(b) The purpose of the department is to aid, assist, counsel and advise, and to encourage competition among counties and municipalities to develop, improve and enhance veteran-friendly services, benefits and assistance to, veterans who have served in and been honorably discharged or separated under honorable conditions from the Armed Forces of the United States and their widows, widowers and dependents, including populations of veterans who may have special needs as a result of homelessness, incarceration or physical or mental disabilities.
(c) All references in this code to the West Virginia Division
of Veterans' Affairs and the Director of the West Virginia Division
of Veterans' Affairs shall mean the Department of Veterans'
Assistance and the Secretary of the Department of Veterans'
(b) The department may receive federal funds.
(c) The secretary serves at the will and pleasure of the
Governor. The annual compensation of the secretary shall be as
specified in section two-a, article seven, chapter six of this
(b) The secretary has the power and authority specified in this article, in article two, chapter five-f of this code and as otherwise specified in this chapter.
(c) The secretary may employ staff, assistants and employees as necessary for the efficient operation of the department.
(d) The secretary may delegate his or her powers and duties to
assistants and employees, but the secretary is responsible for all
official acts of the department.
(a) There is continued the "Veterans' Council" consisting of nine members who must be citizens and residents of this state and who have served in and been honorably discharged or separated under honorable conditions from the Armed Forces of the United States and whose service was within a time of war as defined by the laws of the United States.
(b) Where feasible, two members of the council shall be veterans of either World War II or the Korean Conflict, at least two members of the council shall be veterans of the Vietnam era, at least one member shall be a veteran of the first Gulf War and at least one member shall be a veteran of the Afghanistan or Iraqi Conflicts. The members of the veterans' council shall be selected with special reference to their ability and fitness to effectuate the purposes of this article. If an eligible veteran is not available or cannot be selected, a veteran who is a citizen and resident of this state, who served in and was honorably discharged or separated under honorable conditions from the Armed Forces of the United States and who served during any time of war or peace may be selected.
(c) The secretary and such officers, assistants and employees
as the secretary considers advisable, shall administer the West
Virginia Department of Veterans' Assistance.
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.
(a) It is the duty and function of The Veterans' Council to advise the secretary on the general administrative policies of the department, to select, at their first meeting in each fiscal year commencing on July 1, a chairperson to serve one year, to advise the secretary on rules as may be necessary, to advise the Governor and the Legislature with respect to legislation affecting the interests of veterans, their widows, widowers, dependents and orphans and to make annual reports to the Governor respecting the service of the department. The secretary has the same eligibility and qualifications prescribed for members of the Veterans' Council. The secretary ex officio shall maintain all records of the Veterans' Council.
(b) The Veterans' Council may annually honor each West
Virginian graduating from the U. S. Military Academy, the U. S.
Naval Academy, the U. S. Air Force Academy and the U. S. Coast
Guard Academy with the highest grade point average by bestowing
upon him or her the West Augusta Award. The award shall be in a
design and form established by the council and include the famous
Revolutionary War phrase from which the award's name is derived:
"Once again our brethren from West Augusta have answered the call
to duty." The council shall coordinate the manner of recognition of the recipient at graduation ceremonies with each academy.
(a) The secretary shall receive an annual salary as provided in section two-a, article seven, chapter six of this code and necessary traveling expenses incident to the performance of his or her duties.
(b) The members of the Veterans' Council shall receive no salary, but each member shall receive the same compensation and expense reimbursement as is paid to members of the Legislature for their interim duties as recommended by the Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission and authorized by law for each day or portion thereof engaged in the discharge of official duties. The requisition for such expenses and traveling expenses shall be accompanied by a sworn and itemized statement, which shall be filed with the Auditor and permanently preserved as a public record.
(c) The Veterans' Council shall meet on the call of its chairman, except as otherwise provided.
(d) The Veterans' Council shall meet not more than once every two months at such times as may be determined by and upon the call of the chairman for a period of not more than two days, unless there should be an emergency requiring a special meeting or for a longer period and so declared and called by the Governor or by the chairman with the approval of the Governor.
(e) A majority of the members of the Veterans' Council in office shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of official
The members of the Veterans' Council, the secretary and the
officers of the department shall take and subscribe to the oath
prescribed by article four, section five of the state Constitution
before entering on their duties. Their oaths shall be filed with
the Secretary of State.
(b) The term, "federal agency," shall mean any agency, department or bureau created and established by the act of Congress, or executive order of the president of the United States.
(c) The word or term, "administrator," shall be construed to designate and refer to the administrator of veterans' affairs of the United States.
