Commissaries offer veterans benefits year-round

  • Published
  • By Misha King

As Veterans Day approaches, many restaurants and stores will offer active duty service members and veterans discounts and other benefits in appreciation for their service. But, the Defense Commissary Agency offers benefits and competitive pricing every day to its patrons, including veterans.

According to DeCA’s website, the Department of Defense expanded commissary shopping privileges to include several categories of veterans and eligible caregivers in the U.S. as of January 2020. This change was part of the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, included in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. Access was expanded to include:

  • Veterans with any service-connected disability
  • Purple Heart recipients
  • Former Prisoners of war
  • 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

To shop at the commissary, qualified patrons must either have a valid DOD-issued military or family member identification card (active duty, Guard and Reserve members, military retirees, Medal of Honor recipients, 100% disabled veterans, and their authorized family members) or a veteran health identification card, VHIC for short. The VHIC must have one of the following designations: service-connected, Medal of Honor, Purple Heart or Former POW. Veterans who are unsure of their eligibility or who need to obtain a VHIC can visit the Department of Veterans Affairs Eligibility for VA health care webpage for more information.

As part of DOD’s “Taking Care of Service Members and Families” initiative to bolster the economic security and stability of the military community, DeCA recently slashed prices on most commissary grocery items. These price reductions target food staples such as bread, eggs, milk and much more.

In addition to increasing its list of eligible patrons, DeCA further boosted patron benefits by expanding both the hours of operations and online shopping and curbside pickup, which now offers online payment options at all stores.

Another major recently implemented benefit is the CLICK2GO delivery program. Keith Desbois, DeCA’s West and Pacific areas public affairs specialist, said DeCA completed a test pilot program in August at eight locations.

“Those locations will continue to provide delivery, and we’re working to expand the program at additional commissaries as we work through the legal and contractual processes,” said Desbois. “It’s an ongoing effort and we hope to make CLICK2GO a household name for our patrons in the near future.”