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State Benefits and Programs

Contact the field or claims office nearest you for free assistance when applying for state or federal veterans' benefits.

In addition to outreach services, field/claims offices and our three facilities (the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility & the West Virginia Veterans Homes) the WVDVA offers the following veteran benefits and programs:

High School Diplomas for Veterans

West Virginia veterans who served in WWII, Korea or Vietnam and did not graduate from high school may be awarded a high school diploma. The diploma may be granted by the veteran’s current county of residence or by the county in which the school he/she attended is located. More details are available in West Virginia State Code 18-2-34 or Title 126 Legislative Rule Series 96. Click here for an application.

Jack Bennett Fund

Families of deceased veterans may be provided grave markers for their loved one free of charge from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. However, some families are unable to cover the cost of installing these grave markers. The Jack Bennett Fund provides applicants up to $380 to offset these costs. A family’s need for financial assistance may be used to determine eligibility and is based on the “Means Test Threshold” as published by the federal VA. Any family member of a deceased veteran, licensed funeral directors and cemeteries may apply. Details about the Jack Bennett Fund can be found in West Virginia State Code 29-22A-10, Title 86 Legislative Rule Series 4, and Title 150 Legislative Rule Series 28. For an application, click here.

Veterans Bonuses

The state of West Virginia has offered cash bonuses to veterans of many conflicts and combat areas including WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Lebanon, Grenada, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The only bonus for which the expiration period has not passed is for qualifying individuals who served during the War in Afghanistan. The bonus includes a one-time payment of $600 for service in the combat zone or a one-time payment of $400 for service outside the combat zone. For more information regarding eligibility, please read House Bill 2285 passed in 2005 or refer to the West Virginia State Constitution Amendments 6, 7, 12, 14 and 17. Please note the Iraq War was formally ended in December, 2011, as declared by the President of the United States. The War in Afghanistan was formally ended in December, 2014, as declared by the President of the United States. If you have been honorably discharged and believe you qualify for a bonus, click here for an application. Surviving spouses or dependents who wish to apply may inquire by calling 304-558-3661.

Veterans Reeducation Assistance

Since fiscal year 1997, the West Virginia legislature has included in the annual budget various amounts of funding for postsecondary education or training of veterans who have exhausted their GI Bill benefits. These funds may be used for tuition assistance, tests associated with professional licensure and certification, or other training materials. Click here to view the application.

Veterans Transportation Program 

Each year the West Virginia Legislature provides funds to the WVDVA for the purchase of vans to be used exclusively for the transportation of veterans to and from their VA medical appointments. Once vehicles are purchased, they are leased to the federal VA medical centers that serve West Virginia. Those facilities then work in conjunction with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to transport veterans. Any veteran who needs transportation to a VA medical appointment should contact the VA Medical Center nearest him/her and ask for the DAV Volunteer Coordinator.  

Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Program

The Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Program is designed to integrate veterans into the field of agriculture and support veterans currently working in agriculture through a variety of training and other support programs. The WVDVA has worked closely with the Department of Agriculture to recruit eligible veterans and develop the program which is administered by the Department of Agriculture. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 19-1-12. Click here for an application or call the West Virginia Department of Agriculture at 304-558-3200 for more information.

Van Transportation Program

Award grants, in his or her discretion, subject to available appropriations, to provide for the transportation of veterans to veterans' hospitals from the veteran's home or local Veterans' Assistance offices.Details about the program are available in West Virginia State Code 9A-1-10. Individuals who wish to volunteer to drive and veterans who wish to utilize the program should call the VA Medical Center nearest them and ask for the Volunteer Coordinator. Please note this is a volunteer program. Drivers are not employees of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance and per diem payments to drivers are not guaranteed.

War Orphan Education Program

Students who qualify for the War Orphan Education Program will not be charged tuition and fees by a West Virginia post-secondary education or training institution. Award amounts administered by the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance are to cover costs associated with room, board, books and other living expenses. This amount fluctuates according to the number of applications received each semester. No more than $1,000 will be awarded to a student in any one semester and no more than $2,000 will be awarded to a student in any one year. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 18-19. Applications are available here.

West Virginia Military Connection

Www.wvmilitaryconnection.org is a partnership between Workforce West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance, West Virginia Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the US Department of Labor and the West Virginia National Guard. The web site is designed to be a one-stop shop for veterans and service members reintegrating into civilian life with an emphasis on resources related to training and employment.