(d) The term or words, "federal act," shall mean any law of the United States.
(a) The offices of the secretary shall be located at the state capitol or other place provided in the capital city. The secretary shall keep his or her offices open at all reasonable times for the transaction of business.
(b) The offices and meeting place of the Veterans' Council
shall be in the offices of the secretary: Provided, That the
Veterans' Council with the approval of the Governor may hold
meetings at other places but not outside of this state, except in
the District of Columbia.
The department of veterans' assistance shall:
(1) Assist veterans, their widows, widowers, dependents and orphans within the state, in properly presenting their claims before the United States Veterans' Administration, its administrator, or any federal agency, the State of West Virginia, or any of the several states of the United States, when the claims arise out of service with the armed forces of the United States as defined in section one of this article;
(2) Contact all veterans' organizations in this state through their duly elected or appointive officers to effectuate the purposes of this article and aid in the efficiency of the operations of the department;
(3) Render all possible and proper advice, assistance and counsel to veterans, their families, and their widows, dependents and orphans, within the state, and furnish them information on compensation, allowances, pensions, insurance, rehabilitation, hospitalization, education, vocational training, or refresher or retraining courses in education or training, employment, loans or aid for the purchase, acquisition or construction of homes, farms, farm equipment and business property, preference in the purchase of property and preference in employment, as provided or may be provided by any federal act, any federal agency, this state or other states;
(4) Make careful inquiry into all claims presented for payment
out of the State Treasury from any appropriation made for the
benefit of veterans, their widows, widowers, dependents and
The secretary is the executive and administrative head of the department and has the power and duty, subject to the provisions of section four of this article, to:
(a) Supervise and put into effect the purposes and provisions of this article and the rules for the government of the department;
(b) Prescribe methods pertaining to investigations and reinvestigations of all claims and to the rights and interests of all veterans, their widows, widowers, dependents and orphans;
(c) Prescribe uniform methods of keeping all records and case records of the veterans, their widows, widowers, dependents and orphans;
(d) Sign and execute, in the name of the state by West Virginia Department of Veterans' Assistance, any contract or agreement with the federal government or its agencies, other states, subdivisions of this state, corporations, associations, partnerships or individuals;
(e) Supervise the fiscal affairs and responsibilities of the department;
(f) Organize the department to comply with the requirements of this article and with the standards required by any federal act or any federal agency;
(g) Establish any regional or area offices throughout the state that are necessary to promote efficiency and economy in administration;
(h) Make reports that comply with the requirements of any federal act or federal agency and the provisions of this article;
(i) Cooperate with the federal and state governments for the more effective attainment of the purposes of this article;
(j) Keep a complete and accurate record of all proceedings; record and file all contracts and agreements and assume responsibility for the custody and preservation of all papers and documents pertaining to his or her office and the department;
(k) Prepare for the Veterans' Council the annual reports to the Governor of the condition, operation and functioning of the department;
(l) Exercise any other powers necessary and proper to standardize the work; to expedite the service and business; to assure fair consideration of the rights and interests and claims of veterans, their widows, widowers, dependents and orphans; to provide resources for a program which will promote a greater outreach to veterans and which will advise them of the benefits and services that are available; and to promote the efficiency of the department;
(m) Invoke any legal, equitable or special remedies for the enforcement of his or her orders or the provisions of this article;
(n) Appoint the officers and heads of divisions of the department, and of regional or area offices, and employ assistants and employees, including case managers and counselors, that are necessary for the efficient operation of the department;
(o) Provide resources and assistance in the development of an Internet website which is to be used to inform veterans of programs and services available to them through the department and the state and federal governments;
(p) Delegate to all or any of his or her appointees, assistants or employees all powers and duties vested in the secretary, except the power to sign and execute contracts and agreements: Provided, That the secretary shall be responsible for the acts of his or her appointees, assistants and employees; and
(q) Award grants, in his or her discretion, subject to available appropriations, to provide for the transportation of veterans to veterans' hospitals from the veteran's home or local Veterans' Assistance offices.
(r) Enter into an agreement with the Commissioner of the
Department of Agriculture to transfer without consideration all or
part of the approximately seventeen acres of the Department of
Agriculture property in Beckley, West Virginia, located adjacent to
the Jackie Withrow Hospital which was formerly known as Pinecrest
Hospital, for construction of a veterans skilled nursing facility.
(a) There is continued in the State Treasury a special revenue fund to be designated and known as the Veterans Facilities Support Fund which shall be administered by the secretary.
