Patronage Expansion for Certain Veterans and Certain Caregivers
Effective 1 January 2020, the Patronage Expansion Directive brings forth new benefits for some veterans along with their caregivers. Certain facilities will be more accessible such as Lodging (on a space-available basis) and to certain MWR Category B activities (i.e. bowling centers, etc.) You can ask for further information by contacting the AFSVC.
The Department of Defense is proud to expand commissary, exchange, and morale, welfare, and recreation retail eligibility to:
- Veterans awarded a Purple Heart
- Veterans who are former prisoners of war
- All veterans with a service-connected disability
- Individuals assessed, approved, and designated as the primary family caregiver of eligible veterans under the Department of Veteran Affairs Pro-gram of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
- DoD common access card (when otherwise eligible)
- DoD uniformed services identification card (when otherwise eligible)
- REAL ID-compliant driver's license issued by a state, territory, possession or the District of Columbia
- REAL ID-compliant non-driver's license issued by a state, territory, possession or the District of Columbia
- Enhanced driver's license issued by a state, territory, possession or the District of Columbia
- U.S. passport or passport card
- Foreign passport bearing an unexpired immigrant or non-immigrant visa or entry stamp
- Federal personal identity verification card (when otherwise eligible)
- Transportation Worker Identification Card
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
While spouses and dependents are not eligible for this benefit, or to make purchases, they may accompany the eligible veteran or caregiver as a guest.
For installation access purposes, guests must present an acceptable credential as proof of identity and pass a basic on-the-spot background check.
These veterans and caregivers will be able to access:
- Military Service Exchanges
- Maxwell & Gunter Bowling Centers
*DoD is required to charge a small fee to new users who are eligible solely under the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, to cover any increase in costs to the U.S. Treasury for processing commercial credit and debit cards.
Veterans will need a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays "PURPLE HEART," "FORMER POW," or "SERVICE CONNECTED" below the photo on the front of the card for installation and benefit access.
Veterans who have a zero percent service-connected disability rating and exceed the VA income threshold, and have been placed in VA Priority Group 8E, may use the Health Eligibility Center (HEC) Form H623A paired with an acceptable identification credential* for installation and benefit access.
Primary Family Caregivers will receive an official letter from the VA Office of Community Care that indicates eligibility for DoD privileges paired with an acceptable credential* (e.g. REAL ID-compliant driver's license) for installation and benefit access.
Upon the first visit to the installation, eligible veterans and caregivers must present their required documentation at the visitor control center.
Security will verify your identity and purpose of visit, then run an on-the-spot back-ground check as they do for all individuals seeking access to DoD installations.
If you pass the background check and the installation has credential enrollment capabilities, your acceptable credential may be enrolled for recurring access, eliminating the need to stop at the visitor control center upon each visit.
VHIC cards are issued to veterans enrolled in VA health care.
Visit: https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility for the VHIC and the application process.