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Defense Department expanding online shopping for veterans

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 11:48 a.m.
The U.S. Department of Defense beginning Nov. 11 will open online shopping to any honorably discharged military veteran through its various exchange store websites.

Any honorably discharged military veteran will be able to shop the Defense Department's military exchanges online starting on Nov. 11, said Chris Ward, a spokesman for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

To prepare for online access to the tax-free, discount stores, veterans can log in to VetVerify.org to confirm their eligibility. Some veterans who register early are being selected as beta testers for the sites in advance of the official launch on Veterans Day.

Exchanges are currently limited to active duty and retired military. Extending online shopping to about 13 million military veterans who aren't retired military represents the first expansions of exchange shopping privileges in about 30 years, Ward said.

The new program covers veterans of the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force and Army. While it provides online access, it does not grant on-base access to exchange facilities.

Expanding the customer base will help reduce the tax subsidy that funds on-base exchanges and help fund military quality-of-life programs, such as child development centers, youth programs and fitness centers.

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, bbowling@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribBrian.

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