Illinois State Veteran’s Benefits 2021

The Illinois’ military community as of Dec. 31, 2020 per Defense Manpower Data Center consisted of:

  • 29,627 active-duty service members
  • 5,458 active-duty spouses
  • 11,267 active-duty children
  • 33,729 National Guard and reserve members
  • 11,827 National Guard and reserve spouses
  • 18,505 National Guard and reserve children

Additionally, more than 650,000 of their residents are veterans of the Armed Forces. As a veteran you have earned benefits for yourself and potentially for your family, but you must apply to receive these benefits. Illinois is grateful for your service and wants to ensure you receive all the support you deserve. The state provides several veteran benefits in conjunction with or in addition to federal benefits. This section offers a brief description of benefits those in each of the following areas:

  • Housing
  • Financial Assistance
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Recreation
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing
  • Burial
  • Taxation
  • Other

Housing

Veteran Homes

IDVA provides quality skilled care and a homelike environment to aging veterans at each of their four Veterans’ Homes. The planned fifth home at 4250 N. Oak Park Ave. in Chicago is set to open in the spring of 2021. IDVA is now accepting applications for admission to the home. Call (773) 794-3763 or email [email protected] for more information and/or to request an application. A 5 minute virtual tour video of the Home can be viewed at https://youtu.be/RRgiwKZZ9Hc.

Veterans who served during a period of war are given precedence in admission, though peacetime veterans, spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents are also eligible. OTHER QUALIFYING CONDITIONS MUST ALSO BE MET. Since each of the Veterans’ Homes is unique, each Home provides a special brochure describing the services available. Click here to learn more about each of the Homes. The four current veteran homes are located at:

Anna Veterans Home, 792 N. Main Street, Anna, IL 62906 Tel: (618) 833-6302

This modern, single story structure opened in August 1994. Situated on 16 acres, the Home provides skilled nursing care services to eligible veterans. The Home has a 50-bed nursing care capacity and twelve beds in six adjoining apartment-style domiciliary units.

LaSalle Veterans Home, 1015 O’Conor Avenue, LaSalle, IL 61301 Tel (815) 410-8375

The LaSalle Veterans’ Home opened in December 1990. Located in a residential area on the northeast side of LaSalle in LaSalle County, on a campus of slightly more than four acres, the Home provides skilled nursing services for veterans. They provide care for up to 184 Veterans, to include 40 special needs veterans.

Mantemo Veterans Home, 1 Veterans Drive, Manteno, IL 60950 Tel: (815) 468 – 6581

The Manteno Veterans’ Home opened in 1986, located east of the city of Manteno in Kankakee County. The home is located on a 122 acre campus and comprised of five major nursing care units and two ancillary service and support buildings. They provide care for up to 294 Skilled Care and Special Needs Veterans.

Quincy Veterans Home, 1707 N. 12th Street, Quincy, IL 62301 Tel: (217) 222 – 8641

The Quincy Veterans’ Home is located in the northern part of picturesque, historic Quincy in Adams County. The Quincy home, founded in 1886, is the largest and oldest of the Illinois Veteran Homes. It was the original Soldiers and Sailors Home until 1974 when the name was changed. Sitting on 210 beautiful acres, the campus provides a broad range of facilities and services including domiciliary and skilled care to almost 400 veterans and their spouses.  Sunset Cemetery, located on the campus, provides interment and perpetual care for eligible veterans and spouses. Over 7,000 veterans and spouses, dating back to the Civil War are at rest here. Accommodations in the on-campus Northern Guest House are available to families of residents at a nominal charge.

Prince Home, One Veterans Drive, Manteno, Illinois 60950 Tel: (815) 468-9844/6581

The Prince Home at Manteno is a program for homeless and disabled veterans co-located with the Veterans’ Home in Manteno, Illinois. Opened in 2007, the Prince Home provides housing and supportive services for homeless Illinois Veterans, helping them cope with many issues, to include Post Traumatic Stress, substance abuse, and other challenges. In addition to providing a safe and secure living environment for homeless veterans, the program helps equip the veterans to achieve individual growth and independence. This is done by fostering integrity, respect, and dignity, with therapeutic and supportive services. More than three-quarters of the veterans who complete the Prince Home program go on to live productive and independent lives. In addition, leadership at the Home contributes to the mission of reducing veteran homelessness statewide by working with and advising community service providers, private organizations and other state agencies on state and federal veteran programs. Volunteer work, employment and treatment compliance is correlated to the vision of total independence.

Maximum occupancy of Prince Home is 15. Each Veteran has a private room, with a microwave and refrigerator. Each room shares a bathroom with one other room. A complete communal kitchen facility is available along with a community dayroom, computer area and game room. The facility is wheelchair accessible and provides residential housing for eligible male and female homeless Veterans. Prince Home is not a shelter, it is home and residents are expected to participate in the entire scope of the curriculum, programs and activities. Go to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/SiteCollectionDocuments/Prince%20Home%20at%20Manteno%20Application.pdf for an admissions application.

o-o-O-o-o-

Each veteran home provides long-term skilled care and services to residents. Quality nursing and health care services are provided to Illinois veterans with military service of one (1) day or more, Veterans who served during a period of war are given precedence in admission, though peacetime veterans, spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents are also eligible.

