Last year, the National Defense Authorization Act passed, allowing service-disabled veterans, their authorized caregivers, Prisoners of War, and Purple Heart recipients access to base facilities in 2020. There is one small issue to this, however. Some of the above groups do not have appropriate identification to access military bases.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the aforementioned groups will be able to access commissaries, post exchange stores, MWR resources and then some. In order to do so, they will need to show their Veteran Health Identification Card, if they are registered with the VA to receive health care. For caregivers, they will need to have an approved memorandum stating they are the authorized VA caregiver.
The Department of Defense is expecting this will open up approximately 3.5 million new customers to the post facilities, however, only one-eighth of those will actually go on base and utilize these benefits. The DoD is also saying they are expecting minimal impact for grocery shopping and other resources as they are already preparing for high-cost of living locations to take the most advantage of these opened benefits.
They are also showing employees how to identify the different VHICs and memorandums, ensuring they have scanners in place,like they do currently for Common Access Cards. The goal is to allow access to deserving members of the veteran community who have more than paid their debt with their service. Purple Heart recipients, POWs, service-disabled veterans all went above and this allows them access to the same benefits they had while serving.
While many of the veterans will have VHICs, not all of them do nor do they currently enroll in the VA for health care. So the question remains as to how exactly they will be provided the services they are allowed to have if they do not have that specific veteran identification card. The DoD is still attempting to implement a plan and hopes to have full access to all authorized personnel by the end of 2020.
You can also check your eligibility to enroll for the VHIC, here. What do you think about allowing additional veterans access to base facilities? Drop a comment!