A MilitaryShoppers reader recently asked if a disabled veteran was allowed to shop at the commissary. That’s a good question.
You would think the answer should be yes, a disabled veteran can shop at the commissary but it isn’t that simple.
There are a variety of categories of people who are allowed access to the commissary and unfortunately, being a disabled veteran does not automatically grant you shopping privileges.
The guidelines are clear — a disabled veteran must be 100% disabled to have those privileges. There are other categories the disabled veteran may fall under though that would allow him/her to use the commissary. We’ve gathered all the information below to help you determine who is eligible to shop on base.
Who is eligible to shop at the commissary?
Uniformed Personnel: this includes all military branches, the USPHS Commissioned Corps., the NOAA Commissioned Corps, members of the Reserve Components and cadets and midshipmen of the Military Service academies.
Retired Service Members: There are different categories of retired personnel that are entitled to commissary privileges:
All personnel carried on the official retired lists (Active and Reserve Components) of the uniformed services who are retired with pay, granted retirement pay for physical disability, or entitled to retirement pay whether or not such pay is waived or pending due to age requirement; or enlisted personnel transferred to the Fleet Reserve of the Navy and the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, after 20 or more years of active service.
Officers and crews of vessels, lighthouse keepers, and depot keepers of the former Lighthouse Service who retired.
Retired wage marine personnel, including retired noncommissioned ships officers, and crew members of vessels of NOAA and its predecessors (the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Environmental Science Services Administration).”
Medal of Honor Recipients: All Medal of Honor recipients are granted commissary privileges.
100% Disabled Veterans: Honorably discharged veterans that have 100% service-connected disability or a 100% unemployability as classified by the Department of Veterans Affairs are able to shop at the commissary.
This unfortunately means if you are a 99% or less disabled veteran, you don’t qualify.
Authorized Family Members including dependent children, lawful spouse, former un-remarried spouse, surviving spouse, surviving family member and surviving spouses and dependents of veterans that were honorably discharged posthumously determined to have 100% service connected disability have shopping privileges.
DoD Civilian Employees Stationed Outside the United States and their families can use the commissary.
Official DoD and Military Services Organizations and Activities: Any official DoD organization can use the commissary.
Involuntarily Separated Uniformed Personnel: Any service member that is involuntarily separated from active duty, as long as it is not for adverse reasons, can shop at the commissary for 2 years from the time of separation. A Select Reserve that is involuntarily separated also has a 2-year grace period to use the commissary.
Service Members Who Receive Sole Survivorship Discharge are granted commissary privileges for 2 years after the date of separation or after 2 years from when they were notified they had that privilege.
Hospitalized Veterans: Honorably discharged veterans can use the commissary when they are hospitalized in a location that also has a commissary. Note that this does not include veterans getting outpatient treatment.
DeCA Employees: DeCA personnel can purchase items for personal consumption during working hours to be consumed during breaks.
DoD Presidentially Appointed, Senate-Confirmed (PAS) Officers.
American National Red Cross (ARC) Personnel: They may be granted shopping privileges by an installation commander.
United Service Organizations (USO): USO leaders and their families who are assigned to overseas can use the commissary.
There are a few more exceptions to overseas commissaries. You might be surprised that DeCA does not decide who can shop at the commissary. The government decides based on the compensation status the service member or their family receives.
You can stop by the Pass and ID office if you think you should be able to shop on base but did not find a category here that you fit under. They have information on military benefits and issue ID cards.
They can also supply a visitor’s pass for a guest to join you on base. If you have commissary privileges, you are allowed to bring a visitor to the commissary, but they are not able to make any purchases.
While this is a lot of information, to answer the reader’s question if a disabled veteran can shop on base, the answer is only if they are a 100% disabled veteran or if they fall under any other category.
How do you feel about the requirement that a disabled veteran be 100% disabled to shop at the commissary? Do you think a disabled veteran of any percent should be allowed to shop on base?