Serving Veterans in the Commonwealth

That is our mission, our job, and our privilege. We work every day to make sure Kentucky's 295,000 veterans and their families receive all the benefits and services they have earned. Here you will find information on benefits counseling, skilled long-term care at state veterans centers, dignified interment at state veterans cemeteries, health care, education, employment and special programs for women veterans, homeless veterans and others. 

ATTENTION:  Starting Monday, May 11, and until further notice, there is reduced access to Veterans Benefits Representatives due to COVID-19 requirements. Staff have been reassigned to help reduce the backlog of Unemployment Insurance Claims.  KDVA Benefits staff will still be returning calls and filing claims, but there may be delays and wait times.  We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

 Patriot Day

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It feels hard to believe that it has been almost two decades since the terrorist attacks on New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

Particularly this September 11, in the middle of a global pandemic, it might be difficult to turn our concentration away from our own concerns.

But today we may find courage and inspiration in the memory of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

On that day we learned new respect for First Responders: their bravery, their sacrifice, their service in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

On that day we learned new humility that the United States of America is not as physically safe from the hatred and wars that rage overseas, that our oceans no longer protect us.

On that day we learned we are stronger and more resilient than we think, and Americans will always rise to overcome catastrophe.

Lower your flags in remembrance today, and raise them in pride and hope for the future.

For a Better Kentucky.

Keith Jackson
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Commissioner, KDVA

 Celebrating Those Who WorK

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On Labor Day, we recognize, honor and celebrate the labor of the peoplewho work. People whose labor moves our nation forward economically, socially, militarily and diplomatically.

Veterans know what it means to work hard, to accomplish a goal, to take pride in a hard job well done.

As veterans we understand and appreciate the sacrifice and selflessness of essential workers during this pandemic.

And we celebrate the patriotic sacrifice of people scaling back and adjusting our Labor Day holiday plans to ensure we protect ourselves, our families, our neighbors and our community from the ongoing pandemic.

As veterans take this time to rest, please also reflect on your hard work in uniform and how to you continue that service in the work you do for your community.

Over the holiday, enjoy the benefits of your work. Use this time to recharge and begin anew.

For a Better Kentucky.

Keith Jackson
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Commissioner, KDVA

 Trust Her to Find Answers: Women Veterans Call Center

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Calling All Women Who Served in the United States Military!

Do you know your Veteran status? Do you have a Veteran ID card? Should you receive any benefits from VA, like the GI Bill? Do you know what health care benefits you have earned? If you do not know the answer to even one of these questions, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established the Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) just for you.

The WVCC staff is trained to provide women Veterans, their families, and caregivers about VA services and resources. We are ready to respond to your concerns. The call is free, and you can call as often as you like until you have the answers to your questions. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. ET, and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. ET.

Call, Chat, or Text Now Available.

 Alternatives to In-Person Service at KDVA

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In accordance with the COVID-19 guidance issued by Gov. Beshear restricting in-person service by state government agencies, KDVA has established website, phone and email alternatives to maintain services to Kentucky’s veterans and their families.

Department of Veterans Affairs The Office of the Commissioner in Frankfort is closed to in-person meetings. For more information and updates on KDVA services, visit or call 502-564-9203.

Benefits Assistance Field offices and outstations are closed to in-person meetings. Communicate with Veterans Benefits Field Representatives (VBFRs) by Skype, FaceTime, phone or email. Locate the benefit representative for your county at, or call or email Donna Scrivener, 502-330-5724,

Veterans Centers (Skilled Nursing Facilities) All Kentucky Veterans Centers are closed to visitors. Exceptions are allowed for immediate family members regarding end-of-life circumstances. All personnel entering these facilities will be screened before entering. Call the center directly for specific details. Find contact information for each center at, or call or email Mark Bowman at 859-553-9359,

Veterans Cemeteries The administrative office of all Kentucky Veteran Cemeteries are closed to in-person meetings. Exceptions are authorized only for next of kin, or persons authorized to direct disposition of remains. Visitors to gravesites are authorized, but are limited to small groups of 10 or less while practicing social distancing. Attendance at funeral services is restricted to immediate family only. Call the cemetery directly for specific details or to schedule an appointment by next of kin. Find contact information at, or call or email Al Duncan at 502-229-2718,

Homeless Veterans Emergency Assistance For assistance with utility cut off notices, eviction notices, or temporary housing, call, FaceTime, or email Eileen Ward at 502-352-3120,

Employment Assistance For assistance with unemployment insurance and other resources for furloughed veterans, or small veteran-owned businesses needing assistance information, call, FaceTime, or email April Brown at 502-234-4854,

Family Assistance Program For veterans or families facing difficulty dealing with isolation or needing other assistance, call, FaceTime, or email Candace Bradley at 502-545-4193,

#COVID19 #TeamKentucky #OurKYHome #TogetherKY

Keith Jackson
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Commissioner, KDVA

 Complete the Census: Every Person Counted Counts

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Next to voting, completing the Census may be the most important thing you do as a citizen this year.

