The state of West Virginia offers many veteran benefits for service members and Veterans that have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. These benefits include income and property tax exemptions, financial exemptions, education and training programs, hunting and fishing licenses, vehicle registrations, and assistance with employment. Your residency, military career, and disability status may result in certain differences in what benefits you may be eligible for. The following are benefits for the state of West Virginia.
West Virginia Veteran Financial Benefits
- Active Duty Military Pay Subtracted From West Virginia Gross Income for State Tax Purposes: Active duty military pay received by West Virginia National Guard and Reserve forces for service in Operation Enduring Freedom or domestic security duty as the result of a federal order to active duty can be subtracted from federal adjusted gross income when filing West Virginia state taxes.
- Non-resident Military Spouses West Virginia State Tax Exemption: Due to the passage of the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act in November of 2009, Spouses of military service members may be exempt from West Virginia income tax on wages received from services performed in West Virginia.
- West Virginia State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
- West Virginia Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Resident Permanent and Total Disabled Veterans: If Service members are residents of West Virginia at the time they enter military service and maintain that residency until retirement from military service or earlier separation due to a permanent and total physical or mental disability are deemed to satisfy the residency test and are allowed a $20,000 homestead exemption if they return to West Virginia and purchase a homestead and are otherwise qualified. Or for a homestead that is used and occupied by the owner thereof exclusively for residential purposes, when such owner is sixty-five years of age or older or is certified as being permanently and totally disabled provided the owner has been or will be a resident of the State of West Virginia for the two consecutive calendar years preceding the tax year to which the homestead exemption relates. A written certification signed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that a person is totally and permanently disabled is required.
- West Virginia Tax Benefit for Service Members Killed as a result of Service in a Combat Zone: In the case of any individual who dies while in active service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, if such death occurred while serving in a combat zone (as determined under Section 112 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) or as a result of wounds, disease or injury incurred while so serving:
- Any tax imposed by this article shall not apply with respect to the taxable year in which falls the date of his or her death, or with respect to any prior taxable year ending on or after the first day he or she served in a combat zone after August 1, 1990
- Any tax under this article for taxable years preceding those specified in paragraph (1) which is unpaid at the date of his or her death (including interest, additions to tax and additional amounts) shall not be assessed and if assessed the assessment shall be abated and if the assessment has been collected, the amount collected shall be credited or refunded as an overpayment.
- Statewide: 6.0%
- Counties: can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 1.0%
- Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 6.122%
Disabled Veteran Hunting & Fishing Licenses: West Virginia Veterans with a 100% service-connected disability rating or who are in receipt of the VA automobile grant do not need hunting & fishing licenses.
Active Duty Hunting & Fishing Licenses: West Virginia residents on active duty and home on leave don’t need hunting & fishing licenses.
West Virginia State Parks: Veterans and active-duty members get a 10% discount on all standard lodge rooms, cabins, and campsites operated by West Virginia State Parks. You do not have to be a West Virginia resident to qualify.
West Virginia Medal of Honor and Purple Heart Tuition Waiver: All public institutions of higher education shall waive tuition and mandatory fee charges for West Virginia residents who have been awarded the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart.
West Virginia Educational Encouragement Program (WVEEP): The WV National Guard funds up to 100% of tuition costs and fees up to $7,000 per person per fiscal year using the state (WVEEP) tuition assistance program. This tuition assistance may be used in addition to federal tuition assistance.
- Service members requesting tuition assistance must enroll in an approved, accredited post-secondary institution within West Virginia.
- Service members must not currently be under any type of adverse action or administrative flag at the time of application.
- Students must provide a detailed degree plan.
- Students need to complete courses for which tuition assistance is provided before their Expiration Term of Service (ETS) date.
- The institution must provide the student with documentation clearly describing the cost of each course.
- Tuition Assistance funds will not be disbursed without verification of enrollment.
- Students need to submit grades to the WVEEP manager upon completion of a course.
West Virginia Veterans Re-education Assistance: West Virginia provides tuition assistance, under the Veterans Re-Education Act Fund, for West Virginia Veterans who need to secure education for a new career due to dislocation or unemployment. The West Virginia Veterans Re-Education Act Fund pays tuition after the applicant has exhausted both Federal VA Education Benefits under the GI Bill and VA Vocational Training funding. 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. Tuition assistance is based on need and funding availability.
In order to receive tuition assistance from the West Virginia Veterans Re-Education Act Fund, you must:
- Have Served in and been Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces
- Must have exhausted Federal benefits
West Virginia 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). In addition, persons assigned to full-time active military service in West Virginia and residing in the state shall be classified as in-state students for tuition and fee purposes. The Spouse and dependent children of such individuals shall also be classified as in-state students for tuition and fee purposes.
Housing: The following are the sites for Veterans Homes
Eligibility for admission:
- Honorably discharged residents of West Virginia for at least 30 days (or entered the service from West Virginia)
- Veterans who have served at least 12 months of active duty service
- Charges are based on income
Employment and Job Training: Veteran’s Preference
West Virginia Veterans Preference for State Jobs
All wartime veterans with an honorable discharge get five points added to their final score on the state employment test.
Those with a Purple Heart or VA disability get an additional five points.
Workforce West Virginia, Veteran Employment Assistance: Eligible Veterans are eligible to receive a priority in all employment and training programs and services. The Employment Service, a partner in the WorkForce West Virginia One-Stop Career Centers, is the delivery agent for U.S. Department of Labor-funded employment and training programs. Services are provided to all Veterans through a network of Job Service offices in West Virginia. Veterans and eligible persons meeting eligibility requirements may be referred to specific Veterans’ program staff for specialized services. Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists (DVOPS) are responsible for providing intensive services to qualified Veterans at the WorkForce center or itinerant site with a goal of long-term sustainable employment of the Veteran. Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVER) conduct outreach to employer and employer groups such as business, industry, and other community-based organizations by serving as an advocate for the hiring of Veterans.
West Virginia Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Program: The Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Program are 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.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protect civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of Reserve components. USERRA also makes major improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive the Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.
Burials and Memorials
Please note that your preference regarding burial in a national cemetery and use of a headstone provided by VA should be documented and kept with your paperwork and medical records. Eligibility for interment in the State Veterans Cemetery follows National Cemetery Administration eligibility requirements. Burial is free for veterans, spouses and dependent children pay a small fee.
National Cemeteries include:
Grafton: Grafton National Cemetery
Grafton: West Virginia National Cemetery
West Virginia VA Benefit Resources
West Virginia provides Veterans with a Regional Benefits Office and VA Medical Centers.
West Virginia VA Regional Benefits Office
- Huntington: Huntington Regional Office
West Virginia VA Medical Centers
- Beckley: Beckley VA Medical Center
- Clarksburg: Clarksburg – Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center
- Huntington: Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center
- Martinsburg: Martinsburg VA Medical Center
Important information for West Virginia Veteran Benefits:
For Veterans applying for VA benefits for the first time, you must submit a copy of your DD 214 (discharge paperwork). This will provide your discharge status, along with your full name, social security number, branch of service, and dates for which you served. Honorable and general discharges qualify a Veteran for most VA benefits.
You should always keep your paperwork, along with your medical records, in a safe place where you and your family can have access to them. It is imperative to have it in a location where it cannot be destroyed or tampered with, which includes a safe.
Your eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Any Veteran discharged from the military under the conditions of “Dishonorable” due to bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees may be eligible for certain VA benefits. VA regional offices can clarify the eligibility of prisoners, parolees, and individuals with multiple discharges issued under differing conditions.
*This information is accurate as of December 2019
West Virginia Veteran Benefits
If you are a disabled Veteran in West Virginia and are VA rated 90% or less, you may be eligible for additional benefits. Contact Veterans Guardian for a free consultation with no obligation. Let us review your claim to determine if you are eligible for an increase in VA compensation and whether you qualify for additional benefits.