(b) All interest or other returns earned on the investment of the moneys in the fund shall be credited to the fund.
(c) Funds paid into the account shall be derived from the following sources: (1) Any gift, grant, bequest, endowed fund or donation which may be received by any veterans facility created by statute from any governmental entity or unit or any person, firm, foundation or corporation; and (2) All interest or other return on investment accruing to the fund.
(d) Moneys in the fund are to be used for the operational costs of any veterans facility created by statute, the acquisition, design, construction, equipping, furnishing, including, without limitation, the payment of debt service on bonds issued to finance the foregoing and/or as otherwise designated or specified by the donor.
(e) Any balance, including accrued interest or other earnings, in this special fund at the end of any fiscal year shall not revert to the General Revenue Fund but shall remain in the fund.
(f) Funds from the Veterans Facility Support Fund for operational costs of any veterans' facility as defined in this section will be distributed by appropriation of the Legislature.
(g) Funds from the Veterans Facility Support Fund for the
acquisition, design, construction, equipping, furnishing,
including, without limitation, the payment of debt service on bonds
issued to finance the veterans nursing home shall be transferred to
the Veterans Nursing Home Building Fund upon written request of the
The Attorney General of the state and his or her assistants,
and the prosecuting attorneys of the various counties, shall render
to the Veterans' Council or secretary, such legal services as may
be required in the discharge of the provisions of this article.
Acts, 2014 Reg. Sess., Ch. 186.
Acts, 2014 Reg. Sess., Ch. 186.
Acts, 2014 Reg. Sess., Ch. 186.
Any individual enlisting for the first time on or after the eighth day of September, one thousand nine hundred eighty, who fails to complete at least twenty-four months of his or her enlistment is not eligible for any right, privilege or benefit for which eligibility is based on active duty in the armed forces. This provision does not apply when a person: (a) Is discharged because of hardship; (b) is retired or separated because of disability; or (c) is later determined to have a service connected disability incurred during a completed period of enlistment.
In the event that a residential vacancy exists at any veterans home or facility created and established pursuant to this article, a veteran who has been a resident of the state of West Virginia for one year or more prior to filing for admission shall be given preference in filling such residential vacancy over nonresident veterans.
The money so collected shall be placed in special accounts according to the source of funds and limitation on the use of the funds. These accounts shall be administered by the director of the West Virginia division of veterans' affairs. These funds shall be deposited in the state treasury and paid out only on such vouchers as may be authorized and approved by the director of the West Virginia division of veterans' affairs, in the same manner and under the same restrictions as are now provided by law for the disbursement of funds by that division. These funds shall only be used as directed or restricted by the source of the funds.
Acts, 1975 Reg. Sess., Ch. 211.
Further, the department of veterans affairs is hereby granted authority to acquire and transfer real property to the United States veterans administration contingent upon the utilization of such real property by that federal agency for the establishment of a new national cemetery or for the expansion of an existing national cemetery.
For the purposes set forth in this article the department of veterans affairs is hereby authorized to receive funds by gift, grant, appropriation or by any other means from any source available or to become available.
(b) The purpose of this article is to require all federal and state funded employment and training programs offered within West Virginia to adopt a written policy providing priority of service to veterans of the United States military over other individuals seeking employment and training services.
(a) "Eligible veteran" means a person who:
(1) Served on active duty and was discharged or released from active duty with an honorable discharge or because of a service connected disability;
(2) As a member of a reserve component under an order to active duty, served on active duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge or ribbon is authorized and was discharged or released from duty with an honorable discharge; or
(3) Served as a member of a National Guard or Reserve component and completed his or her military obligation and received an honorable discharge from the National Guard or Reserve component or was discharged from the National Guard or Reserve component because of a service connected disability.
(b) "Priority of service" means the right to priority in any employment or training program offered citizens of West Virginia which is funded, in whole or in part, through federal or state moneys.
(c) "Reserve component" means any branch of the military, including any military defense forces.
(d) "Training program" means a program that provides training leading to qualification for employment, or improved skills, or both, funded, in whole or in part, through the workforce investment act or another federal or state act administered through the state and having as its primary purpose workforce development.
(e) "Training provider" means any private or public entity
which has been certified by competent authority to provide training
funded by federal or state funds appropriated in the budget under
the jobs training partnership act or another federal or state act
having as its primary purpose workforce development.
(A) First priority shall be awarded to service-connected disabled veterans;
(B) Second priority shall be awarded to other eligible veterans;
(C) Third priority shall be awarded to nonveterans.