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With Schatz Legislation Signed Into Law, Commissaries And Exchanges In Hawai‘i Set To Open To More Veterans, Purple Heart Recipients

Schatz-Led Legislation To Expand Commissary Access To Military Heroes Was Signed Into Law Last Summer; DoD Readying Plans to Open Its Doors To Thousands More Hawai‘i Veterans in 2020


WASHINGTON – As a result of legislation authored by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, which was signed into law last year, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced its plans to expand access to military commissaries, exchanges, and recreation facilities to more veterans and caregivers. Thousands of veterans in Hawai‘i may be eligible for these new benefits.


“These veterans served, got hurt, and we owe it to them to give them these benefits,” said Senator Schatz. “This new law means that more veterans in Hawai‘i will finally have access to commissaries and exchanges across the state. The added bonus to our law is that it will strengthen the commissary system in the long run, which is good for both active duty personnel and American taxpayers.”


Veterans and caregivers eligible to access commissaries and exchanges beginning on January 1, 2020 include:


·         Purple Heart recipients

·         Former prisoners of war

·         All veterans with service-connected disabilities

·         Individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers


According to the DoD, during the first phase of the rollout of these privileges, veterans who have a VA-documented service-connected disability or are Purple Heart recipients or former prisoners of war who have been issued a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) from the VA can present their VHIC to gain entry to DoD and Coast Guard installations and some commissary stores; and at point of sale at commissaries, exchanges, and other facilities to complete their transactions. While the VA develops a process to identify and allow those without a VHIC to access commissaries and exchanges in person, they will still be able to take advantage of these new benefits by accessing military commissaries and exchanges online.


For more information on how eligible veterans and caregivers can access the new benefits, and on the DoD’s implementation of Schatz’s law, click here. A full list of military commissaries in Hawai‘i can be found here. A full list of military exchanges in Hawai‘i can be found here.



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