Can All Veterans Use The Commissary Now

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Besedky Team

Can All Veterans Now Access the Commissary? Unveiling the Benefits and Maximizing Your Experience:Can All Veterans Use The Commissary Now?

If you’re a veteran, you may be wondering if you have access to the commissary and all its benefits. Well, the good news is that the answer is a resounding yes! In recent years, there have been significant changes to commissary access policies, opening the doors to all veterans, regardless of their service-connected disability rating. So, whether you’re a retired veteran or someone who served a few years and moved on to a different career, you can now take advantage of the incredible savings and convenience that the commissary offers.

But wait, there’s more! In this blog post, we’ll not only explore the ins and outs of commissary access for veterans, but we’ll also delve into the additional benefits that go beyond just shopping. From discounted travel services to educational resources, the commissary has so much more to offer. So, get ready to maximize your commissary experience and make the most out of this incredible privilege.

Whether you’re a veteran who has never stepped foot in a commissary or someone who has been shopping there for years, this post is for you. We’ll provide you with all the information you need to know to make the most of your commissary visits, including insider tips and tricks to save even more money. So, grab your shopping list and get ready to embark on a commissary adventure like no other.

So, if you’ve ever wondered if all veterans can use the commissary now, wonder no more. Join us as we dive into the world of commissary access and discover the amazing benefits that await you. It’s time to shop smart, save big, and make the most out of your well-deserved commissary privileges. Let’s get started!

Understanding Commissary Access for Veterans

For veterans who have served their country, access to military commissaries is a significant benefit. As of recent changes to eligibility requirements, more veterans than ever can enjoy the savings and options offered by commissary shopping. This is particularly advantageous for veterans with service-connected disabilities, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and certain caregivers. But what exactly does commissary access entail, and who is eligible?

Eligibility for Commissary Access

All veterans with any service-connected disability are now afforded the privilege of using the commissary. This extends to those who have sacrificed and suffered injuries during their service, acknowledging their dedication with a tangible benefit. Similarly, Purple Heart recipients, whose awards are a testament to their bravery and the hardships they endured, are granted access to these facilities.

Former prisoners of war, whose endurance and survival are a testament to their strength, also enjoy this privilege. Recognizing the unique challenges they faced, granting commissary access serves as a gesture of gratitude for their service.

Another group that benefits from these changes are the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. This acknowledgment of the crucial support role these caregivers play ensures they have the resources to continue providing care.

Access Requirements and Identification

For those qualified, access to the commissary requires a valid DoD-issued military or family member identification card. For veterans, a veteran health identification card (VHIC) is also acceptable to enter and shop at the commissary. However, it’s important to note that VA identification cards are not valid for this purpose and cannot be used as proof of eligibility or to grant access to military installations.

If you’re a veteran seeking access but are unsure of your eligibility or the type of identification required, you can contact the VA directly at (800) 827-1000 to get a VA commissary letter. Additionally, you can request a Summary of Benefits Letter to be faxed or mailed to you, which will detail your commissary access rights.

Who Else Can Use the Commissary?

While disabled veterans and other designated groups are now permitted to use PX, Commissary, and MWR facilities, it’s crucial to understand who is not authorized. DoD civilians and DoD contractors on temporary duty status (TDY) are not eligible for commissary privileges. Similarly, DoD civilians not on official duty from the U.S. to overseas locations are not entitled to overseas commissary privileges.

However, there has been an expansion in services for some DoD civilians. Starting May 1, Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilian employees can shop in-store with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service at Edwards AFB. This expansion of access benefits all who serve, past, present, and future, and reflects a growing recognition of the contributions of civilian employees to the military community.

Commissary Benefits Beyond Shopping

Once on base, veterans’ access isn’t limited to just the commissary. They are welcomed to any facility that generates revenue, such as MWR facilities or retail and revenue centers. This includes a variety of entertainment and leisure activities, from bowling alleys to movie theaters, as well as lodging and the use of Enlisted or Officers’ Clubs. Such access provides veterans with a wealth of options to enjoy their time on base and engage with the military community.

Can Civilians Shop at the Commissary?

It’s a common question whether civilians can enter and shop at the commissary. The answer is that commissaries are primarily for the benefit of service members and their families. This exclusive access serves to maintain the integrity of the benefits provided to those who serve or have served, and their direct dependents. While there are some exceptions for civilian employees, as mentioned above, the general policy is that civilian access is greatly restricted to preserve the commissary’s purpose.

Maximizing Your Commissary Experience

For eligible veterans and caregivers, shopping at the commissary can be a rewarding experience. Beyond the savings, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with the military community and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with it. Here are a few tips to make the most of your commissary visits:

  1. Plan Your Shopping Trips: Take advantage of the savings by planning your shopping list ahead of time. Look out for specials and discounts that are often available to commissary patrons.
  2. Understand Sale Cycles: Commissaries typically have a cycle for when items go on sale. By understanding this cycle, you can stock up on essentials when they’re at their lowest prices.
  3. Explore Commissary Brands: The commissary offers its brands that often provide comparable quality to national brands at a fraction of the cost. Don’t hesitate to try them out.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on the commissary’s website or subscribe to newsletters for updates on promotions, coupon deals, and other important information.

With these practices, veterans and their caregivers can significantly enhance their shopping experience at the commissary, ensuring they get the most out of every visit.


The expansion of commissary access to a broader range of veterans and caregivers is a positive step in honoring the service and sacrifice of those who have dedicated themselves to their country. It’s not just about the ability to purchase goods at reduced prices; it’s about upholding a sense of community and providing continued support to those who have given so much. For eligible veterans and caregivers, understanding and utilizing this benefit can lead to substantial savings and a deeper connection with the military community they once served.

By adhering to the eligibility requirements and taking advantage of the resources available, veterans can make the most of their commissary access. It’s one of the many ways in which a grateful nation says “thank you” to its heroes.

FAQ & Common Questions about Veterans’ Access to Commissary

Q: Can all veterans use the commissary now?
A: No, the commissary is exclusively for the benefit of service members and their families.

Q: Can Department of Defense (DoD) civilians shop at the base commissary?
A: Yes, starting May 1, DoD and Coast Guard civilian employees can shop in store with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service at certain bases.

Q: What can veterans use on base?
A: Once on the base, veterans have access to various facilities that generate revenue, such as MWR facilities, retail centers, bowling alleys, movie theaters, lodging, and Enlisted or Officers’ Clubs.

Q: Can I use my VA card at the PX (Post Exchange)?
A: Yes, you can use your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) or a letter from the VA, along with your passport or driver’s license, to shop at the PX.

Q: Do I need to apply for commissary and exchange privileges?
A: No, you don’t need to apply for commissary and exchange privileges, but you will need to have the right kind of ID at checkout.

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