Can Veterans Shop at the Commissary?

(Defense Commissary Agency)
(Defense Commissary Agency)

I'm a veteran and want to shop at the commissary. What do I need?

As of early 2020, veterans with any service-connected disability can shop at the commissary.

To help make sure only authorized shoppers are using the store, the commissary scans user IDs at check out. That means that it isn't enough to simply get on base to shop -- you must also hold an acceptable, scannable ID card.

The Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs have two approved ways for veterans who do not hold Defense Department ID cards to move through checkout. They can present their VA Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), or they can present a letter from the VA paired with a REAL ID-compliant identification, such as a passport or some state driver's licenses.

The VHIC must show the veteran's eligibility status -- Purple Heart, Former POW or Service Connected -- on the front, under the photo, to be accepted. More information about VHICs can be found on the VA's website here.

Commissary 101: How to Shop at the Commissary

Veterans shopping at the commissary who are not 100% service-connected disabled or military retirees will also pay a 1.9% fee to use a credit card and a .5% fee for a debit card at checkout. Those rates are set by law.

Depending on location and individual base access rules, veteran shoppers can bring guests into the store. The guests, however, will not be permitted to make purchases.

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