CHAPTER 9A. VETERANS' AFFAIRS.
ARTICLE 1. DIVISION OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 1
§9A-1-1. Creation and general purposes.
(a) Effective July 1, 2011, the West Virginia Division of
Veterans' Affairs is redesignated the Department of Veterans'
(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'
WVC 9 A- 1 - 1 A
§9A-1-1a. Department of Veterans' Assistance; office of Secretary
of Department of Veterans' Assistance.
(a) The Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Assistance is
the chief executive officer of the department. Subject to the
requirements for the qualification and appointment of the secretary
provided in section four of this article, the Governor shall
appoint the secretary, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, for the term for which the Governor is elected and until a
successor shall have been appointed and qualified. The Secretary
shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor. Any
reference in this code to the Division of Veterans' Affairs or to
the Department of Veterans' Affairs means the Department of
Veterans' Assistance. Any reference in this code to the Director
of the Division of Veterans' Affairs means the Secretary of the
Department of Veterans' Assistance. As used in this chapter,
"secretary" means the Secretary of Veterans' Assistance and
"division" means Department of Veterans' Assistance.
(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
WVC 9 A- 1 - 1 B
§9A-1-1b. Powers and duties of the secretary.
(a) The secretary controls and supervises the department and
is responsible for the work of each department employee.
(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.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 1 C
§9A-1-1c. Reports by secretary.
The secretary shall report annually to the Governor concerning
the conduct of the department and make other reports as the
Governor may require.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 1 D
§9A-1-1d. Right of appeal from interference with functioning of
Any governmental entity may appeal to the Governor for review
upon a showing that application of the secretary's authority may
interfere with the successful functioning of that entity. The
Governor's decision controls on appeal.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 2
§9A-1-2. Veterans' Council; administration of department.
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, either Public Law No. 2 -- 73rd Congress, or
Public Law No. 346 -- 78th Congress, and amendments thereto.
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.
A secretary and such veterans' affairs officers, assistants
and employees as the secretary considers advisable, shall
administer the West Virginia Department of Veterans' Assistance.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 2 A
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 3
§9A-1-3. Appointment of veterans' council members; term of office;
The term of office of the members of the veterans' council is
six years, and members must be appointed by the governor by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate: Provided,
That upon the
expansion of the council from seven to nine members, the governor
shall initially appoint one new member for a term of four years and
shall initially appoint the other new member for a term of six
years. Thereafter the successors of these members shall be
appointed for the term of six years. In case of a vacancy in the
veterans' council, the appointment is for the remainder of the
unexpired term. A member of the veterans' council is subject to
removal by the governor for cause, but may have upon his or her own
request an open hearing before the governor on the complaints or
charges lodged against him or her. The action of the governor is
WVC 9 A- 1 - 4
§9A-1-4. Duties and functions of Veterans' Council; appointment of
secretary; honoring academic achievement at military
(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, 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
(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.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 5
§9A-1-5. Compensation of director, veterans' affairs officers,
assistants and employees; payment to Veterans'
Council members; traveling expenses; meetings of
The director 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. The salaries of the veterans' affairs officers,
assistants and employees shall be fixed by the Veterans' Council.
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. The
Veterans' Council shall hold its initial meeting on the call of the
Governor, and thereafter shall meet on the call of its chairman,
except as otherwise provided. With the exception of the first
three meetings of the Veterans' Council, none of which shall be of
a duration longer than two weeks each, for organizational purposes,
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. A majority of the
members of the Veterans' Council shall constitute a quorum for the
conduct of official business.
The members of the veterans' council, the director, and the
veterans' affairs officers, 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.
(a) The word, "veterans," shall be construed to mean any
person who shall have served in the armed forces of the United
States as defined in section one of this article.
(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.
The offices of the director shall be located at the state
capitol or other place provided in the capital city. The director
shall keep his offices open at all reasonable times for the
transaction of business. The offices and meeting place of the
veterans' council shall be in the offices of the director:
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.