All Homes provide a full range of activities for members, both inside and outside of the facility. Every member is encouraged to participate in as many of the activities and programs as possible. Some examples of activities include card games, BINGO parties, cooking and crafts, religious services, exercise and fitness, entertainment, and “outside” activities. Members are encouraged to have visitors on a frequent basis and can be granted leave of absence for visits outside the Home if their medical needs permit.​​​ Visitors should first check https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/homes/Pages/Homes-Visitation-Regulations.aspx for the current visiting regulations in view of the current pandemic.

Residents who have a monthly income will pay a monthly maintenance charge towards the total cost of their care. (NOTE: The inability to contribute to the cost of care does not prevent admission into the Home.) The monthly cost is based only on the monthly income of the Veteran and spouse and does not include other assets. The maximum amount is subject to change on an annual basis, depending on Social Security cost of living adjustments. For the current cost of care, contact the Adjutant’s office at any of the Veterans Homes and they will be happy to assist you. The maximum monthly maintenance charge is $1429.00*. Those residents who qualify for the Aid & Attendance allowance from the US DVA will pay an additional Aid & Attendance charge, in addition to the monthly maintenance charge. The Aid & Attendance charge is equal to the amount of the allowance provided by the US DVA .Veterans who have received a 70%-100% service connected disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs do not pay a monthly maintenance charge. Residents are required to carry Medicare Insurance if they are eligible. They are also required to apply for any other Federal, State, or VA benefits to cover medical expenses. The cost of this coverage is deducted from monthly income consideration.

The monthly maintenance charge covers room, food (including special diets and supplements), medication, all levels of medical care, recreation and activities, and any special therapy or treatment prescribed by the attending physician. Some costs of care are not covered. These include, but may not be limited to, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, prostheses, and special wheelchairs or mechanical devices. Such costs must be paid directly to the providers by the resident or responsible surrogate.

Any honorably discharged veteran is entitled to admission if he or she:

  • Has served in the U.S. Armed Forces at least one day during a period recognized by the USDVA as a war period or served in a hostile fire environment and was awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal; or
  • Was retired for a service-connected disability or injury, or
  • Has served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for 24 months of continuous service or more and enlisted after September 7, 1980 or
  • Has served as a Reservist or National Guard member, and the service included being called to Federal Active Duty (excluding service for Active Duty Training only) and completed the term or completed 20 years of satisfactory service and is otherwise eligible to receive reserve or active duty retirement benefits; or
  • Has been discharged for reasons of hardship or released from active duty due to a reduction in the U.S. Armed Forces before the completion of the required period of service; and
  • Entered the service as a resident of Illinois or has been a resident of Illinois for one year immediately preceding the date of application for admission; and
  • Is disabled by disease, wounds, or otherwise, and because of disability is incapable of earning a living.
  • Peacetime veterans with one year of honorable military service may also be eligible for admission; other qualifying conditions, as required, must be met.

Admission for a veteran certified to be eligible, is based upon:

  • The ability of the Home to provide adequate and appropriate care and services required by the veteran’s medical diagnoses and assessed needs.
  • An available bed in the category required by the veteran’s medical conditions and assessed needs.
  • All veterans applying for admission must meet with an assigned IDVA veteran service officer (VSO) for a benefits screening. Those deemed eligible will complete application for federal Veterans Administration benefits. Other qualifying conditions must be met.

Refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/homes/Documents/VETHOME%20FAQS.pdf for answers to a list of frequently asked questions Veterans whose applications are accepted, but who cannot be immediately admitted to the facility, are placed on the facility waiting list and are prioritized on a “first come-first served” basis. Absolutely no exceptions are permitted to this policy. Click on following file to get recent admission application in .pdf format admissionapplication.pdf

GI Loan for Heroes

The G-I Loan for Heroes is the new Illinois Homeownership Program for Veterans and Active Service Personnel. The G-I Loan offers significantly below market homeownership financing and counseling. There are two program packages, one for Veterans and one for active duty personnel. Learn more about the GI Loan for Heroes at www.ihda.org/homeowner/heroes.htm

Veterans’ Program

The Veterans’ Program is designed for honorably discharged Veterans who qualify under the income and purchase price limits of the IHDA MRB Program. Participants will receive a substantially below market rate financing package, closing cost assistance and homeownership counseling. In addition, under federal legislation passed in December 2006, Veterans do not have to be first-time homebuyers to qualify.

Active Duty Program

The Active Duty program is designed for active duty service personnel in the Armed Services and Reserve Forces. Under this program, they will receive the same package as the Veterans, except they must qualify as a first time homebuyer under the IHDA MRB Program.

Vet Mortgage Assistance

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs is committed to serving and assisting those Illinois veterans seeking mortgage assistance, as well as resources to assist those experiencing difficulty with mortgage payments. Download the list of official resources by clicking here: Veteran Mortgage Assistance Resources.pdf

