In an effort to attract well qualified, disciplined, and hardworking employees, the Legislature offers to veterans of the United States military up to five years of military service credit toward their retirement as an incentive for them to work for the State. Unfortunately, for many years, the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board denied such worthy veterans the military service credits mandated by statute. In particular, veterans who are State employees and who honorably served in the United States military between July 1, 1973, and September 10, 2001, were routinely denied military service credits for service provided during this time period.
The law firm of DiTrapano, Barrett, DiPiero, McGinley & Simmons, PLLC was approached by six different veterans who were wrongfully denied these well-earned military service credits. After several years of litigation, our law firm was able to persuade the West Virginia Supreme Court that the Board was wrong and had failed to follow the clear language of the statute. West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board v. Wood, 233 W.Va. 222, 757 S.E.2d 752 (2014). As a result, all of the veterans represented by our law firm received the military service credits to which they were entitled.
Following that decision, our law firm continued to represent additional veterans, who were still fighting to receive up to five years of military service credit. During this litigation, the Board finally decided to adopt a policy that all veterans who served in the United States military between July 1, 1973, and September 10, 2001, would be entitled to receive up to five years of military service credit, if their service occurred during a period of armed conflict. Thus, all State employees who are veterans of the United States military and who were honorably discharged now have the established right to receive up to five years of military service credits toward their retirement.