Veterans who hold Purple Heart medals, service-connected disabilities, spent time as prisoners of war, or are hold certain status as primary family caregivers will be extended privileges heretofore reserved for active-duty members, retirees and their families. On Jan. 1, these veterans will be allowed to shop at military commissaries and exchanges, and gain access to morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities. The change affects more than 4.1 million persons, the Pentagon believes. These new patrons will have to pay “a small user fee” when they use credit or debit cards to pay for goods at commissaries and exchanges. The Pentagon states that the fees are necessary “to offset the increased expense” for processing the transactions. To qualify as primary family caregivers, veterans must be eligible under the Department of Veterans Affairs Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program.