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Veterans need VHIC for in-person Commissary, Military Exchange, MWR access

Dateline: 2/25/2020

   The Defense Department has announced expanded Commissary, Military Service Exchange and MWR access Jan. 1 and established a standard for physical access to military installations.

   Veterans who are eligible and want to take advantage of in-person benefits must have a Veterans Health Identification Card, or VHIC. Primary Family Caregivers must have an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.

   Veterans use VHICs for identification and check-in at VA appointments, but will also use them for base access under the new program.

   Veterans eligible solely under this act who are eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card must use this credential for in-person installation and privilege access. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED).

   Veterans eligible solely under this act who are not enrolled in or are not eligible to enroll in VA health care, or who are enrolled in VA health care, but do not possess a Veteran Health Identification Card will not have access to DoD and Coast Guard installations for in-person commissary, exchange, and MWR retail privileges, but will have full access to online exchanges and American Forces Travel.

   Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are eligible for DoD credentials under DoD policy.

   Veterans must be enrolled in the VA health care system to receive a VHIC.  To enroll, you can complete an application for enrollment in VA health care by telephone without the need for a signed paper application. Just call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Eastern. You can also apply for VA healthcare benefits online at www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll, or in person at your local VA medical facility.  Once your enrollment is verified, you can have your picture taken at your local VA medical center, and VA will mail you a VHIC.

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