The Census touches almost every part of your life - from how many potholes get filled on your street to who represents you on city council. But sometimes people don’t get counted. That means their voice isn’t part of these decisions.

In 2020, we’re working to make sure that everyone gets counted when the time comes.

We are encouraging every veteran to make sure they are counted. Make sure your service gets reflected in the census. A complete and accurate census count helps both the federal VA and the Commonwealth of Kentucky know where to place services to ensure Kentucky’s veterans have access to the care and services they’ve earned and deserve.

Knowing your age, gender and general location ensures we put the right services in the right place. Like a women’s health clinic, a community clinic or a veterans center. Census day is April 1, 2020, but you can respond online starting in March.

Look for a mailing around mid-March with information on how to take the survey. All census data is confidential. Answers are not shared with anyone.

Complete the Census. You count. Make sure you are counted.

Keith Jackson
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Commissioner, KDVA

 Honoring Kentucky's African-American Veterans

Kentucky is proud to be the home of the most decorated African-American veteran of the U.S. military.

Colonel Charles Young was a 19th-century military officer and diplomat. He was the third African-American graduate of the United States Military Academy, the first black US National Park Superintendent, first black military attaché, first black man to achieve the rank of colonel in the United States Army, and highest-ranking black officer in the regular army until his death in 1922.

On Feb. 11, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear will honor Col. Charles Young by promoting him to Brigadier General in the State Guard. The event will take place at 11 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.

Young was born into slavery at the end of the Civil War in Mays Lick, Kentucky, near Maysville. He entered West Point on competitive examination in 1884, and quickly showed a flair for languages. He graduated in 1889 as a 2nd Lieutenant after enduring years of extreme hazing and harassment because of the color of his skin.

He volunteered for service in the Spanish American War and was given command of an all-black regiment, but the war ended before they deployed. Nevertheless, he was the first African-American to command such a large unit of soldiers.

He served at posts in the West and became the first African-American Superintendent of a National Park. He served overseas in Mexico, Haiti, Liberia and the Philippines, reaching the rank of Colonel by 1917 – the first African-American to do so. He taught military science at colleges and wrote a prescient book about how democratic societies affect the military service of minorities.

But his deserved deployment in World War I and promotion to Brigadier General was denied to him because of his race. While he always commanded black troops, as Brigadier General he would have had white officers under his command. Southern officers vociferously objected, and the military denied Young his final service.

Young’s story reflects both the obstacles facing African-American service members and veterans and how extraordinary efforts and determination can achieve respect and overcome bigotry.

On Nov. 11, 2018, Veterans Day, city and state leaders unveiled the Colonel Charles Young Veterans Memorial in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville. It stands at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage at 18th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

In this Black History Month, it is appropriate that we honor Colonel Charles Young by honoring our African-American veterans still serving their nation today.

Keith Jackson
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Commissioner, KDVA

 Holiday Message from KDVA Commissioner Keith L. Jackson

Last week I began a journey into what I consider to be one of the greatest service opportunities anyone could ever experience. Serving those who have served this Nation and this Commonwealth with dignity, pride and patriotism. Our mission simply put is to support, educate, and provide services to veterans their families and dependents. I have seen dedication to this mission in every person I have met within our agency thus far. Their professionalism is beyond reproach; their positive attitude is infectious to all they come in contact with; their compassion for the veterans and their families is a part of the DNA of this organization.

We often look for the “BIG SPLASHY” acts of kindness of service or devotion by which we can prove our love for one another, when it is the smallest acts of service that go unnoticed which are the ones that are the most rewarding. Those are what I have seen in the cemeteries, nursing homes, benefits representatives and support staff. The “Thank You” is in the giving of one’s self in an altruistic way. By the nature of what we do in the giving of our talents to the veteran community we touch all aspects of the Commonwealth in some form or fashion.

We are an organization that provides support, guidance, perspective, care and love to those that were willing to sacrifice life and limb for this nation and its freedom. So as we begin this journey into 2020 I want to say “THANK YOU” to all KDVA staff for their service, each of them from housekeeping and food service to the Deputy Commissioner. All of them are amazing individually and collectively outstanding. They have done and are doing magnificent things to insure every veteran they touch has an opportunity to receive benefits and services in times of need. We want to make sure that every veteran family knows that they will find respect, devotion and the highest levels of care and service from the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.

I am overjoyed, excited and enthusiastic about this opportunity to continue this mission of caring for our veterans and their families. I am looking forward to meeting each and every one of our exceptional employees over the next few months. I may not remember every name but I will never forget a face or lose the connection we will establish over time. God Bless you all, this Commonwealth and the United States of America.

Keith Jackson
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Commissioner, KDVA

 Happy 363rd Birthday, National Guard

You read that right. The National Guard, including all state units, is three hundred and eighty-three years young today.

We recognize December 13th as the birthday of the National Guard. On this date in 1636, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts. Based upon an order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's General Court, the colony's militia was organized into three permanent regiments to better defend the colony. Today, the descendants of these first regiments - the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military. December 13, 1636, thus marks the beginning of the organized militia, and the birth of the National Guard's oldest organized units is symbolic of the founding of all the state, territory, and District of Columbia militias that collectively make up today's National Guard.

