Big news for all veterans with service-connected disabilities! Starting January 1st, 2020, all service-connected disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and primary veteran caregivers will be able to access commissaries and exchanges.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act forged the way for these policy changes, and an amendment to the national defense budget followed. Previously, the only group approved for these shopping benefits were veterans with 100 percent service-connected disabilities. Now the fully-stocked commissaries and exchanges are accessible to all service-connected disabled veterans. This is a major increase in aid for veterans across the United States, providing 3 million additional veterans with access to shopping benefits.
This policy change will go down in history as the “largest patronage expansion in more than 60 years” according to Virginia Penrod, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs.
Penrod said that experts are currently analyzing VA statistics to determine the number of new shoppers by geographic location, as well as trends in what products are needed most. This critical planning will ensure that when those additional 3 million veterans hit the shops, the products they need won’t be sold out.
Although these new qualifications will help millions more, there are still so many veterans in need of assistance who do not meet the criteria for the shopping benefits. HonorBound is committed to extending our services to those who might “fall through the cracks,” even with these new benefits.
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If you’d like to read more about these new benefits, and learn what identification is needed to claim them, check out this article from the Military Times: https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2019/07/22/heres-how-3-million-more-people-will-get-military-shopping-benefits/