By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Veteran’s Day, the Department of Defense has authorized a special benefit that could impact as many as 18.5 million military veterans and retirees, including more than a million in our region.

That benefit is online, tax-free shopping for life on the Army and Air Force Exchange Service which will be available to some 900,000 veterans in Pennsylvania, with more than 70,000 of those in the greater Philadelphia area.

In New Jersey, nearly 400,000 will be eligible.

“Everything you can find at any retail store we have,” said Lt. Col. Jose Hernandez, the exchange operations officer. “The only difference is that a retail store pays their shareholders. When you shop at the exchange, we give back to the military community. We improve the quality of life for service members and their families worldwide.”

Hernandez says veterans can go to, enter the information requested, and begin shopping.

He says while the exchange is based in Dallas, it has several distribution centers across the country and most merchandise should be delivered within three-to-five days.

Watch & Listen LIVE