Did you know? Many Veterans, with a service connected disability rating, are entering Federal parks for free with the Lifetime National Parks Access Pass from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Good for entry into 400+ National Parks and over 2,000 recreation sites across the country, the Lifetime Access Pass is another way a grateful nation says thank you for the service and sacrifices of Veterans with disabilities.

The Access Pass admits disabled Veterans and any passengers in their vehicle (non-commercial) at per-vehicle fee areas; and, the pass owner plus three additional adults where per-person fees are charged. In addition to free entry at participating parks, the Access Pass includes discounts on expanded amenity fees; such as camping, swimming, boat launching and guided tours.

Veterans who have a VA disability rating, (10 percent or higher) are eligible for the Lifetime Access Pass—with two ways to apply.

First, disabled Veterans can apply in person at a participating federal recreation site. Simply present photo identification (Drivers license, State ID, Passport) and documentation proving a permanent disability (VA awards letter, VA ID with service connected annotation, VA summary of benefits, or receipt of Social Security disability income). That’s it. The Pass is free and issued at the time of entry.

Second, if applying by mail, send a completed packet and $10 processing fee to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Access Pass application form and instructions can be found at (https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm). Pass delivery expected 10-12 weeks after receipt of application.

Another excellent benefit for those Veterans with a full disability- when congress signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act last year, 100% service connected disabled Veterans became eligible for Space Available Travel. Better known as ‘Space-A’ or military hops, Air Mobility Command (AMC) maintains an extensive network of flights throughout the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Supplementing this network, several Air National Guard and Naval Aviation Units have flights available.

To be eligible for Space-A flights, Veterans must have a permanent and total service-connected disability rating of 100%. These Vets must also obtain a DD Form 2765, “Department of Defense/Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (TAN).

The Space-A Program fills surplus capacity and seating on DOD aircraft. A popular perk among retirees, now eligible Veterans can take advantage of the program and fly for free. So, whether the Veteran is looking for a getaway to Hawaii or a trip to catch-up with their Veteran brothers and sisters on the other side of the country, the Space-A travel program can fly you there.

For more information including: Eligibility, locations, schedules, baggage, contact info, and; to register for the Space-Available Travel Email Sign-Up visit the Air Mobility Command—Space Available Travel Page - https://www.amc.af.mil/Home/AMC-Travel-Site/AMC-Space-Available-Travel-Page/

The most common question I get is how can I get my 10% Veterans discount? Many businesses honor the 10% discount; given the Veteran has proof of service. As an example Lowes offers the 10% discount and Veterans can enroll online at Lowes.com/military. Create or log in to your existing MyLowe's account and follow the instructions. Lowe's uses a trusted third party to verify military status. Once verified, your MyLowe's account will be instantly updated with the Military Discount. Or if you don’t want to enroll online you can visit a Lowes store – go to the customer service desk. You'll need photo identification and your US military documentation. You'll need photo ID and proof of military service such as a Veteran Identification Card (VIC), Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), Common Access Card, Uniformed Services Identification Card, State driver’s license with Veteran's designation or the most common proof is your DD214 (Military Discharge). In the interest of space in this article I could only give an example, for more information on other discounted business visit https://www.bradsdeals.com/blog/military-discounts

Another good deal is the Veteran Tickets Foundation's Tickets for Troops Program (Vet Tix) which is dedicated to giving back to those who gave us so much. They team up with major sports teams, leagues, promoters, organizations, venues and every day event ticket holders to provide free and discounted tickets to currently serving and Veterans of all branches of the US military. Vet Tix provide tickets to events which reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build life-long memories and encourage service members and Veterans to stay engaged with local communities and American life. They support our troops by honoring their service and providing positive family and life experiences, during and after their years of service to our country. Vet Tix provides tickets to all branches of currently-serving Military and Veterans, including immediate family of troops KIA. Vet Tix secures tickets to sporting events, concerts, performing arts, educational and family activities across the nation. VetTixers can sign up online and verify service information. VetTixers request tickets to events that interest them, and then pay a small delivery fee to receive their free tickets. For more information visit https://www.vettix.org/

I could write for days on the multiple benefits made available to Veterans across our nation, but for the sake of brevity I will leave it to you. My intent with this article is to encourage you to do a little research for yourself to see what is out there. Investing a little time on the internet will go a long way in finding deals for you as a Veteran and your family members. For more details please call 489-3907 or email at mackhuey@pontotoccoms.com – my office is located in the Pontotoc County Courthouse, Veterans Service Office.

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