VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Beginning next year, the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) is expanding NEX in-store shopping and Navy Lodge guest privileges to eligible veterans and their primary-selected caregiver. The expanded benefit applies to Veterans with a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-documented service-connected disability rating, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and primary family caregivers for veterans enrolled in the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

“Our command is truly grateful for everything our veterans have done for our nation and we’re pleased to welcome them back in our NEX stores and Navy Lodges,” said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, CEO of NEXCOM. “NEXCOM’s mission is one of service, and since many of our 14,000 personnel have worn cloth of our nation, this expansion hits close to home. We’re proud to be part of this effort and serve our nation’s patriots by continuing to give back 100% of NEXCOM’s earnings to our Sailors and their families, through capital improvements or contributions to Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs — totaling $3.6 billion since 1946!”

The patronage expansion was an item included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. Along with military resale and Navy Lodging, the benefit expansion includes commissary shopping privileges as well as MWR activity use. This new initiative is expected to extend eligibility to approximately 4.1 million new patrons, comprised of nearly 1.5 million veterans who live within an hour of a military installation, of which 406,546 are U.S. Navy veterans.

To access Department of Defense installations and obtain expanded privileges Jan. 1, 2020, veterans must present a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) from VA that displays their eligibility category, “purple heart, former pow or service-connected.” Caregivers must present an eligibility letter from the VA Office of Community Care that indicates they are the primary family caregiver for an eligible veteran under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers and are eligible for these privileges, paired with an acceptable identification credential, like a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or a U.S. passport. These credentials will need to be presented at point-of-sale at the NEX or check-in at the Navy Lodge.

For additional guidance on access to a DoD installation or Veteran/Caregiver identification information, visit http://www.militaryonesource.mil/expanding-access.

Connecticut Media Group