Contact the service office nearest you for free assistance when applying for state of federal veteran benefits.
The State of West Virginia offers through the Department of Veterans Assistance and other state bodies, the following programs:
Military Retirement Pay State Income Tax Exemption
For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, military retirement income, including retirement income from the regular Armed Forces, Reserves and National Guard paid by the United States or the State of West Virginia are exempt from state income tax. This includes any survivorship annuities, to the extent that they are included in federal adjusted gross income for the taxable year. For more information see House Bill 201, passed October 17, 2017, and West Virginia State Code §11-21-12.’’
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Veterans Re-education Assistance
Since fiscal year 1997, the West Virginia legislature has included in the annual budget various amounts of funding for postsecondary education. This program offers up to a $500 per semester stipend to veterans who are enrolled in a certified post-secondary class. Additionally, this program can assist veterans with vocational and non-traditional education endeavors on a case-by-case basis. Click here to view the application.
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.
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.
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.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Transportation Network
The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance is transferring the operation of its statewide van transportation program to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). The DAV Transportation Network is intended to provide transportation for medical appointments to veterans in rural areas or who have no other transportation. The DAV has operated a transportation network since 1987 in all other states. With more than 3,500 vehicles, volunteer drivers have donated nearly 1.5 million hours providing more than 625,000 rides to transport veterans to and from their appointments at no cost to the veteran.
Becoming a volunteer driver can be a rewarding experience. It is a chance for veterans to help their fellow veterans. For those who have not served their country, this is another way to serve. Volunteering to drive as little as one day per month will help ensure our state’s veterans have access to the health care that they have earned. There will be no change to how veterans schedule a ride.
To schedule a ride or to volunteer to be a driver, call your local Veterans Affairs Medical Center Voluntary Services Office.
Louis A Johnson VA Medical Center – 304-623-7621
Beckley VA Medical Center – 304-255-2121 extension 4162
Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center – 304-429-6741 extension 2952
Martinsburg VA Medical Center – 304-263-0811 extension 3310
Afghanistan Veteran Bonus
House Bill 2285, passed in 2005, provides for the payment of a Veteran Bonus to veterans of the Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts. The Bonus Program provides $400 to qualified veterans who served during the designated time frame outside of the combat zone, and those who served in the combat zone can receive the maximum of $600.
The Veterans Bonus Program for Iraq and Kosovo has ended.
In order to qualify for the Afghanistan Veteran Bonus, a veteran must have been discharged from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions, or still be in the service, and must have served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces as declared by the President under Title 10 between October 7, 2001 and a date to be determined by the President of Congress of the United States; must have been a resident of the State of West Virginia for six months immediately prior to entering the Armed Forces.
In the event a veteran is eligible to receive more than one bonus, he/she will be granted only the greater of the two bonuses. Application for the Afghanistan Veterans Bonus must be made within one year of the end of the veterans service.
For more information about the Bonus Program see House Bill 2285, and Amendment 17 of the West Virginia Constitution. To see if you are qualified, contact one of our Service Offices. Click here for an application.
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.
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.
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.
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.