Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, all service-connected disabled veterans, caregivers enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program, and former prisoners of war will be able to shop at on-base grocery stores and exchanges. They will also be allowed to use some MWR amenities, such as golf courses and bowling alleys.

The DoD announced early this year that part of its plan relies on letting veterans who hold a Veterans Health Identification Card use it as their base ID card. Officials also said they plan to issue access cards to veterans and caregivers who don’t hold that form of ID; users will be able to receive those cards by presenting a letter of eligibility from the VA.

Although DoD officials initially said they anticipated a policy in hand this week on when and where veterans and caregivers can start applying for the access cards, as well as on how bases and commissary stores will manage the expected influx of visitors, that rollout has been delayed.

The Department of Defense is in charge of implementing the expanded patronage effort.  On top of the 5% surcharge all commissary customers must pay, new customers will have to pay a 1.9% fee when using a commercial credit card at the commissary and 0.5% fee for debit cards. There’s no extra charge when paying by cash, check or using the credit card offered by the military resale system, the Military Star card.