Former prisoners of war, Purple Heart recipients, veterans with service-connected disabilities and caregivers for veterans will be able shop at commissaries and exchanges, and use base recreational facilities, under the final version of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill. Expanding the pool of customers is one way to stem the declining revenues experienced by military grocery stores, reports Stars and Stripes. The new privileges will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. DOD first needs to establish a user fee the new population would pay at commissaries to offset any increase in expenses incurred by the stores. Commissaries and exchanges nationwide are expected to see a few hundred thousand more shoppers once the measure takes effect.
Eligibility to shop at exchanges and commissaries now is limited to active-duty troops, members of the National Guard and reserves, military retirees, family members and some veterans.
Photo by Tammy Reed