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Expanded Access to Exchanges, Commissaries, & MWR for Veterans

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

As of January 2020, more veterans and caregivers will have eligibility for Military Exchanges, Commissaries, and MWR Recreation Activities.  All you need is your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC).  The Department of Defense is proud to have expanded commissary, exchange and morale, welfare and recreation retail eligibility to:

  1. Purple Heart recipients

  2. Former prisoners of war

  3. All veterans with service-connected disabilities (0-90%)

  4. Individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers

The DoD, VA and the Department of Homeland Security have collaborated to implement Section 1065 of Title 10, United States Code, for those who are eligible for this benefit.  The facilities that are open to newly eligible patrons are:

Those who are 100% Disabled Veterans are already eligible for these benefits with their DD Form 2765, which can be obtained from the nearest RAPIDS ID office, with the proper paperwork (DD-214, Veteran’s Eligibility Letter from the VA, 2 forms of unexpired ID [1 must be photo ID], birth certificate, and social security card).


If you are a newly eligible veteran (or caregiver) who does not currently have any other affiliation with the military services that provide access to installations, you will need to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that will get you access to your privileges.  This is veterans who are eligible solely under Section 1065 of Title 10, United States Code (Purple Heart recipients, former POWs, veterans with 0-90% service connected disability). 


You must obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) from Veterans Affairs to facilitate DoD and Coast Guard installation privilege access, and it must display the eligibility status (“PURPLE HEART”, “FORMER POW”, “SERVICE CONNECTED”). 


Visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic for information and the process.  Only eligible veterans who have been issued a VHIC from VA can present their VHIC to gain entry to DoD and Coast Guard installations, and have access to commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare, and recreation retail activities.


Please click here for FAQ and helpful links on how to take advantage of your benefits. 



*The DOD is required to charge a small fee to new users who are eligible solely under Section 1065 of Title 10, to offset any increased expenses incurred by the U.S. Treasury associated with the use of credit or debit cards for customer purchases at commissary stores. The fee is determined in compliance with card network rules and based on current average costs to the U.S. Treasury for processing these types of cards.


veteran mwr exchanges

This article is shared with you by Militaryliving.com, your premier source for temporary Military Lodging, Military Space-A Air Travel, Military RV Camping and Military Travel information.


Updated 1/17/23

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