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Caregivers may get commissary, exchange privileges by 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Former prisoners of war, Purple Heart recipients, certain disabled veterans and caregivers for veterans are a step closer to being allowed to shop at commissaries and exchanges, and other retail facilities on military bases, such as military lodging.

House lawmakers voted Thursday to agree to the conference report for the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill. A provision in that bill would give shopping and some other privileges to veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart, those who are former prisoners of war and those with service-connected disabilities, as well as to caregivers of veterans. They would be allowed to use these facilities on the same basis as a service member entitled to retired or retainer pay.

It also authorizes access for Medal of Honor recipients, although they have long been authorized to use commissaries, exchanges and MWR facilities.

If it becomes law, the new privileges would be in effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Under the proposal, Defense Department officials will set a user fee for this population, to offset any increase in expenses at commissaries that would be paid by the Treasury Department associated with the use of credit or debit cards. That user fee would be in addition to the current surcharge of 5 percent of the commissary purchase, added at the cash register. Because Medal of Honor recipients already have commissary shopping privileges, the fee would presumably not apply to them.
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