enrolled in the Veterans Healthcare System to receive an identification card.

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Each VHIC will serve as the veteran’s credentials for base access under the new program as well as continue to be used as identification and as a check-in card for VA appointments. The status of each veteran’s eligibility will appear on the VHIC.

Identification cards also provide increased security for personal information, VA member identifier and a salute to your military service.

Veterans who are not enrolled in the Veterans Administration Healthcare, do not possess a VHIC or are not eligible to be enrolled in the Veterans Administration Healthcare will not have access to DoD and Guard installations for in-person benefits. However, access to the online exchange and American Forces Travel will be available.

Veterans who would like more information about how to enroll in the VA Healthcare system to receive a VHIC can call 1-877-222-VETS (8387), visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll or visit a VA medical facility.

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