§9A-1-9. Duties of division.
The division of veterans' affairs of West Virginia shall:
(1) Assist veterans, their widows, 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 division;
(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
(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, dependents and orphans.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 10
§9A-1-10. Powers and duties of director.
The director is the executive and administrative head of the
division 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 division;
(b) Prescribe methods pertaining to investigations and
reinvestigations of all claims and to the rights and interests of
all veterans, their widows, dependents and orphans;
(c) Prescribe uniform methods of keeping all records and case
records of the veterans, their widows, dependents and orphans;
(d) Sign and execute, in the name of the state by West
Virginia Division of Veterans' Affairs, and by and with the consent
of the Veterans' Council, any contract or agreement with the
federal government or its agencies, other states, subdivisions of
this state, corporations, associations, partnerships or
(e) Supervise the fiscal affairs and responsibilities of the
(f) Organize the division 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
(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 division;
(k) Prepare for the Veterans' Council the annual reports to
the Governor of the condition, operation and functioning of the
(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, 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 division;
(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 veterans' affairs officers and heads of
divisions of the division, 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
(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 division 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
director, except the power to sign and execute contracts and
agreements, but the director shall be responsible for the acts of
his or her appointees, assistants and employees; and
(q) Provide volunteers who will drive or transport veterans to
veterans' hospitals from the veteran's home or local veterans'
affairs offices and who shall be paid an expense per diem of
WVC 9 A- 1 - 11
§9A-1-11. Establishment of veterans facilities support fund;
There is hereby created in the state treasury a special
revenue fund to be designated and known as the veterans facilities
support fund. All interest or other returns earned on the
investment of the moneys in the fund shall be credited to the fund.
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. 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. 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. Funds from the veterans
facility support fund for operational costs will be distributed by
appropriation of the Legislature. 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 director of the division of veterans affairs
to the investment management board and the state treasurer in
accordance with the provisions of this section.
WVC 9 A- 1 - 11 A
§9A-1-11a. Establishment of Veterans Cemetery Fund.
There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special
revenue fund to be designated and known as the Veterans Cemetery
Fund which shall consist of excess revenues derived from the
veterans instant lottery scratch-off game as appropriated to the
fund by the Legislature and all interest or other returns earned
from investment of the fund. Funds may also be derived from any
gift, grant, bequest, endowed fund or donation which may be
received by any veterans cemetery created by statute from any
governmental entity or unit or any person, firm, foundation or
corporation. 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
§9A-1-12. Legal assistance.
The attorney general of the state and his assistants, and the
prosecuting attorneys of the various counties, shall render to the
veterans' council or director, without additional compensation,
such legal services as may be required in the discharge of the
provisions of this article.
§9A-1-13. Succession of offices and property.
Upon this article taking effect, the West Virginia department
of veterans' affairs shall have possession of and their shall be
transferred from the department of welfare and the office of the
state veterans' service officer to the department any unexpended
funds appropriated for the state veterans' service officer and all
the property, equipment, files, records and documents pertaining to
veterans, their widows, dependents and orphans.
§9A-1-14. Provisions severable.
The provisions of this article shall be construed as
severable, and should any section or part thereof be held
unconstitutional, or for any other reason invalid, the remaining
provisions shall not be affected thereby.
§9A-1-15. Acts repealed.
Article eight, chapter nine of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, and any and all amendments
thereto, and all acts, or parts of acts, general or special, in
conflict or inconsistent with or superseded by this article are
ARTICLE 2. STATE HOMES FOR VETERANS.
§9A-2-1. State homes for veterans.
In consultation with the governor and other appropriate state
agencies, the division of veterans' affairs shall establish and
maintain a home for qualified veterans. The home in Barboursville
shall be designated as the sole veterans home of its type in the
state. As used in this article the term "qualified veteran" means
a veteran as determined by the division of veterans' affairs, who
meets the requirements under federal regulations and laws.
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
§9A-2-2. Funds collected from the federal government; others
sources; use of funds.
