Veterans Online Shopping Benefit FAQ
Q When does the Veterans online shopping benefit start?
A Beginning Nov. 11, 2017, we will once again be able to serve honorably discharged Veterans online through a lifelong exchange benefit.
Q Will Veterans be able to shop on any of the exchange websites?
A Yes, any authorized Veteran will be able to enjoy tax-free shopping across all of the exchanges’ websites.
Q Why is the department extending a Veterans online shopping benefit to America’s honorably discharged Veterans?
A Currently, only 20-year “retired” and 100% disabled Veterans (and all active-duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel) are eligible to shop military exchanges. Expanding online exchange shopping benefits is a modest recognition of honorably discharged Veterans’ service to our Nation, especially since the vast majority of Veterans who served honorably do not meet the 20-year criteria to retain lifetime exchange benefits. The Veterans online shopping benefit represents an opportunity to strengthen funding of Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs in support of service members’ and their families’ Quality of Life.
Q If Veterans will soon be able to shop online, why can’t they shop in the brick-and-mortar exchange stores?
A DoD’s policy change to extend a lifetime online shopping benefit to Veterans is specific to online shopping only and does not include access to brick-and-mortar exchanges.
Visiting brick-and-mortar stores, many of which are on limited-access bases, involves logistics and policy issues to include credentialing, base access, etc. that could strain resources at already busy locations. Offering Veterans an exchange online benefit is a low-risk, low-cost opportunity to recognize their service without increasing costs to the DoD or overburdening the current infrastructure.
Q Can Veterans’ family members participate? Why not?
A The Veterans online shopping benefit allows authorized Veterans access to the exchanges’ online offerings. DoD’s policy change to extend this benefit to honorably discharged Veterans did not extend access to their family members due to a determination that the costs associated with collecting and tracking these individuals in the database used for eligibility verification would be prohibitive.
Q What happens to the profits that are generated from this initiative? How will the extra revenue be used?
A Each exchange has a mission to support military Quality-of-Life programs through dividends generated. Consistent with each exchange’s current dividend policy, Veterans online shopping benefit earnings will support military Quality-of-Life programs.
Beyond additional support for these important services, additional authorized shoppers enables the Exchange to have improved buying power to deliver better pricing and assortment for every member of the military community.
Q How will Veterans be verified to enter the exchanges’ websites? How can Veterans check whether they have access to the benefit?
A The Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) is the sole source for verification data of authorized exchange shoppers. Veterans who are qualified to shop under the newly approved Veteran’s Online Shopping Benefit should visit VetVerify.org in order to be verified. The website VetVerify.org is being built to enable Veterans to check their authentication status before Veterans Day 2017. VetVerify.org will access DEERS records and inform Veterans if their records are complete and have the proper discharge status. In cases where a Veteran’s information is incomplete, VetVerify.org will provide guidance. As soon as the VetVerify.org website is available, the Exchange will post information on our Facebook page and ShopMyExchange.com/Veterans.