Vet Property Taxes

  • Returning Veterans’ Homestead Exemption — Provides qualifying veterans a one-time $5,000 reduction to their homes’ equalized assessed value (EAV). Qualifying veterans who return from active duty in an armed conflict involving the U.S. armed forces can file an application upon their return home to receive this exemption. To apply for this exemption, contact or visit your local County Assessor’s Office.
  • Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption — Provides a reduction in a property’s EAV to a qualifying property owned by a veteran with a service-connected disability. Beginning in tax year 2015, a $2,500 homestead exemption is available to a veteran with a service-connected disability of at least 30% but less than 50%; a $5,000 homestead exemption is available to a veteran with a service connected disability of at least 50% but less than 70%; veterans with a service-connected disability of at least 70% are exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence.  This exemption is available to the unmarried surviving spouse of a service connected veteran provided that the veteran was in receipt of the exemption prior to his/her death.  Additionally, beginning in tax year 2015 and thereafter, the unmarried surviving spouse of a service member killed in the line of duty is exempt from paying property taxes on the primary residence.  Once approved, qualifying veterans and surviving spouses must file an annual application by their counties’ deadlines to continue to receive this exemption. To apply for this exemption, please contact or visit your local County Assessor’s Office.
  • Specially Adapted Housing Tax Exemption — This exemption is allowed on the assessed value of real property for which federal funds have been used for the purchase or construction of specially adapted housing; the exemption is valid for as long as the veteran, the spouse, or the unmarried surviving spouse resides on the property. Federal and state financial assistance is provided for service-connected disabled veterans for the purpose of acquiring or remodeling suitable dwelling units with special fixtures or moveable facilities made necessary by the veteran’s permanent and total service-connected disabilities as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. For further information, please contact your local Veteran Service Officer.
  • Vet Tax Exemption for Mobile Home — Veterans are exempt from the full amount of the mobile home tax. This exemption applies to the tax levied by each county to the owner of a mobile home that meet all of the following criteria:
  • Mobile home must be owned and used exclusively by a disabled veteran or spouse or unmarried surviving spouse as their primary residence;
  • The disabled veteran must have been awarded the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a primary residence that they owned and resided in prior to purchase of the mobile home; and
  • The disabled veteran, spouse or unmarried surviving spouse must be a permanent resident of the State of Illinois on January 1 of the tax year for which the exemption is being claimed.

Contact your county tax assessor’s office or contact your local Veteran Service Officer for further information.

Finances

State Income Tax

Active duty and retired pay plus Military Disability Pay and DIC/SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP is tax-free.

Bonus Application & Armed Forces Certificate

To apply for any of the following bonuses, applications can be downloaded, completed and mailed to the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, P.O. Box 19432, 833 South Spring Street, Springfield, IL 62794-9432. Individuals currently on active duty may apply for the Persian Gulf and or Global War on Terrorism Bonus prior to discharge by also including the Armed Forces Certificate.

World War II Bonus Payment

A bonus of $10 per month for domestic service and $15 per month for foreign service is payable to a veteran who was a resident of Illinois at time of entering service, served at least 60 days on active duty between September 16, 1940 and September 3, 1945, and received an honorable discharge. Survivors are entitled to a benefit of $1,000, if the veteran’s death was service-connected and within the period specified.

Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf Conflict Bonus

A $100 bonus is payable for service during one of the following periods:

  • Korea – June 27, 1950 thru July 27, 1953
  • Vietnam – January 1, 1961 thru March 28, 1973
  • Vietnam Frequent Wind – April 29 thru 30, 1975

The claimant must also be in receipt of one of the following medals: Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Era or the Southwest Asia Service Medal; and have been a resident of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service. Some service periods require an Honorable Discharge and Foreign Service requirements.

Global War on Terrorism (Operation Iraq Freedom and/or Operation Enduring Freedom and/or Operation New Dawn) Bonus Payment

A $100 bonus is payable to veterans who serve on or after September 11, 2001 and were residents of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service. The claimant must also have served at least 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days of foreign or sea service and be in receipt of one of the following medals:

  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Iraq Campaign Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Individuals currently on active duty who served in the Global War on Terrorism may apply prior to discharge by also including the Armed Forces Certificate.

Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation

Survivors are entitled to a payment of $1,000 if veteran’s death is service-connected or is the direct result of service-connected disabilities incurred in the period specified. A separate application is required.

POW Compensation

Persons on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States or employed by the United States Government on, or after, January 1, 1961, who were residents of Illinois 12 months prior to entry, and who were taken and held prisoner by hostile forces in Southwest Asia, are entitled to $50 for each month or portion thereof while being held captive.

Tax Exemption for Mobile Home

This exemption applies to the tax imposed by the Mobile Home Local Services Tax Act when that property is owned and used exclusively by a disabled veteran, spouse or unmarried surviving spouse as a home. The veteran must have received authorization of the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the USDVA, whether benefit was used or not. Applicant must be a permanent resident of the State of Illinois on January 1 of the tax year for which the exemption is being claimed. Disabled veterans that now live in a mobile home and never received the Specially Adapted Housing Grant are not eligible. Please contact your local service office for more information.
The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund

The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund (IMFRF) provides monetary grants to Illinois National Guard members and Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Components and their families who were called to active duty as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

IMFRF grants are intended to help Service Members and their families defray the costs of food, housing, utilities, medical services and other expenses that become difficult to afford when a wage earner has temporarily left civilian employment to be placed on active military duty. The fund also provides for those wounded in combat. Toll-Free in IL: (866) 524-4564 or 217-761-3452. Refer to http://www.standingupforillinois.org/homefront/military_family_relief_fund.php for more info.

Veterans Cash Grants

100 percent of the Veterans Cash lottery ticket proceeds go to support Illinois veterans. Eligibility is open to Government agencies, non-for-profits, veterans’ organizations and tax-exempt entities currently providing veterans’ assistance or wishing to expand to veterans’ assistance. Grants to individuals are not awarded under this program. Organizations that provide services in the following 6 categories are encouraged to apply for a Veterans Cash grant:

  • Health insurance costs
  • Long-term care
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder research or treatment
  • Disability benefits
  • Homelessness
  • Job placement and training

Note that April through November of each year is typically a low funding period, as the annual Vets Cash game runs begins in November and is complete about February of the following year. Meanwhile, the volume of qualified and quality Veterans Cash Grant applications has steadily increased. Approval of grants is always subject to available funds. While grant applications are accepted every quarter, applicants are encouraged to consider applying during periods when available funding is greater, as well as to seek additional sources of revenue or support.

