Day in and day out, people come to The Paycheck Chronicles for information about military and veterans discounts, particularly those offered by Home Depot and Lowes. I'm not sure why those two particular stores are such hot topics, instead of all the other types of stores, but that is what the charts and numbers tell me. There is perpetual confusion and hurt feelings from various former military folks who feel that they have been slighted or are angry that they can not get the discount. Compounding the problem is the fact that while both corporate stores have virtually identical national policies, individual stores choose to implement the policies in various ways. It has ended up with negativity all around.
Several recent comments bring up the same mistaken point, saying that the stores have changed their policies. The policies have not changed, but individual stores are certainly changing their behavior. The implementation of the policy at the store level has been lax since the discount program began. It has always been a "military" discount all year round, and a "veterans" discount several weekends a year. The companies have choosen to define "military" roughly in line with the qualifications for a DoD issued military ID: active duty, National Guard or reserve or dependents, retired military and dependents, and disabled veterans. If you meet the eligibility as "military," then you qualify all year round. If you meet the eligibility as "veteran," then you qualify for the discount on the designated weekends.
Many stores have been generously giving the "military" discount to "veterans" for several years. They have been gradually trying to return to the clearly stated policy. I actually feel badly for these stores who are trying to do something nice and are getting bashed for it.
If you are new to this topic, you can find more information in these articles:
Lowes and Home Depot Revisited, January 2012
Military and Veterans Discounts and Identification, August 2011
Home Depot Military Discount, August 2010
Lowe’s Official Answer on Military Discounts, July 2010
Lowe’s Military Discount Now Available All Year Long, February 2010