State / Territory Benefits - Illinois


State Taxes
Education Benefits
Employment Benefits
Unemployment Compensation
Department of Vehicle Services
Health and Insurance Benefits
Parks & Recreation Benefits
Miscellaneous Benefits
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Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities

Summary: The State of Illinois offers special benefits for its military Service members and Veterans including Property Tax Exemptions, exemptions for Specially Adapted Housing and Mobile Homes, State Employment Preferences and Assistance, Education and Tuition Assistance, Special Vehicle Tags, Veterans Homes, Burial Benefits as well as Hunting, Fishing Licenses and State Camping privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component and Veteran disability status.

State Benefit Highlights and Eligibility

State Taxes

State Tax Advantage: Military pay that is in the Adjusted Gross Income may be subtracted, including:

  • Pay for duty in the armed forces, including basic training;

  • Pay for duty as a cadet at a service academy or in ROTC;

  • Pay for duty serving in the National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve forces (including a National Guard unit of another state).

Pay you may not subtract:

  • Military income (such as combat pay) that was excluded from the AGI on Form IL-1040, Line 1;

  • Pay received under the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI);

  • Pay received from the military as a civilian;

  • Payments made under the Ready Reserve Mobilization income Insurance program or

  • Pay for duty as a officer in the Public Health Service.

Eligibility: Military personnel; must attach W-2

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Military Spouse Residency Relief Act effective for tax years 2009 and after, if you are a nonresident Spouse of a Service member, you and your Service member have the same domicile, and you are in Illinois only to accompany your Spouse on his or her military assignment, your employee wages earned in Illinois are not taxable by Illinois. If you had Illinois Income Tax withheld from your wages, you are entitled to a refund if your wages are exempt from Illinois tax under this law. To file your refund:

  • For tax years 2010 and after, you must file Form IL-1040 and Schedule NR and mark the Military Spouse box on Schedule NR.

Note: If you are an Illinois resident, your wages are taxable by Illinois regardless of where you work.

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Retirement Income Taxes: Illinois does not tax distributions received from qualified employee benefit plans, including 401(K) plans; an Individual Retirement Account, (IRA) or a self-employee retirement plan; a traditional IRA that has been converted to a Roth IRA; the redemption of U.S. retirement bonds; state and local government deferred compensation plans; a government retirement or government disability plan, including military plans; railroad retirement income; retirement payments to retired partners; a lump sum distribution of appreciated employer securities; and the federally taxed portion of Social Security benefits. For more information, click here.

Retired Military Pay: Not taxed.

Military Disability Retired Pay: Retirees who entered the military before September 24, 1975, and members receiving disability retirements based on combat injuries or who could receive disability payments from the VA are covered by laws giving disability broad exemption from federal income tax. Most military retired pay based on service-related disabilities also is free from federal income tax, but there is no guarantee of total protection.

VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes.

Military SBP/ RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax. Check with state department of revenue office.

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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.
This exemption applies to the tax levied by each county to the owner of a mobile home that meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Mobile home must be owned and used exclusively by a disabled Veteran;

  2. Spouse or unmarried surviving Spouse as their primary residence;

  3. 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

  4. 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 please contact your local Veteran Service Officer for further information

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Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption (RVHE): The Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption provides qualifying Veterans a $5,000 reduction to their home's equalized assessed value (EAV). A returning Veteran is eligible to receive the exemption the tax year and the following tax year the Veteran returns home from active duty. The Veteran must own and occupy the property as his or her principal residence on January 1 of each assessment year. A Veteran who acquires a principal residence after January 1 of the year he or she returns home is eligible for the RVHE on the principal residence owned and occupied on January 1 of the following tax year. 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, please contact or visit your local County Assessor's Office.

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Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption (DVSHE): This exemption is an annual reduction in EAV on the primary residence occupied by a qualified disabled Veteran. The disabled Veteran must own or lease a single Family residence and be liable for the payment of the property taxes. The amount of the exemption depends on the percentage of the service-connected disability as certified by the U. S. Dept. of Veterans' Affairs. 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 qualified disabled Veteran with a disability of at least 50% but less than 70% will receive a $5,000 reduction in EAV, and a disabled Veteran with a disability of at least 70% are exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence.