GETTING STARTED: Read “New Grant Requirements and Process Changes ( ) Document before proceeding. Changes to Federal and State Grant Requirements.pdf. Also review Notice for Funding Opportunities: FY21 IDVA NOFO.pdf. To apply for the Veteran Cash Grant please click on the links below:

FY21 IDVA Budget Template.pdf

FY21 IDVA Grant Application.doc

To contact the Veterans Cash Grant Administrator send an e-mail to [email protected] or by click on Veterans Cash Administrator

Employment

Veterans Employment Preference

Honorably discharged veterans who served during wartime get preference in state job hiring.

Education Requirements for Illinois State Police, Conservation Police, and Municipal Police & Firefighters

The educational requirements needed to join the Illinois State Police will be waived for veterans who have been honorably discharged with a campaign service medal for Afghanistan or Iraq. The Illinois Conservation Police will waive their educational requirements for honorably discharged veterans who have certain campaign medals. The educational requirement of an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree will be waived for a firefighter or municipal police officer for veterans discharged honorably after 24 months of active duty or 180 days in combat.

State Licenses & Credentials

Licenses & Credentials testing and fees for EMT, CNA, EMR, and CDL may be waived if you have military experience in that job.

Illinois Hires Heroes Consortium

The IHHC is a group of Illinois employers who recognize the great value veterans bring to the workplace and operationalize the term “veteran-friendly” by committing to implement military veteran recruitment, training and retention practices. Members of the Consortium are Illinois employers who commit to at least three initiatives – one in each aforementioned human resource category. The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will assist participants in meeting the simple goals that will lead the employer on the path to recruiting and retaining high-quality veteran candidates. Refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/programs/Pages/HiresHerosConsortium.aspx for more information on this program.

Veteran Entrepreneurship

This is an IDVA and CMS jointly-led initiative (originally launched in June 2012) that brings together pertinent government agencies, educational institutions, trade associations, business sector experts, and employers to educate returning servicemembers and veterans regarding resources and advancement opportunities available to veteran-owned businesses.

Veteran Entrepreneurship provides a variety of venues to (1) help returning servicemembers and veterans start their own business and (2) assist existing veteran-owned businesses in expanding their operation and accessing procurement opportunities. These include training seminars, educational sessions, and other related events that enable veterans and veteran business owners to gain targeted assistance relating to:

  • Procurement opportunities;
  • Business certifications;
  • Application procedures;
  • Writing a business plan;
  • Managing business finances;
  • Gaining access to capital;
  • Marketing and branding; and
  • Other key steps in the entrepreneurial process.

At the same time, participants have a unique opportunity to network and exchange best practices with agency experts, key business associations, and like-minded professionals. Refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/benefits/Pages/Entrepreneurship.aspx for additional information on the Illinois Veteran Entrepreneurship program

IDES Veteran Services

Assisting veterans in finding gainful employment is a top priority at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IIDES). Their staff provides veterans with priority of service for employment services (does not apply to unemployment insurance). In addition, they have nearly 40 offices located throughout Illinois with Employment Specialists available to provide a full array of services to assist veterans. Bring the required information with you and file your claim at your local IDES office. You will not be able to file online. For contact information and questions refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/aboutides/Pages/Contact_IDES.aspx. IDES also has many resources for veterans available online such as:

Employment Search Assistance

 Veterans can search for jobs online at IllinoisJobLink.com

 Setup a free account and learn how to use this system

Subscribe​ to our events including job fairs and workshops

 Read about finding Jobs for Illinois Veterans​

 Eligible Veterans & eligible persons should plan a visit to your local IDES office to obtain more information related to Employment Services and Opportunities tailored specifically for veterans. NOTE: Be sure to bring your DD-214 to your planned visit.​

 Use the IDES Office Locator​​ to find an office nearest you.​​

Learn

Organizations offering veterans employment services:

Education

Educational Opportunities for Children (10-18 Yrs)

Financial aid is provided annually to each child between the ages of 10 and 18 years of a veteran who died or became totally disabled as a result of service in the Armed Forces during World War I, or II, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts (beginning February 1, 1955), the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, until such individuals are no longer eligible for induction under the Universal Military Training and Service Act. The financial aid applies to a state educational institution of elementary grade, high school or vocational training school. Although both Part I and Part II are listed individually below, they must both be submitted at the same time.

MIA/POW Scholarship

The spouse, widow, natural child, stepchild or adopted child of of a veteran who has been declared by the Department of Defense or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be a prisoner of war; missing-in-action; to have died as the result of a service-connected disability; or be permanently disabled from service-connected causes with 100% disability; and, who was an Illinois resident or was an Illinois resident within six months of entering service may be eligible for the scholarship. Eligible dependents are entitled to full payment of tuition and certain fees to any state supported Illinois institution of higher learning consisting of the equivalent of four (4) calendar years of full-time enrollment including summer terms (i.e., 120 points). Refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/benefits/Pages/education.aspx#GIBill for more information on the program. The application process for the MIA/POW Scholarship is online and may be accessed at https://studentportal.isac.org/student . Use the Program Applications & Status Checks link at the top of this web page to access the application.

