3 Million Set to Gain Access To Military Shopping in 2020
According to an article by Military Times, 3 million more people will gain access to military shopping in 2020. These new customers will be able to shop at the Commissary, the Exchange, and even have access to some MWR programs.
When Will This Happen?
This will start on January 1st, 2020.
Why is This Happening?
This change is happening because of changes made in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA,) which was passed in 2018.
Who Will Now Gain Access?
- All service-connected disabled veterans will now have access. Before, those with a 100% service-connected disability did have access, now that will be open to all veterans with a service-connected disability.
- Purple Heart recipients
- Former POWs
- Primary caregivers of veterans
With these additions, about 3 million more people will have access to these shopping benefits.
What Needs to Be Done to Prepare?
As you can imagine, there will need to be some preparation before this goes into effect. The Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security have been planning for the change for months. They needed to figure out how to get the new customers on post or base since they don’t all have your typical military IDs. They also need to figure out what the impact will be on the stores and make sure that there will be enough products for the new customers.
The Department of Homeland Security has been involved because this change also affects the Coast Guard. Stores near a bigger military veteran population will probably see a bigger change.
Disabled and other eligible veterans will be able to use their Veterans Health ID card. They will start scanning these cards in October and will still need to update technology at the commissary.
Primary Caregivers: What You’ll Need
For primary caregivers, the VA will post a memo to VA.gov in October, to be used for access at the front gate. They will also need to show a driver’s license or other authorized ID. There will later be a caregiver type ID card that can be scanned. The number of caregivers who are eligible for this benefit will also probably be going up in the future.
They will also need to charge a credit card fee at Commissaries for the newly added customers. They will not have to charge a fee when they use the Military Star Card, cash, or check. The fee itself isn’t determined yet.
New Military Shopping Benefits
It is nice to see these military benefits expanded to those who can really benefit from them. This change will help save more veterans and caregivers money and allow them to take part in programs they otherwise haven’t been able to do so before.