The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018
Exciting news for service-connected disabled veterans in 2020. According to the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 all service-connected vets with disability rating of 0% to 100% will have PX and Commissary privileges, access to MWR services, and more.
Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) retail facilities include RV campgrounds, recreational lodging like cabins and cottages and military resort properties…also golf, bowling, restaurants, marinas, equipment check out, entertainment, special interest activities like flying clubs, movie theaters, vehicle storage, kennels, and leisure travel which includes AmericanForcesTravel.com.
Discount tickets may be available, but know that sometimes the vendors put restrictions on who can buy/use them, so all of the tickets might not be authorized. The MWR facilities that directly support mission readiness or support for military members and their families are not included, like gyms, fitness centers, libraries, child development programs, etc.
Who is eligible for this new program?
If you’re a veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart, a veteran who was a former prisoner of war, a veteran with a service-connected disability rating anywhere from 0-90%, or an individual assessed, approved, and designated as the primary family caregiver for an eligible veteran under the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, then you’re eligible.
In addition, you need to have the right credentials to gain access to the benefit. For veterans, it is a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” below your photo on the front of the card.
If you’re a veteran who meets one of these criteria and you don’t have a VHIC, you should visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ for information regarding eligibility for the VHIC and the application process. For primary family caregivers, it’s an eligibility letters from the Office of Community Care paired with an acceptable credential like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. Eligibility letters are being mailed and should be delivered to primary family caregivers before January 1.
Will a spouse who is not a caregiver be allowed to accompany me to the commissary or exchange?
Yes, spouses may accompany you into the facilities, but they cannot make any purchases. Keep in mind that the veteran and spouse will have to stop at the installation visitor control center for the standard security checks to enter the installation. The veteran will have to show their Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” underneath the photo on the front of the card; and the spouse will need to have an acceptable credential with them (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are usually the easiest).
How will I get on base or military installations?
On your first visit to an installation, stop at the visitor control center and show them your VHIC that displays “PURPLE HEART,” “FORMER POW,” or “SERVICE CONNECTED” under the photo on the front of the card. The security folks will have to run a basic background check for criminal history and terrorism. If you’re cleared, you will have access. If the installation has ID enrollment capabilities, you can be enrolled for recurring access so that you don’t have to stop at visitor control every time you want to go shopping.
Can I bring a guest?
Only the eligible veteran can make purchases, but your guests could accompany you onto the installation and into the facilities. They will also have to go through the visitor control center at the installation and must show an acceptable credential to go through the standard security screening (a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport are the easiest documents to bring).
How did this come law about?
The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 was included in the late Sen. John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. That’s how this came about. DoD, with the help of VA, is implementing the law.
The full title of the bill, which passed the Senate on a 92-5 vote, is the “John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018.”
The bill is designated for McCain and Rep. Samuel Johnson, a Texas Republican, both of whom were prisoners of war in Vietnam, and also for Daniel Akaka, a former Hawaii Democratic senator and World War II veteran.
Let’s give credit where it is due—to the true heroes that demonstrated true patriotism—even when it came to putting themselves in danger for the sake of liberty.
For more details go here > https://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Factsheets/expanding-access-fact-sheet.pdf