Illinois Veterans’ Grant

The Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program pays tuition and certain fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for Illinois residents. An individual must:

  • Be an honorably discharged veteran; and
  • Reside in Illinois six months before entering the service; and
  • Have at least one full year of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. This includes veterans who were assigned to active duty in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country, regardless of length of service; and
  • Return to Illinois within six months of discharge from the service

Applications and additional information are available from the VSO Offices of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, college financial aid offices or the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), 1755 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, 60015, telephone 847-948-8550 or 800-899-ISAC, www.isac.org.



Illinois National Guard Grant

The Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant pays tuition and eligible fees (registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees) at all Illinois public universities or public community colleges. Recipients who have completed less than 10 years of active guard time may accumulate up to 120 eligibility units. Recipients who have completed more than 10 years of active duty guard time may accumulate up to 180 eligibility units. In order to receive benefits under this program an applicant must:

  • Be an Illinois National Guard member, defined as meeting one of these two criteria:

    • Be active in the Illinois National Guard or
    • Have been active in the Illinois National Guard for at least five consecutive years and have been called to federal active duty for at least six months and be within the 12 month period immediately following the applicant’s discharge from the ING.
  • Have completed one full year of service in the Illinois National Guard;
  • Be enrolled at an Illinois public 2 or 4 year college;
  • Not be in default on any educational loan or, if in default, have reinstated eligibility in accordance with ISAC Rules;
  • Not owe a refund on any state or federal grant;
  • Maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA) according to the policy determined by the applicant’s college;
  • File a complete application each academic year, indicating the college to be attended;
  • Meet the applicable deadline for the term for which he/she is applying; and
  • Notify ISAC, in writing, of name, address or college choice changes as they occur.

Information about the grant program and the online application may be obtained at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s website at www.isac.org.

Get Academic Credit for Military Training

Making Military Training Count  The Office of the Governor and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, in cooperation with the Illinois Community College Board, several community colleges, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and MyCreditsTransfer, completed a collaborative project to grant student veterans appropriate academic credit for the education and training they gained in military service.

As a result of the Making Military Training Count initiative, veterans and service members can enter college with earned course credits, useful credits that apply toward meeting degree requirements, simply by documenting their already-completed military training. See how your military coursework, exams, and/or learning experiences count at specific schools using Transferology. Visit www.iTransfer.org/MyCreditsTransfer to learn more. You can also find out what your options are for taking classes at another school to transfer back to your current school by using the “Find a Replacement Course” feature.

Many Illinois colleges have developed transfer credit for military learning experience, including City Colleges of Chicago, College of DuPage, College of Lake County, DePaul University, Kaskaskia College and Southwestern Illinois College.

Veteran Coordinators at Public Universities and Colleges in Illinois

Veteran Coordinators are tasked to be the central point of contact for all veterans, service members, and dependents at universities and colleges Veteran applicants and student veterans are encouraged to contact these staff to learn about eligibility to veteran education benefits, benefit application processes, academic counseling, financial aid counseling, and student support services. Click here to obtain a list of Veteran Coordinators at public universities and community colleges for the 2018-2019 academic year (with names, phone numbers, and email addresses).

State Approving Agency G.I. Bill

The State Approving Agency (SAA) approves college and non-college degree programs, vocational flight training, apprenticeships and other on-the-job training so that federal educational assistance benefits may be paid to veterans and other eligible persons under the several programs administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to approvals, the SAA assists the US Department of Veterans Affairs in conducting compliance surveys at institutions and training establishments where eligible veterans and their dependents are attending. The types of approved training establishments include the following:

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Vocational Schools
  • Business Schools
  • Professional Schools
  • Vocational Flight Schools
  • High Schools
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-Job Training Programs
  • Licensing and Certification Tests

If you have questions about the approval of a program, call one of the following Illinois State Approving Agency representatives:

Enrique Cabrera Joliet 815-730-4358
Melissa Cushman Springfield ​217-785-4578
​Andrew Pieper ​Wheaton ​630-690-6270
​Tiffany Perry ​Chicago ​773-292-2789
​Dan Wellman ​Springfield ​217-782-7838

Children of Veterans Scholarship

Each county in the state shall be entitled, annually, to one honorary scholarship at the University of Illinois, for the benefit of children of veterans of WWI, WWII, Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict and any time on or after August 2, 1990 and until those persons in service are no longer eligible for the Southwest Asia Service Medal. Preference is given to the children of deceased and disabled veterans. Such children shall be entitled to receive, without charge for tuition, instruction in any or all departments of the University for a term of at least four (4) consecutive years. Details may be obtained from the University’s Financial Aid Office.

VA Work Study Locations — IDVA

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides VA work-study opportunities at its numerous offices throughout Illinois.  The federal VA work-study program provides part-time employment to students receiving VA education benefits who attend school three-quarter time or more.   Work-study students are paid either the State or Federal minimum wage, whichever is greater.   Other available opportunities may exist at the school veteran’s office, VA Medical Facilities, the VA Regional Office, and at approved veteran service organizations.

For more information on approved programs, call 312-814-2460 or 217-782-7839.

For information on VA Work Study locations available at IDVA, call 312-814-5538.

Recreation

Camping & Admission Fees

Illinois veterans are exempt from admission and camping fees at Illinois state parks for a time period equal to their military service spent abroad or mobilized. To apply, please contact IDVA’s local Veteran Service Office.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Fishing and hunting licenses are not required for disabled veterans receiving 10% or greater service-connected compensation, or total disability pension benefits. Veterans who served abroad may be eligible for half-price licenses. To apply, please contact IDVA’s local Veteran Service Office.