The following programs are operated (in all or in part) by state government bodies other than the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance: 

Homestead Exemption

Veterans with 100% permanent and total service-connected disabilities may be exempt from certain property taxes. Details are available in West Virginia State Code 11-6B-4. Veterans who believe they qualify should contact their County Assessors’ Office.

In-state Tuition Rates for Nonresident Veterans

All public higher education institutions will assess tuition at the in state rate for nonresident recipients of the GI Bill who enroll within three years of their discharge (beginning July, 2015). More information is available in Title 133 Legislative Rule Series 25 or through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Medal of Honor & Purple Heart Tuition Waivers

All public institutions of higher education waive tuition and mandatory fee charges for West Virginia residents who have been awarded the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 18B-10-10 or through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Military Incentive Program

The West Virginia Military Incentive Credit encourages the employment of veterans and members of the guard and reserve forces in the private sector by providing tax credits to qualified businesses that employ economically disadvantaged veterans and unemployed members of the West Virginia National Guard and United States Reserve forces. Additional information is available in West Virginia State Code 21A-2C-1 and through Workforce West Virginia.

Veterans’ Awards for Excellence

Veterans' Awards for Excellence may be granted to veterans who exhibit excellence in or make demonstrable improvements to quality employment, training or placement services for veteran applicants. The program is operated by Workforce West Virginia, a Division of the Department of Commerce.

Veteran Designation on West Virginia Driver’s Licenses

Veterans who were honorably discharged from any branch of the United States Armed Forces may have their veteran status designated on their West Virginia driver’s license. Information can be found in West Virginia State Code 17B-2-1. For application information, veterans should contact their local DMV office.

Veteran Hunting & Fishing Licenses

Resident veterans who qualify for federal VA auto grant benefits or who have a 100% permanent and total service-connected disability qualify for free West Virginia hunting and fishing licenses. Services members who are on active duty in the United States Armed Forces, while on leave or furlough, are permitted to hunt, fish and trap without a license. Leave or furlough papers shall serve in lieu of any required licenses. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 20-2-28. Applications are available here.

Veteran License Plates

Special vehicle license plates and disabled veteran tags are provided without fee to veterans who qualify for federal VA auto grant benefits or who have a 100% permanent and total service connected disability. Former POWs, Purple Heart recipients and Pearl Harbor survivors are also eligible for special license plates without fee. Veteran plates are available to all other honorably discharged veterans for a one-time fee of $10 over and above the regular license fee required by the state Division of Motor Vehicles. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 17A-3-14. Interested veterans should contact their local DMV office.

Veterans’ Preference

Under the West Virginia Civil Service System, all veterans who have served under honorable conditions in the Armed Forces of the United States during hostile conflict shall have five points added to a final passing score. An additional five points are added to a veteran’s score if in receipt of the Purple Heart or if he/she has a compensable service-connected disability. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 6-13-1.

Veterans Upward Bound

This program supports the efforts of public institutions to be veteran friendly by providing academic and student support services that address the unique needs of student veterans. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 18B-4-9 or at www.vubwv.org.

West Virginia Veteran Service Decoration / West Virginia Service Cross

The West Virginia Service Decoration may be awarded to any West Virginia resident who served in one of the five federally recognized military branches during a time of armed conflict. Those who also received certain other federal medals and recognitions may also qualify for the West Virginia Service Cross. Some members of the National Guard also qualify. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 15-1G-10. Verification of qualifying awards and service may be sent to the West Virginia Army National Guard at WVARNG, Attention MILPO, 1705 Coonskin Drive, Charleston, WV 25311. Verification should include a DD214 and current mailing address. Questions should be directed to MAJ Bossie at 304-561-6350. Applications will remain on file until the award is funded and procured.

West Virginia State Parks “Veterans’ Salute”

Veterans and active duty military personnel are provided a year-round 10% discount on all standard lodge rooms, cabins and campsites operated by West Virginia State Parks. Additional discounts and offers for veterans and military members are available seasonally. Click here for more information.

Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program

All public institutions of higher education are participants of the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program, also known as the “bridging the gap” program. This benefit helps veterans afford programs where costs exceed the amount of funding provided by the G.I. Bill. More information is available in West Virginia State Code 18B-10-7C or through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission