Veterans Day is upon us, and we should honor and celebrate those who served this country. Although Veterans Day is an important reminder to honor those who have served and engaged in conflict, we should use it as a supplemental way to celebrate our veterans, who we should honor every day of the year.
But what is the best way to honor our veterans? Although parades, plaques and awards are well-deserved, as a society, we can — and should — do more. The best way we can truly honor our veterans is by ensuring that their needs and the needs of their families are taken care of to the best of our ability. And that is the core mission of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance.
The Department works to connect veterans with services and benefits they may not be accessing. We do not want our veterans to leave any benefits on the table, so we strive to explain every option available. In 2007, the Department brought in around $900 million worth of benefits to veterans living in West Virginia, and in 2021, that amount topped $2.5 billion.
We connect our veterans to both federal and state benefits. These benefits include, but aren’t limited to, disability compensation, non-service-connected disability pensions, VA survivors’ pensions, Montgomery and post-911 GI Bills, vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits, as well as dependency and indemnity compensation, Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Veterans Affairs and even burial benefits.
At the state level, these benefits include tax waivers, employment, veteran license plates, hunting and fishing licenses and financial assistance.
We have more than 140,000 veterans living in the Mountain State. They have served in peacetime and war, and veterans living in this state have served in World War II and every conflict thereafter. They come from all age groups and generations of war.
Read more about Veterans benefits: Offering Support For Our Aging Veterans
To assist veterans across our state, our Department maintains 15 benefits offices where staff meet with veterans to address their needs at no charge to the veteran.
The recently passed PACT Act adds health care and compensation for several new presumptive conditions that were not previously covered for Vietnam veterans and veterans of more recent wars. This makes it even more critical that veterans make an appointment for a benefits consultation in one of our offices.
To help address homelessness, the Department operates the WV Veterans Home in Barboursville. This 150-bed facility is a comfortable home for veterans in their time of need. It is considered one of the country’s finest facilities for homeless veterans, and we take great pride in it. Veterans Day reminds us of the importance of the benefits we bring to our veterans.
The best way to honor our veterans is to appreciate them at all times, not just on Veterans Day. There are many opportunities to volunteer your time to help veterans. Contact one of our Veteran Service Officers at a Benefits Office to find out more. You can find the closest Benefits Office here: https://veterans.wv.gov/field-office/Pages/default.aspx.