State Fair

Honorably discharged veterans of all ages and their families shall be admitted FREE, when they properly identify themselves, on Veterans’ Day at the fair. Veterans Day includes a day-long program of drum corps, drill teams, and color guard competition. Admission is FREE to people 60 and older on Senior Day. For dates, check the Illinois State Fair Homepage.​​​

Driver and Vehicle Licensing

For information on obtaining anything related to driving a vehicle in Illinois refer to the Secretary of States websites https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/home.html and https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/home.html

Veterans License Plates

Special military pates are available to all veterans who can meet the requirements for issue. Disabled Veteran License Plates may be issued at no cost for the first set of plates to any U.S. Armed Forces Veteran if

  • The veteran holds proof of a service-connected disability from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and
  • A licensed physician has certified that because of the service-connected disability the veteran qualifies for the issuance of a disabled placard or plate.

To determine eligibility requirements, costs, availability, and renewal procedures on the following vetran plates click on the title of the plate that you would like to obtain:

Afghanistan Campaign Medal Air Force Service Cross Armed Forces Reserves


Bronze Star Congressional Medal of Honor Disabled Veteran

Distinguished Flying Cross Distinguished Service Cross Ex-Prisoner of War

Ex-Prisoner of War Gold Star Illinois National Guard


Iraq Campaign Medal Korean Service Korean War Veteran

Marine Corps Navy Service Cross Paratrooper

Pearl Harbor Survivor POW/MIA Illinois Remembers Purple Heart


Purple Heart Motorcycle Retired Armed Forces Silver Star

Universal Veteran Universal Veteran Motorcycle U.S. Air Force

U.S. Army Veteran U.S. Navy Veteran Vietnam Veteran


West Point Bicentennial Women Veterans World War II Veteran

[Source: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/license_plate_guide/military/home.html

Veteran’s Designation on Illinois driver’s license or ID Cards

The veteran’s designation will help ensure our military veterans receive the services and benefits for which they are entitled. First, veterans must visit their nearest IDVA Veteran Service Officer and get their DD-214 certified. The former members of the Guard and Reserve will need to provide different forms. Then the veteran may apply for a new, renewal or updated driver’s license or ID card at any Secretary of State Driver Service’s facility. There is no additional cost for first-time driver’s license applicants and renewals, but if veterans chooses to update there’s a small charge. For more information, veterans may contact the IVDA at 1-800-437-9824 or visit www.illinois.gov/veterans.

Burial

Global War on Terrorism Survivors Compensation

A $3000 compensation benefit is payable to survivors of military personnel killed in action by terrorist acts or hostile activities during the performance of military service in periods recognized as wartime by a United States campaign or service medals. Residency of 1 year in Illinois prior to entering military service is required. To apply, contact IDVA’s local Veteran Service Office in your area.

Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation

Compensation of $1,000 is available to survivors of Vietnam veterans whose death was classified as service-connected by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The veteran must have been a resident of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service, received the Vietnam Service Medal or Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Vietnam, and received an Honorable Discharge for service during one of the following periods:

  • Vietnam: January 1, 1961- March 28, 1973
  • Vietnam Frequent Wind: April 29, 30, 1975

To apply, contact IDVA’s local Veteran Service Office.

Cartage & Erection Fees

When the federal government has furnished a headstone or marker, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs pays up to $125.00 for the setting of such marker. For the Veterans Grave Registration Form go to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/benefits/Documents/3WVGR.pdf. To apply contact IDVA’s local Veteran Service Office.

Graves Registration

To preserve the memory of Illinois veterans, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs maintains a -Roll of Honor- for all veterans buried in the State of Illinois. Individuals and entities responsible for cemeteries in Illinois regularly provide the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs with information regarding veteran burials in order to maintain our -Roll of Honor- up to date. For further information on the -Roll of Honor-, please contact IDVA’s local Veteran Service Office.

Indigent Veterans

The county Veterans Assistance Commission provides burial for any honorably discharged indigent veteran, or their mothers, fathers, spouse or surviving spouse, or minor children who are without sufficient means to defray the funeral expenses. The expense of such burial to be reimbursed cannot exceed $900. Emergency food, transportation, and other assistance are also provided in certain cases. Please contact your local county Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC) for more information; IDVA’s VSO’s can assist you in finding your local VAC, as well. Click here to start.​​

National Cemeteries

Abraham Lincoln, Danville, Camp Butler, Mound City and Rock Island national cemeteries have space available for casketed and cremated remains.  Alton has space available for cremated remains and can accommodate casketed remains in the gravesites of previously interred family members.  Quincy is closed to new interments, but can bury family members in existing gravesites.

Taxation

Sales Tax

  • Statewide: 6.25%
  • Counties can levy an additional sales tax of no more than 4.75%.
  • Current average sales tax (with local taxes included): 7.816%
  • Common Exceptions at State Level:

    • Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicine: 1%
    • Unprepared Foods: 1%
    • Prepared Foods: 8%
  • Gasoline Tax: 70.56 cents/gallon (Includes all state, local, and federal taxes)
  • Diesel Fuel Tax: 84.38 cents/gallon (Includes all state, local, and federal taxes)
  • Cigarette Tax: $2.98/pack of 20

Personal Income Tax

  • Personal Income Tax Rate Range: 4.95%
  • Standard deduction: None
  • Personal Exemption Allowance: $2,275. Dependent Exemption: $2,275. Phases out if Adjusted Gross Income is over $250,000
  • Itemized Deductions Allowed? Yes, subject to limitations.
  • Retirement Income

