DoD expands access to commissaries, exchanges and recreation facilities

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(WAVY) — The Department of Defense is expanding the list of those who have commissary, military exchange, and morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) retail privileges.

Starting Wednesday, more veterans can access the services, including all veterans with service-connected disabilities, veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, veterans who are former prisoners of war and individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

The expansion gives more than 4.1 million new people access to the services. The change was set in motion by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.

“There may be some impact in areas with a high cost of living, but the Department is preparing to accommodate all new patrons,” the DoD said in a news release.

“These new privileges recognize the service and sacrifice of these veterans and those that care for them,” A.T. Johnston, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy, said. “If you or someone you know might be eligible for these privileges, share the message,” Johnston said. “Please help us ensure these veterans and caregivers receive the privileges they’ve been granted.”

The new patrons will need to pay a small user fee to offset the increased expense to the Department of the Treasury for processing commercial credit or debit cards at the commissary stores.

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