Veterans and primary caregivers now have access to the commissary, Military Service Exchange and Morale, Welfare and Recreation access, the US. Department of Veterans Affairs announced in a news release.
This includes Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.
“Veterans and primary family caregivers who are eligible and want to take advantage of in-person benefits must have a Veterans Health Identification Card, or VHIC,” the department wrote in the news release. “Primary family caregivers must have an eligibility letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Community Care.”
The VHIC is used as a form of ID for VA appointments and must display the veteran’s eligibility status such as if the service member had a Purple Heart.
The VHIC will provide more security since no personal information will be stored on the magnetic strip or bar code, microtext to avoid reproduction and the VA will be able to retrieve the veteran’s health record, according to the announcement.
In addition, the card will show the veteran’s military service branch, several awards and VA written in Braille for visually impaired veterans.
At the time of the veteran’s first visit to the military installation, he or she must pass an on-the-spot background check and both veterans and caregivers can enroll for recurring access for subsequent visits.
Some veterans will not be eligible for commissary, exchange and MWR retail privileges but will have access to the online exchanges and American Forces Travel, according to the news release.
“Veterans with felony convictions, felony arrest warrants, or other types of derogatory information related to criminal history or terrorism will not be permitted entry,” the department wrote.
Veterans must be enrolled in the VA health care system in order to get a VHIC. To apply, visit the VA healthcare benefits website, call 877-222-8387 or visit the nearest VA health care facility.
Several forms of identifications such as a state-issued driver’s license and a U.S. passport are acceptable to get a VHIC.
For more information about the new program, read the entire U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs news release here.