This date is recognized based upon the Department of Defense’s practice of adopting the dates of initial authorizing legislation for organized units as the birthdates of the active and reserve components of the armed services.

The Kentucky National Guard, like other state National Guards, has been known under various names such as state militia or state guard. It has the distinction of being one of the oldest military forces in the United States. Its history dates back to 1775 when Kentucky was known as Fincastle County, a part of western Virginia. The fundamental concept of a state or local military organization has existed since 1636, when the Colony of Massachusetts formed a regiment of “Trained Bands.”

Throughout her history, Kentucky has cherished the tradition of rendering military duty with zeal when called upon. Kentucky’s history teams with incidents of self-sacrifice unsurpassed in daring and achievement. Kentuckians have answered the call to arms in all wars of our country.

Since its inception, the Kentucky National Guard has not only stood ready as an alert fighting force ready to defend Kentucky and the United States against those who would destroy our democratic way of life but this voluntary citizens Army has also served in times of national disaster. The skill and proficiency with which the Guard has served Kentucky further contributes to the fact that it is, and will continue to be, a necessary and indispensable organization for the continuing existence of the Commonwealth.

To see the more of the rich and distinguished history of the Kentucky National Guard please Click Here.

Keith Jackson
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Commissioner, KDVA

 KYVets Employment Program

Call or email Dean Stoops at 502-564-9203,

small CommemorativePartnerLogo_Final_10-3-12 ai.png Spotlight: Veterans Benefits and Services
KDVA proudly offers FREE benefits assistance, including filing claims and appeals, by our 18 Veterans Benefits Field Representatives to veterans in every county of the Commonwealth. Our benefits experts are fully accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and take pride in obtaining every benefit and service veterans have earned.


Two Ways to Stay Informed:

Sign up for text alerts.  We send these no more than two or three times per week, always to call attention to imminent events of interest to veterans.  Text Follow kyveterans to 40404.

Join the KDVA listserve. We send no more than two or three emails per day about events and issues importatnt to veterans. If you wish to be added to the listserve, please email


​News & Events

Become a Vietnam War Commemorative Partner 
Join more than 100 Kentucky communities and organizations.
Find out how your town, country, group, business or club can honor local Vietnam Veterans and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting
May 10, 6:00 PM Jackson Energy Cooperative, 177 Barbourville Road, London. Attendees will learn more about the effects of Agent Orange onveterans who served in Vietnam and the possible effects on their children. For more information, contact Mr. David Cowherd, President VVA Chapter 1051 at

Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky Annual Program
May 11, 11:00 AM South Oldham High School, 5901 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Crestwood. Join with other patriotic Kentuckians to honor our nation’s finest--veterans and those still serving in America’s Armed
Forces. Keynote speakers include BG (Ret.) Benjamin Adams Jr., Commissioner, Kentucky
Department of Veterans Affairs and former Miss America Heather French Henry. The event will
recognize and honor Gold Star Families. For more information, contact Mrs. Ann Helton,
Secretary, Board of Directors, VMPKY at 502-243-9998 or via email at

Veterans Resources United of Central/Southeastern Kentucky (VRUCK) Meeting
May 16 3:00 PM  Eastside Library, 3000 Blake James Drive, Lexington. Meeting is open to
anyone interested in attending. VSO’s, veterans, and friends are welcomed to attend! VRUCK’s
purpose is to bridge the gap between veterans and the many different programs and resources
that support them to ensure veterans and their families know what services are available to them!
For more information, contact Phyllis Abbott at 859-806-4297 or via email at 

Warrior to Soul Mate Workshop
May 17-18 6:00PM-9:00PM Warrior to Soul Mate Workshop. Robley Rex VA Medical
Center, Room E005, 800 Zorn Avenue, Louisville. Day 2 will be from 9:00AM-4:00PM. This 9-
hour workshop is available for any veteran couple to attend. One of the partners needs to be a
veteran enrolled in VA care. They do not need to be involved in MH to attend. Warrior to Soul
Mate offers practical tools to create, nurture, restore and rekindle relationships in a safe, fun,
friendly environment. Research shows that often veterans experience relationship problems and
many of them decide to divorce before they even talk with a therapist. Divorce can be
devastating for the veteran and family members. These VA workshops provide education about
practical skills to strengthen marriages and families. The workshop will take place in a group
setting, with instructors, over a Friday evening and during the day on Saturday. Instructors are
skilled, perceptive, effective facilitators from different disciplines. They will teach communication skills, relationship skills, and emotional literacy skills to couples. Facilitators have been trained and certified. To register or obtain more information, contact Brittany Priddy at or 502-287-4913. 

2019 Memorial Day Vigil
May 25 12:00 Noon Waterfront Park, Louisville. Hosted by Flags4Vets. Adult and children volunteers are needed to place 15,000 veteran grave flags on the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park. For more information, contact Mr. Fred Moore, Executive Director at email or call 502-931-0374.

24-Hour VA Crisis Hotline

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