    • Social Security: Exempt
    • IRAs: Exempt
    • 401Ks/Defined contribution employer retirement plans: Exempt
    • Private pensions: Most are exempt
    • Public Pensions: Exempt
  • Military Pay

    • Active Duty Pay: Exempt
    • Military Retirement Pay: Exempt
    • Military Disability Pay: Exempt
    • VA Disability Dependency & Indemnity Compensation Benefits: Exempt
    • SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Exempt

Property Tax

  • Local municipalities average 2.31% of the property’s assessed value.
  • Calculation of assessed value: One-third of fair market value.
  • Relief programs for:

    • Owner-occupied: Increase in assessed value over 1977 assessed value is exempt from taxation. Capped at $6,000 ($10,000 in Cook County)
    • Over 65: $5,000 of assessed value is exempt from taxation.
    • Over 65 Freeze: Freezes assessed value for households with income less than $65,000. Can defer taxes.
    • Returning Veterans: $5,000 ($8,000 in Cook County) of assessed value exempt from taxation.
    • Disabled Veterans/Surviving Spouse (not remarried): Up to 100% exemption based on percentage of service-linked disability. ($100,000 reduction if specially adapted housing)
    • Disabled: $2,000 of assessed value exempt from taxation.
    • Long-time Occupant: Limits increase in assessed value for long-time occupants with income less than $100,000.
  • Personal Property Tax: Yes. Rates and exemptions vary.

Property Tax Comments: Exemptions related to properties impacted by catastrophic events are available.

Inheritance & Estate Taxes: Estates over $4 million are taxed at a maximum rate of 16%. There is no inheritance tax.

Department of Revenue website: www2.illinois.gov/rev

Other State Veteran Programs

Benefits Assistance

To assist veterans in navigating the complex web of services and benefits available, IDVA runs 46 full-time and 35 part-time (itinerant) offices in 80 out of the 102 counties. These offices are staffed by more than 70 individual Veteran Service Officers (VSO’s), fellow veterans who are experts on federal, state and local veteran resources. They are trained and accredited by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to provide free assistance to veterans and their dependents and survivors. This includes not only applying for federal and state benefits but also providing resources related to the following:

Compensation and Pension

Health Care

Education & Training

Employment

Burial & Survivor

Housing

Permits

Transportation

Military Records

And more

To locate Veteran Service Officers in your area go to the Nearest Veteran Service Office map and click on tab nearest where you reside. You can also use (800) 437-9824 if calling from within Illinois; out-of-state (217) 782-6641; or TDD (217) 524-4645. If you are calling from within the Chicago area you can call (312) 814-2460. Finally, if you are a woman veteran who prefers to speak with one of our 27 female VSOs, please click on this map of women veteran service officers. Fellow women veterans are available to help!

Women Veterans Program

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs supports all Illinois veterans whether they are long-time veterans, new transitioning veterans, or service members on active duty. Of particular note, our women veterans have long served in various critical roles in our military, and although a small percentage of the veteran population overall, this group is very skilled, adaptable, and strong. Through our Women Veterans Program, we hope to serve the woman veteran in any way possible, addressing each of her unique concerns – developing programs, community collaborations, opportunities and connections to help equip and empower her to grow personally and strengthen the woman veteran presence in Illinois. For details of the support available refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/features/women/Pages/default.aspx.

Illinois Joining Forces

Illinois Joining Forces (IJF) is a joint Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and Department of Military Affairs (DMA) effort designed to better serve veterans, service members, and their families throughout the state. IJF will bring together, under a common umbrella, a field force of public, non-profit, and volunteer organizations in order to continually foster increased awareness of available resources and better partnership and collaboration between participating organizations. Illinois Joining Forces will establish a state-wide public and private organizational network that will identify, collaborate, and marshal available resources and services in order to create efficient access and delivery of these programs to the State’s military and veteran communities (https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/programs/Pages/IllinoisJoiningForces.aspx & https://www.facebook.com/illinoisjoiningforces) .

Military Records

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) maintains military records on many Illinois veterans. If you are an Illinois native or have ever visited one of our Veteran Service Officers, they may have a copy of your DD 214 on file. If your records are not on file with IDVA, their Veteran Service Officers can assist you in requesting a certified copy from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.

To request a certified copy of a discharge recorded with the IDVA, it must have come from an original or certified copy, at the time is was filed with the agency. IDVA can provide certified copies at the time it is filed, from an original or certified copy only. A certified copy is a copy with an embossed (raised) seal from a County Recorder/Clerk or the National Personnel Records Center. A photo ID must accompany the Release of Information (ROI). Tp obtain a ROI click on Link to the Release of Information. Reasons a discharge may not be certifiable include:

  • Source document was/is not an original or certified copy.
  • The discharge on record is not legible in critical areas (name, SSN or Serial Number, dates, character of service, etc.).
  • Complete and Proper Release was not provided.

In addition, the IDVA assist veterans to:

  • Obtain a set of duplicate military awards;
  • Acquire copies of their service records and service treatment records;
  • Submit discharge document upgrades; and
  • Request updates to their DD-214?s, such as the receipt of a campaign medal after discharge.

IDVA also utilizes military records to assist other state agencies with the following services:

  • Confirming veterans preference for state employment
  • Validating license plate requests for Illinois veterans
  • Authenticating tax exemption certificates
  • Furnishing veteran burial certificates

Veterans interested in permanently recording and/or storing their service records e.g. DD 214 for future use should visit one of the IDVA Veteran Service Officers so thatin future instances they can again visit and obtain visit and request a copy of their service discharge, certify your existing discharge, and/or apply for federal, state, and local benefits.

