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Veterans - Benefits expansions


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Knowing there are several veterans on this forum just had email from VA of benefits expansion as the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 takes effect Jan 1. This creates a special classification for Service Connected Disability (0% or higher) enabling physical access to base PX, Commissary, and certain MWR benefits - like camping but not library or gyms etc. Previously, as established a few years ago, only online access to the PX was allowed. Applies to Service Connected, Prisioner of War and Purple Heart recipients, however the latter two may be eligible for other programs with further expanded benefits. Dependents are not authorized, but accompanying guest are and they can be registered for future simplified accompanied access. They just can't go independently (or purchase anything - veteran does purchasing) like a dependent could.



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1 hour ago, JerrySTL said:

Thanks for the heads up. Since I am retired military, I already have those benefits; however I know many veterans who did not retire and fall into those categories  

Yes. I fell into the later group. It use to grind on me that while I intended to retire (although at 20 they would have kept me as it was 1 month after 9/11) but those who can't retire if they wanted to but exited the military due to medical service connected disability (lower than 100%) were denied services similar to what retirees enjoy. This at least gets close. 

Also thought it was short sighted as learned from my being on the Board of one on the aero Clubs that by law, no funds from Congress defense budget and must be self supporting. Profits from PX and BX go into the parent MWR where is disbursed to other activities, like base libraty and other clubs that are not self supporting. At least my Club had a balanced budget, but many didn.t. Why limit customer base at profit center?

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After reading that OP, I think veterans deserve an "explanation" as much as anything.  I think, like Medicare or SS, there is a maze folks need to navigate to maximize stuff they are entitled to receiving, and I bet a LOT of veterans don't get the memo showing them their expanded (and existing) opportunities.  Usually, the folks most needing these sorts of benefits are also the ones who may not know they exist.

How good of a job does the VA and the military do in educating current and former/retired folks in their available options? Somehow I imagine the officers are well aware, while the regular enlisted folks probably much less so.

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