The state of Virginia offers a number of benefits to veterans in addition to those programs offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These state benefits are administered by the Department of Veterans Services in Richmond. Here are the main benefits offered by DVS.
Military Survivors and Dependents Program
The Military Survivors and Dependents Program (MSDEP) offers educational benefits to spouses and children of active duty service members who were killed, became MIA or POW, or are 90% or more disabled due to service-connected disabilities incurred during an armed conflict. (Armed conflict includes operations related to terrorism or a peace-keeping mission. Active duty service members means members of the Armed Forces Reserves, the Virginia National Guard, or the Virginia National Guard Reserves.)
The MSDEP program waives tuition and fees at Virginia colleges or universities that receive state support. This benefit is available for four years of education.
A child has to be at least 16 and no older than 29 to qualify for free tuition. A spouse can be any age. The service member must meet one of the following residency requirements.
The service member must have been a Virginia citizen at the time of entry into service, or
The service member must have lived in Virginia for five years or more preceding the time of college application, or
- If the service member is deceased, the surviving spouse must have lived in Virginia for five years or more preceding the time of marriage to the service member or must have been a citizen of Virginia for five years preceding the time of college application.
How to Apply
Complete the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program Application. Once you are approved for the program, you must certify your eligibility for each year in which you are claiming benefits. You can do this by sending a letter to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services that states:
- the period you have been attending a college or university so far, and
- that you are still enrolled and the time period for which you are requesting continued benefits.
Learn More About the Program
Read the program FAQs, call (540) 561-6625, or write to the program at
1351 Hershberger Road, N.W.
Roanoke, VA 24012.
Vets on Campus
Virginia offers online resources for disabled veterans who want to make the transition to college but need support. The Vets on Campus website provides information about college such as how to obtain your VA education benefits, how to apply for school, and how to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while in school.
A series of videos on the Vets for Campus website feature veterans talking about how they managed to get into college and do well in their studies.
Visit the Vets on Campus website to take advantage of these resources.
Honorary Diplomas for Veterans
Virginia offers honorary high school diplomas to veterans who could not complete their high school education due to service in World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.
To receive your honorary diploma, write a statement about the last school you attended and where it was located, explain that you weren’t able to complete high school after you came home, and describe your military service. A family member or veterans service officer can also write this statement for you. Submit the statement to:
Veterans Honorary High School Diploma Program
Virginia Department of Education
P. O. Box 2120
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120
For more information, call the Department of Education at (804) 225-2924.
The Virginia Employment Commission offers job hunting assistance to veterans. At most VEC offices, Disabled Veterans Outreach Program staff and Veterans Employment Representatives are available to provide assistance with job placement. This includes assistance with placement in a federal job for which you may have hiring preference as a veteran. Visit the Veterans website of the Virginia Employment Commission to learn more about the available services and the location of offices.
Virginia also offers a special job search website for veterans, the job board. Employers who want to hire veterans post available positions on the job board.
Virginia Wounded Warrior Program
Virginia provides a Wounded Warrior Program for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury. The goal of the program is to connect injured veterans with brain injury resources and other services from both government and private providers. Services are available at offices and/or online.
Those eligible for services include:
- Virginia residents who have served in the military
- Virginia National Guard members (even if not on federal duty)
- Virginia residents in the Armed Forces Reserves (even if not on federal duty, and
- family members of any of the above.
- evaluation of personal and family needs
- information about healthcare, veterans benefits, employment assistance, and housing programs
- support from veterans serving as peer specialists as well as other staff
- support groups for veterans and their families, and
- help for veterans in jail who are preparing to come home.
To access these services, you can visit one of the Wounded Warrior regional offices or call 877-285-1299
Nursing Home Care for Veterans
Virginia offers two veterans care facilities, the Virginia Veterans Care Center and the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center (named for two medal of honor recipients).
The Virginia Veterans Care Center is available for resident veterans who were honorably discharged. For information and to find out if you are eligible to receive an application, call (540) 982-2860 ext. 410.
The Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center is available for honorably discharged military veterans who are current Virginia residents and satisfy medical criteria for nursing care. For more information, call (804) 371-8000.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Virginia offers lifetime licenses to veterans who are Virginia residents and are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected conditions. Lifetime hunting, fishing and trapping licenses are available for $10.
Veterans with at least a 70% service-connected disability can buy a hunting license at half price. Non-resident veterans can by a non-resident hunting license at half price.
License applications can be found online or at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offices.
For information about other benefits, see the directory of resources available to veterans in Virginia or contact the Virginia Department of Veterans Services at (804) 786-0286. You can also write to the Department at:
900 E. Main Street
Richmond VA 23219.