Find West Virginia state and local veterans’ benefits including education, employment, healthcare, tax breaks/exemptions, recreation, and much more below. “The Mountain State” has over 160,000 veterans residing within its borders.
West Virginia State Veteran Education Benefits
West Virginia Purple Heart and Medal of Honor Tuition Waivers for Qualifying Service Members
The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance (DVA) official site announces public institutions of higher education will waive tuition and mandatory fee charges for West Virginia veterans awarded the Purple Heart or Medal of Honor.
The requirements for this waiver may vary depending on the college or school.Check with your chosen state-supported college’s admissions department for more information. You may need to provide documentation including VA award letters, service records showing awards and decorations, or copies of the written citation associated with the medal itself depending on the school.
West Virginia War Orphan Education Program
The War Orphan Education Program provides qualifying dependents of military members who were West Virginia residents at the time of enlistment and died as the result of wartime military service. There is an age requirement for this program. Enrollees may be between the ages of 16 and 25.
The award amounts will vary depending on the number of applications received each semester, but in general the funds available are capped at $1,000 per student per semester and $2,000 per student per year. Proof of enrollment and the parent’s military service, VA award letters, etc. are required.
West Virginia High School Diploma Program for Veterans
West Virginia residents who left high school to serve in WWII, Korea or Vietnam without graduating may be eligible for a high school diploma. The diploma may be granted by the veteran’s current county of residence or by the county where the high school was located.
The rules of this program indicate that it is for “surviving veterans” of the qualifying service eras and does not indicate whether a diploma may be awarded posthumously.
West Virginia In-state Tuition Rates for Nonresident Veterans
Non-resident GI Bill recipients attending West Virginia state-supported schools will be permitted to enroll at the in-state tuition rate. There is one caveat. This program is meant for users of the GI Bill “who enroll within three years of their discharge (beginning July, 2015)” according to the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance. When enrolling at the state-supported institution of your choice, be sure to ask about the in-state tuition program. Request information about the school’s application requirements may be such as deadlines, documentation, etc.
West Virginia State Veteran Employment Benefits
State of West Virginia Veteran Re-Education Assistance
This state program offers $500 per semester to qualified veterans enrolled in “a certified post-secondary class.” These funds are also available for vocational and non-traditional education (on a case-by-case basis according to the application forms).
Qualifying criteria includes an Honorable discharge and the veteran must have used up all GI Bill funds prior to applying for this assistance. A new application is required for each semester.
State of West Virginia Combat Veteran Hiring Preference
Qualifying service members who serve during times of “hostile conflict” may be awarded additional points to competitive Civil Service job exam scores. Five points are awarded, with an additional five points for those who have been awarded the Purple Heart or who have a VA-rated service connected disability.
Claiming these preference points may require proof of service, disability, etc. Applicants should be prepared to provide copies (not originals) of DD Form 214, VA award letters, and other documentation as required.
West Virginia State Veteran Housing Benefits
West Virginia Veterans Assisted Care Homes and Nursing Homes
The State of West Virginia operates two facilities. They are a veterans’ assisted care home in Barboursville and a nursing home in Clarksburg. Admissions requirements include a non-punitive discharge. Applicants must be eligible for care at a federal Department of Veterans Affairs facility.
Pre-admission screenings are required as certain conditions and certain types of patients cannot be admitted. The official site requires applicants to be “ambulatory and independent in all activities of daily living.” Certain types of skilled care requirements may be beyond the scope of these West Virginia facilities for veterans. Applications are available from any West Virginia DVA field office.
West Virginia State Veteran Financial Benefits
West Virginia Cash Bonuses for Qualifying Combat Veterans
In the past, the state of West Virginia has offered cash bonuses to combat veterans with service in both World Wars, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, and elsewhere. Many of these bonuses have expired, but those who have served in Afghanistan and apply within one year after leaving military service.
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” according to the State of West Virginia. Visit the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance for more information on how to apply.
Property Tax Breaks for Qualifying Disabled Veterans
Those rated as 100% service-connected disabled by the VA may be eligible for property tax waivers. Tax laws change frequently and the qualifying criteria for these tax breaks may require the applicant to supply VA award letters, military discharge paperwork, and other documentation to qualify.
Those who receive these property tax exemptions agree to notify the State of West Virginia (via a tax assessor’s office) if their disability status changes and they no longer qualify as per current state tax law.
Claiming these tax breaks means filing the paperwork before the first day of December deadline each year. Otherwise the tax break is waived for the following tax year. Those over 65 may be permitted to file once only with no re-application for the benefit needed unless for use on a different homestead.
Military Retirement Pay Tax Waiver
Beginning in tax year 2018 the State of West Virginia does not require state income tax on military retirement pay.
Additional West Virginia State Veteran Benefits
Fee-Free West Virginia License Plates for Qualifying Veterans
Special West Virginia license plates and disabled veteran placards/tags are provided free for veterans who qualify. The individual is eligible under VA vehicle grant benefits and/or qualifying veterans with a VA-rated 100% permanent and total service connected disability. Former POWs, Purple Heart recipients, and Pearl Harbor survivors are also eligible for free West Virginia special license plates. Documentation of veteran status, VA award letters, and other documentation may be required at application time.
Recreational Benefits for Veterans
- The State of West Virginia offers a variety of perks for qualifying veterans and currently serving military members. These benefits include the West Virginia State Parks “Veterans’ Salute” which is an all-year 10% discount of “all standard lodge rooms, cabins and campsites operated by West Virginia State Parks.” Other seasonal discounts may be available.
- Certain qualifying disabled veterans who are West Virginia residents, have an honorable discharge, and are qualified for “a veteran’s pension based on total permanent service connected disability as certified by the veterans administration” is allowed to hunt, trap or fish without obtaining a license from the State of West Virginia.
- West Virginia residents who serve on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces may hunt, fish, or trap without a license while on leave. Proof of military leave status is required at all times while engaged in hunting, trapping, or fishing under these rules.
Burial Benefits for Veterans
The State of West Virginia Jack Bennett Fund is provided for families of veterans who have died and who demonstrate a financial need to offset burial costs associated with the installation of a grave marker for the veteran.
The Jack Bennett Fund provides applicants up to $380 (at the time of this writing) to offset these costs. Criteria for financial eligibility is based on the “means test threshold” as published by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Contact the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance for more information.
Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery
This West Virginia state veterans cemetery is approximately 350 acres and is open to veterans, spouses, and dependents. Burial benefits at the cemetery are intended for any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty, plus:
- Veterans who have served a minimum of 24 months and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
- The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran
- Dependent children (minors) of eligible veterans. For these purposes a minor may be either a dependent under the age of 21 or a dependent under 23 enrolled full-time at an approved school.
Death order does not affect the eligibility of dependents or spouses. A military member may survive dependents and spouses and still qualify to have those dependents/spouses interred at Kinnard. The following services are included at no cost for the veteran:
- Grave site or niche
- Opening and closing of the grave
- Concrete crypt, Headstone / Niche Cover
- Perpetual Care
- Presidential Memorial Certificate.
Surviving spouses who married a non-veteran after the veteran’s death may still qualify for burial. This applies in cases where the death of the surviving spouse happens on or after January 1, 2000.
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