JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the Exchange will welcome home disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients and certain caregivers with in-store shopping privileges.
Army & Air Force Exchange Service shopping privileges will expand to all Veterans with service-connected disabilities, veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, veterans who are former prisoners of war and primary family caregivers for veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. In all, 4.1 million Americans will be eligible for the new benefit.
This new privilege was specified in the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, included in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019.The Department of Defense officially announced the expansion Nov. 13.
“It is an honor to welcome our nation’s heroes back to their Exchange,” said Exchange Director and CEO Tom Shull, a Vietnam-era Army veteran. “They fought for us. They sacrificed for us. They deserve this.”
The new patron group will also have access to commissaries and morale, welfare and recreation retail facilities located at U.S. military installations. The Department of Defense advised it is still working through details of the expansion with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. More information regarding installation access and the authentication process will be available soon.
Before the expansion, only veterans with 100% service-connected disabilities could shop in person. Active-duty service members, their dependents and military retirees also have in-store and online privileges.
All honorably discharged veterans can shop the military exchanges online now, through a benefit that was secured in 2017. Since then, veterans have saved more than $6 million in sales tax. Veterans can determine their eligibility to shop online at ShopMyExchange.com/vets.
Veterans who need additional information about the in-store patronage expansion can visit the Veterans section on the Exchange’s Community Hub at https://publicaffairs-sme.com/Community/veterans.