Credit for Military Learning

Military veterans receive formal training, hands-on instruction, and performance evaluations by some of the world’s foremost technical experts. A great deal of this prior learning has a straight-line application to civilian careers, professional licenses, and academic programs.

That’s why we at the Illinois Department of Veterans? Affairs (IDVA), along with partner agencies and other stakeholder groups, are actively taking steps to develop processes and programs through which prior military learning can be applied toward:

For more information on how your military training counts toward each of these areas, select the above link and visit the specialty page.

Tiny Boots

Child care program. he Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs has partnered with the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and the Federal VA to provide quality, childcare at No Cost while you attend your scheduled medical or counseling appointments; or job interview. And you can set this up in 3 Easy Steps.

    1. Go to https://ywcachicago.org/tinybootsveterans and fill out the Tiny Boots Program Application. To be eligible:
  • Must be an Illinois Veteran
  • Have a verifiable medical appointment or job interview
  • Notify the YWCA of appointments at least 1 week in advance

    1. Complete the Tiny Boots Application which includes:
  • Application
  • Emergency Contact Form
  • Medical Form
  • Photo Release

    1. Return completed forms including verification of appointment/job interview to [email protected].

Service Animals

Under the Americans with Disabilities Association, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. For example, service dogs can pick things up, guide a person with vision problems, or help someone who falls or loses balance easily. The VA distinguishes between service animals that “perform tasks” and animals used for emotional support animals. With VA approval, veterans having been determined to have a physical disability may qualify to receive a service dog or guide dog through the VA. Note: While service animals are typically only considered for individuals with physical disabilities, it may be possible to be approved for a service animal if that animal is specifically trained to assist with mental health disabilities, i.e., trained to alert on the onset of a panic attack.

For additional information on how and where to get a dog and what benefits the VA will provide refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/benefits/Pages/Service-Animal.aspx.

Veteran Food Pantries

The Greater Chicago Food Depository in partnership with the Jesse Brown VAMC, Edward Hines VA Hospial and Americorp provides food for those who served. Refer to https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/benefits/Pages/Veteran-Assistance-Miscellaneous-Programs.aspx for location and pickup times.

Incarcerated Veterans Program

The Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program (IVTP), is a multi-agency initiative operated by the Illinois Departments of Corrections, Veterans’ Affairs and Employment Security, and aimed at cutting down the recidivism rate among veterans. To date, nearly 300 incarcerated veterans have voluntarily participated in the program, which is expected to further expand to all of the state’s medium and minimum-security correctional centers.

The DVA’s Incarcerated veterans program recognizes that Veterans can sometimes run into issues with law enforcement and the criminal justice system resulting in incarceration. It is important justice-involved Veterans are familiar with VA benefits including what VA benefits they may still eligible to receive, what happens to the VA benefits they are already receiving if they become incarcerated, and what programs are available to assist them with reintegrating back into the community once released from incarceration. To learn more about this program refer to https://benefits.va.gov/persona/veteran-incarcerated.asp.

Veterans Conservation Corps

The Veterans Conservation Corps is a joint program from the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Volunteers are needed and there is a variety of opportunities available so there is something for everyone. If you are interested in becoming a member of Conservation Corps, the first step is to meet with a Veteran Service Officer in your area or call the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Veteran of the Month

Each month, on behalf of the Illinois Governor, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director will recognize an individual who contributes to the betterment of communities and other Veterans across the State of Illinois. For more information, contact IDVA at (312) 814-5538.

State Veterans Memorials

Illinois has three state Veterans Memorials dedicated to those Illinoisans who fought for and some who lost their lives for our nations freedom during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Middle East Conflicts. Learn More at:

Veterans Cash

The first Veterans Cash ticket was launched in 2006. It was the first lottery game in the United States to designate 100 percent of net proceeds to veterans. Since then, Veterans Cash has awarded more than $13.3 million in grants statewide to veterans’ organizations that provide vital services, including job training, housing assistance, and post-traumatic stress treatment.

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs awards these funds in the form of Vet Cash Grants. On a quarterly basis, IDVA’s Veterans Cash Grant Committee reviews applications and awards grants to groups that help address PTSD, homelessness, health insurance costs, long-term care, disability benefits, and employment. Since 2006, nearly 300 organizations have shared over $13 million in funding. For more information about the Illinois Lottery, please visit www.illinoislottery.com.

Veteran advocates can go above and beyond to show their support for our men and women who have served by making a contribution directly to the Veterans Cash program. To facilitate this process, you may write a check and mail it to directly to us. Those looking to make a generous donation to support our veterans should download a Mail-In Donation Form. All monies contributed to the Veterans Assistance Fund will be granted by the Veterans Cash Grant Committee to help Illinois veterans in the following areas of need: post-traumatic stress, homelessness, long-term care, disability benefits, health insurance costs, and employment assistance. Grants are awarded to qualifying public and non-profit organizations directly serving veterans in these areas.

Veteran & Military Discounts

A listing of businesses that offer discounts to Veterans and Active duty Military members at https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/features/Documents/200806%20Veterans%20and%20Military%20Discounts%20Business%20listing.pdf by county is provided by the VA,

-o-o-O-o-o-

At https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/Pages/default.aspx visit the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs website for contact information and benefits assistance at. Also check out https://www.moaa.org/content/state-report-card/statereportcard for current issues affecting veterans residing in Illinois.

[Source: https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-state-benefits/illinois-state-veterans-benefits.html | April 2021 ++]