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DOD grants base access to disabled veterans, caregivers

The Department of Defense, including Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is expanding access to military commissaries, Exchanges and recreation facilities to veterans and caregivers effective Jan. 1, 2020. The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 includes Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, all veterans with service-connected disabilities rated from 0 to 90%, and individuals approved and designated as primary family caregivers of eligible veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jerry Saslav)

The Department of Defense, including Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is expanding access to military commissaries, Exchanges and recreation facilities to veterans and caregivers effective Jan. 1, 2020. The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 includes Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, all veterans with service-connected disabilities rated from 0 to 90%, and individuals approved and designated as primary family caregivers of eligible veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jerry Saslav)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Department of Defense, including Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is expanding access to military commissaries, Exchanges and recreation facilities to veterans and caregivers effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 includes Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, all veterans with service-connected disabilities rated from 0 to 90%, and individuals approved and designated as primary family caregivers of eligible veterans.

Eligible veterans must have a Veterans Health Identification Card to take advantage of in-person benefits. Primary caregivers must have an eligibility letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Community Care.

Medal of Honor recipients and veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are eligible for DOD credentials under current DOD policy.

Information on how to obtain a VHIC and more can be found in a VA publication on af.mil.  

First visit

After acquiring a VHIC, veterans and caregivers must stop at the visitor center adjacent to the Sartain Gate for a one-time registration of their ID. 

As with all other individuals seeking access to DOD installations, all eligible veterans must pass a basic on-the-spot background check prior to enrolling and an automated check each time they enter the installation. Veterans with felony convictions, felony arrest warrants, or other types of derogatory information related to criminal history or terrorism will not be permitted entry.

“Our priority is installation access and keeping the base safe,” said Master Sgt. Brandon Johnson, lead investigator at 66th Security Forces Squadron, Hanscom AFB.

Lost or stolen?

If the VHIC is lost or stolen, contact the VA medical facility where the picture was taken to request a new card, or call 877-222-VETS (8387). Veterans will need to provide identification information when reporting lost or stolen cards.

Caregivers

Eligible caregivers will receive an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.

If a primary family caregiver under the PCAFC loses their eligibility letter, please call 877-733-7927 to request a replacement. Please allow two weeks for processing.

 

For more information regarding caregiver installation access, entry to some commissary stores and at point of sale at commissaries, exchanges, and MWR retail facilities, visit the above link or www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll.

Visit the following websites for more information about military resale privileges:

Army and Air Force Exchange Service (https://www.shopmyexchange.com/vets )

Coast Guard Exchange (https://shopCGX.com )

Defense Commissary Agency (https://www.commissaries.com/)

Navy Exchange (https://www.mynavyexchange.com/ )

Marine Corps Exchange (http://www.mymcx.com/ )

Military Star Card (https://www.myecp.com/ )

American Forces Travel (https://www.americanforcestravel.com )