The division of veterans' affairs is hereby authorized and
directed to receive moneys from the federal government, any agency
thereof, from state appropriations, from resident contributions or
from any other appropriate source, for the purpose of maintaining
the state veterans' home at Barboursville, which purpose shall
include, but not limited to, expenditures for improvement and
renovation of physical facilities, personal care costs and medical,
nursing and dental services.
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.
§9A-2-3. Powers of division of veterans' affairs.
The division of veterans' affairs is authorized and empowered
to establish rules and regulations providing for the tenure,
treatment, eligibility and discharge of eligible veterans at the
veterans' home. The rules shall be promulgated to ensure that the
division, in carrying out its duties, shall comply with all federal
requirements imposed on such a facility. Moreover, notwithstanding
any code provisions to the contrary, rules shall be promulgated
that: (1) Meet federal standards for domiciliary care; (2) define
domiciliary; (3) define admittance to comply with state and federal
requirements including current West Virginia resident or enlisted
in service from West Virginia, war time service or service during
a declared national emergency, Veterans Administration eligibility
requirements for per diem, honorably discharged, suffering from a
disability due to age, disease or defect that prevents them from
earning a living.
Acts, 1975 Reg. Sess., Ch. 211.
ARTICLE 3. STATE CEMETERY FOR VETERANS.
§9A-3-1. Department empowered to establish and maintain cemetery.
The department of veterans affairs is hereby empowered to
establish and maintain a state veterans' cemetery which shall be
centrally located within the state and easily accessible. Interment
in the state veterans' cemetery shall be available to all persons
who are residents and citizens of the state and who have served in
the armed forces of the United States, including the army, air
force, navy, marine corps and coast guard, and who have a discharge
other than dishonorable.
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
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.
§9A-3-2. Department to promulgate rules and regulations and make
The department shall promulgate rules and regulations not
inconsistent herewith for the administration of the veterans'
cemetery and shall make available to all persons eligible for the
benefit thereof the facilities at such cemetery upon request.
WVC 9 A- 4 -
ARTICLE 4. VETERANS EMPLOYMENT TRAINING PRIORITY.
WVC 9 A- 4 - 1
(a) The Legislature finds that West Virginia veterans
represent a strong and productive part of the workforce of this
state. They are frequently disadvantaged in their pursuit of
civilian employment as a result of military service and delayed
entry into the civilian labor market. It is, therefore, in the
public interest and welfare that veterans continue to be provided
the traditional priority of services in workforce development
programs administered under the provisions of the federal Workforce
Investment Act of 1998.
(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.
WVC 9 A- 4 - 2
(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; or
(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 such duty with an
(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
(c) "Reserve component" means any branch of the military which
is called up to active duty, 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.
WVC 9 A- 4 - 3
§9A-4-3. Program eligibility.
For a veteran to receive a priority in services designation
for a federal or state funded training program, the veteran shall
first meet the eligibility criteria and qualifications of the
WVC 9 A- 4 - 4
§9A-4-4. Application for priority of services.
A veteran shall make application for a priority of services
designation with the training provider by completing required
documentation and identifying to the satisfaction of the training
provider his or her eligibility in accordance with subsection (b),
section two of this article.
WVC 9 A- 4 - 5
§9A-4-5. Priority of services.
An eligible veteran who has applied for and received a
priority of services designation and who has otherwise met the
eligibility criteria for employment training through a federal or
state funded program shall be placed in a pool of eligible
applicants, ordered on the date of eligibility. If both veterans
and nonveterans are certified eligible on the same day, veterans
shall be afforded priority in enrollment in the following manner:
(A) First priority shall be awarded to service-connected
(B) Second priority shall be awarded to other eligible
(C) Third priority shall be awarded to nonveterans.
WVC 9 A- 4 - 6
§9A-4-6. Federal law.
Provisions of this article shall be superseded by federal laws
and regulations which are more stringent or which provide specific
veterans preference or priority of service relative to
administering employment and training programs.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session