Paycheck Chronicles

From The Mailbag: Home Depot Discounts


A perennially hot topic here at The Paycheck Chronicles is the discounts offered by Home Depot and Lowes.  We've discussed the policies a million times, and yet there is still a lot of confusion.  A recent email highlights some of the problems:

Dear Kate,

I am a Vet - and a member of the American Legion. My military discharge was from the US Air force on July 17, 1972 . I would like to receive the military discount offered by Home Depot. I was told that you had a form I could complete and receive an ID card for the discount. Thanks for your attention in this matter.

There are a couple of issues here.  First, veterans who are not military retirees are not eligible for the Home Depot everyday military discount.  They are eligible for the Home Depot veterans discount which is available several times a year, typically over Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day weekend, and Veterans Day weekend.

Second, there is nothing that I can do to help you with this matter. is not the same as the Department of Defense. While exists to connect military members, veterans and their families with benefits, we do so through information - we can't actually take any action on behalf of the Department of Defense.  Even if there were a form to fill out, this would need to occur through a Department of Defense activity - not

Lastly, there is the issue of ID cards. It sounds like the clerk at the Home Depot store, who may know nothing about the military, told the customer that he needed to have the right type of ID card for the discount.  Depending on how you want to interpret this statement, that could be right or wrong.  It is correct that in order to be eligible for the everyday, military discount, you need to have a Department of Defense issued ID card as is available to active duty, retirees, and their eligible family members.  It is incorrect that any veteran can obtain this ID card because, as stated, this is the ID card that identifies active duty military members, retirees, and their eligible family members.  At the current time, there is no government ID card for veterans.  Though they will be coming at some point in the future, they will not make holders eligible for the everyday, military discount at Home Depot because veterans do not meet the qualifications.  They will serve as one of the many forms of identification required for the veterans discount offered several times each year.

Much of the confusion about this issues comes from the fact that not all stores interpret the discount rules as strictly as they are written, and therefore it seems inconsistent. To look at it from another perspective, there are definitely some people who do not meet the military discount eligibility rules who are getting the discount, and there don't seem to be any eligible people who are not getting the discount. Any errors or confusion seems to be tilted in the favor of the customers (as a whole, not necessarily as an individual.) There is also a distinct problem that most Home Depot employees don't thoroughly understand how the military works. All they know is that there is a certain ID that they are permitted to accept. In an attempt to be helpful, they advise those asking for the military discount to get the right ID card. Not really thinking through that the clerk knows little to nothing about the military, the veteran thinks that this is sound advice. There are also older veterans who aren't familiar with the current military ID card rules and don't understand why they are not eligible for the same ID card as active duty or retirees.

I'll continue writing about this, and maybe someday we'll get everyone on the same page!

For more  discounts for military and veteran families, visit the Discount Center.

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