The Governor’s Veterans Advisory Council
The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance is a cabinet-level agency providing services and benefits assistance to state veterans. The Department’s work helps bring in more than $3.194 billion in federal funds annually to serve West Virginia’s Veterans. The Department operates fifteen benefits offices statewide, with staff members conducting over 250 consultations daily. Additionally, the Department operates the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, the Barboursville Veterans Home, and the Clarksburg Veterans Nursing Facility.
The history of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance began in 1945. Both the number of veterans in the state and the number of benefits provided by the federal government increased dramatically at the end of World War II. The West Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs was created to assist those returning troops and ensure they could access those benefits.
The department has gone through several changes since its inception. About 40 years ago, the name was changed to the Division of Veterans Affairs, with the division falling under the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Administration. In 2011, following an enthusiastic push by veterans across the mountain state, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed Senate Bill 238 into law, which restored the agency’s seat within the Governor’s cabinet and changed its name to the now-familiar Department of Veterans Assistance.
More recently, the department has been moving offices from older, less accessible locations to locations where we can serve more veterans. Twelve of the Department’s 15 offices have been moved since 2017. Department staff have also modernized the benefits claims process. Veteran Service Officers can file claims paperlessly with the federal VA, reducing the time it takes for claims paperwork and supporting documentation to arrive for processing in the VA’s system.
Today, The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance is the cabinet-level agency dedicated to providing services and benefits assistance to veterans. Veterans bring in $2.7 Billion of federal benefits per year to West Virginia in benefits that they earned in service. Our Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) play a huge role in helping veterans access those benefits. The department operates 15 benefits offices throughout the state, with staff members conducting more than 250 benefits consultations daily. Additionally, the department operates West Virginia’s State Veterans Cemetery, a veteran-only domiciliary, and a veterans' nursing facility in Clarksburg. We are constructing a second veterans nursing facility in Beckley.
Unlike most of the nation, Department Veteran Service Officers carry accreditation from several service organizations besides our WVDVA accreditation. We can file claims on behalf of veterans for the American Legion, American Red Cross, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, Marine Corps League, and more. This dramatically increases the number of veterans we can reach and help.