Veteran Benefits in West Virginia

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2017
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More than 173,000 veterans live in West Virginia and their honorable service to the U.S. Armed Forces has earned them and their families a long list of benefits and access to special programs to make life after service healthier, more enjoyable, and more affordable.

If you are just getting started accessing your benefits, or need help filing or following up on a claim, a great place to start is one of the 16 field and claims offices maintained by the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance (WVDVA) and located throughout the state. Employees of these offices are trained to assist veterans and their dependents in applying for a variety of state and federal benefits, at no cost. Additionally, the state is home to a long list of veteran service organizations and community support programs that help veterans connect with their peers, work through important issues (such as employmentVeteran Benefits in West Virginia and homelessness), and find helpful information.

Accessing quality health care is always a top priority for veteran and their families and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains four main medical centers in Beckley, Clarksburg, Huntington, and Martinsburg. These facilities offer a wide range of primary and secondary care, along with surgical procedures and specialties, and unique programs designed to assist caregivers, returning veterans, female veterans, and veterans facing homelessness. Veterans can check their eligibility, make and reschedule appointments, and learn more about the billing process through the website for each center.

Additionally, veterans and their families can access health care closer to home though the Lenore VA Outpatient Clinic, along with 10 smaller community-based outpatient clinics throughout the state. These clinics work closely with the medical centers when referrals are needed. If a veteran needs assistance with transportation, West Virginia VA medical centers have access to state-owned vans used exclusively for the transportation of veterans to and from their VA medical appointments. This service is facilitated through the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, and any veteran who needs transportation to a VA medical appointment should contact the nearest VA Medical Center and ask for the DAV Volunteer Coordinator.

For West Virginia veterans looking to enjoy the many outdoor resources and recreation opportunities in the state, there are several benefits and programs offering discounts. For example, resident veterans with 100% service-connected disability, or those in receipt of a VA auto grant, may be eligible for free hunting and fishing privileges. You can download an application from the WVDVA website. Additionally, veterans and active duty military personnel are provided a year-round 10% discount on all standard lodge rooms, cabins, and campsites operated by West Virginia State Parks. More discounts and offers for veterans and military members are available seasonally.

Senior West Virginia veterans looking for long-term housing options may consider the West Virginia Veterans Home, located in the village of Barboursville, fifteen miles from downtown Huntington. This facility is reserved specifically for eligible veterans in need of a convenient and comfortable home, and who are ambulatory and independent in all activities of daily living. While the home is not a treatment facility and cannot accommodate veterans in need of daily care or skilled assistance, it does provide a nursing department and a contact physician as well transportation to the Huntington medical center three times daily. Up to 150 residents can occupy the home, and rooms accommodate two, three, or four persons. A person’s income is not a factor in gaining admission, although residents are required to contribute one-half of his or her monthly income as their maintenance contribution. Residents may leave on a pass for up to three days by simply signing a daily log sheet, and all residents are authorized up to 30 days of furlough per year. Visitation to the home is encouraged and visitors may enjoy a meal with the residents at a nominal fee. Assistance with applications for residency can be obtained through any of the WVDVA Field Offices or you may contact the Veterans Home directly at (304) 736-1027.

For West Virginia veterans needing full-time nursing care or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility in Clarksburg is a 100,000 square foot, 120-bed facility that utilizes the most advanced equipment and innovative designs to provide full-spectrum nursing home care. 40 private rooms are available including 20 private Alzheimer’s/Dementia (AD) Unit rooms. The facility is monitored 24/7 with indoor/outdoor security cameras, and two wheelchair capable buses are available to transport residents to medical appointments and recreational activities. The facility is attached to the Federal VA Medical Center, so emergency care is convenient, and the onsite staff includes a full-time physician and 24/7 Registered Nurse coverage. There is also an on-site pharmacist and pharmacy, 10 recreational assistants, a recreational director, and a full-time chaplain. You can contact the Nursing Facility at (304) 626-1600.

A veteran’s honorable service to his or her country earns full honors at the time of death at no cost to his or her family, including burial, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. In West Virginia, families of deceased veterans meeting certain financial need thresholds may be eligible for funds through The Jack Bennett Fund to help pay for the installation of the government-provided markers.

The Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery in Dunbar is a 354-acre facility designed to provide an honorable, dignified resting place for West Virginia’s cherished veterans and their closest family members. Throughout its lifetime, the cemetery will accommodate burial space for approximately 60,000 qualified individuals. Eligibility requirements are the same as national cemeteries, with burial services for veterans being provided for free. Additionally, West Virginia is home to two national veterans cemeteries, both located in Grafton, with the Grafton National Cemetery and the West Virginia National Cemetery.

West Virginia Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living

The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to West Virginia senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. Here is more information on how the Aid and Attendance benefit helps West Virginia veterans.

Written by Megan Hammons

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