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The Department of the Army has clarified a policy that will make it easier for some beneficiaries to use the Commissary. It allows them to designate a personal agent, who may not have access to the Commissary under other circumstances, to either shop for them or assist them while they shop.

The designated agents need to meet certain criteria based on the type of agent they will be and they must be approved by the Garrison commander.

The two types of agents are temporary and permanent.

When it comes to temporary appointments, according to the policy, “in order to approve a temporary designation, there should be a consistent, recurring need that lasts at least 60 days.

“Such temporary need may be the result of a temporary physical or medical condition (e.g., recovering from surgery), or a temporary circumstance such as an extreme hardship that prevents or hinders the authorized shopper’s ability to travel to or navigate the store without assistance (e.g., household or work responsibilities of a solo parent while a spouse is deployed).”

These designations can be made for the anticipated duration of the hardship for up to two years. If conditions of the extreme hardships continue, the appointment can be extended.

When it comes to permanent appointments, according to the policy, “permanent personal agents may be designated for authorized commissary patrons who have a permanent need either for assistance shopping or for someone to shop on their behalf.

“Such need may be the result of a permanent physical or medical condition (e.g., blindness or severe disability), or a permanent circumstance (e.g., duration of dependency of an authorized child of a deceased military service member whose other parent has remarried and forfeited continuation of DOD benefits).

“Permanent physical or medical conditions must be certified by an appropriate medical authority.”

These designations last for the duration of the authorized patron’s privileges and can be renewed when the authorized patron renews their DOD Identification Card or Veteran Health Identification Card.

To request a designated agent, patrons need to send a letter that includes:

• the name of the authorized patron;

• the name of the designated personal agent;

• the type of designation, either temporary or permanent;

• and the duration of the appointment of personal agent status.

Also, all designated personal agents must meet installation physical access requirements pursuant to Volume 3 of DOD Manual 5200.08.

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