An un-remarried surviving Spouse of a deceased Veteran can continue to receive the DVSHE on his or her Spouse's primary residence or transfer the DVSHE to another primary residence after the Veteran's original primary residence is sold, provided the DVSHE had previously been granted to the disabled Veteran. The surviving Spouse must occupy and hold legal or beneficial title to the primary residence on January 1 of the assessment year and submit a PTAX-342, Application for Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption, to transfer the DVSHE. Beginning in tax year 2015, an un-remarried surviving Spouse of a Veteran killed in the line of duty is eligible for the DVSHE on his/her primary residence, even if the Veteran did not previously qualify or obtain the DVSHE.

The initial application Form PTAX-342 Application for Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption must be filed with the chief county assessment office. The Form PTAX-342-R, Annual Verification of Eligibility for Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption must be filed each year to continue to receive the exemption. For a single tax year, the property cannot receive this exemption and the Disabled Persons' Homestead Exemption or Disabled Veterans' Homestead Exemption. For more information contact the chief county assessment office.

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Disabled Veterans' Exemption for Specially Adapted Housing: This exemption may be up to $100,000 reduction on the assessed value for certain types of housing owned and used exclusively by a disabled Veteran in 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. Beginning with the 2015 tax year, the exemption also applies to housing that is specifically constructed or adapted to suit a qualifying Veteran's disability if the housing or adaptations are donated by a charitable organization, and the Veteran has been approved to receive funds or the purchase or construction of Specially Adapted Housing through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This exemption is also available on a mobile home owned and used exclusively by a disabled Veteran or their Spouse. For a single tax year, the property cannot receive this exemption and the Homestead Exemption for Persons with Disabilities or Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption. For further information, please contact your local Veteran Service Officer.

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Education Benefits:

National Guard Grant Program: Members of the Illinois National Guard may be eligible to receive the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant. This grant can pay for eligible tuition and certain fees for undergraduate or graduate study at Illinois 2-4 year public colleges. The grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of four academic years of full-time enrollment. Contact the college's financial aid office to determine what portion of total tuition and fees will be covered by this grant.
To be eligible for this grant:

  • Completed 1 year of service in the Illinois National Guard

  • Enlisted member or Officer

  • Enrolled at a public Illinois 2-4 year college

  • Not in default of any student loan or owe a refund on any state or federal grant.

  • Maintain acceptable grade point average.

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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 or (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. Educational Opportunities for Children Application

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MIA/POW Scholarship:
Any Spouse, natural Child, legally adopted Child, or any step-Child of a Veteran or service person who has not attained the age of 26 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; died while on active duty; 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). MIA/POW Scholarship Application  

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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 Veterans.
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 which 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 field offices of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, college financial aid offices or the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, 1755 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, 60015, telephone 847-948-8550 or 800-899-ISAC, web site address:

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Children of Veterans Scholarship: Each county in the state shall be entitled, annually, to one honorary scholarship in the University of Illinois, for the benefit of Children of Veterans of WWI, WWII, Korean and 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 of Illinois' Financial Aid Office.

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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 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.

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Bright Start Fallen Heroes Scholarship: The state will deposit $2500.00 in a Bright Start account for each Child of a fallen Service Member. Bright Start is required to pay the school directly.
The beneficiary must be a U.S. citizen under the age of 30 years old. Fallen Heroes home of record on file with the U.S. Department of Defense must be in Illinois. The funds in a Bright Start account funded with a scholarship award can only be used for qualified higher education expenses of the Beneficiary for attendance or enrollment at an eligible institution.

Rules and Restrictions:

  • Upon the Sponsor's receipt of a completed and signed Bright Start Scholarship Agreement, a Bright Start College Savings Program account owned by the Sponsor on behalf of the Beneficiary will be opened.

  • The total scholarship award (the "Award") will consist of the dollar value of the award plus earnings, if any, while invested in a Bright Start account. The scholarship may not have earnings and may lose value.

  • The Award can only be used for the designated Beneficiary's qualified higher education expenses at his or her eligible educational institution. The Award is non-transferable.

  • A scholarship cannot be awarded as cash to the recipient nor withdrawn at any time for cash.

  • The Beneficiary is responsible providing the Sponsor with updated contact information should that information change after the account is established.

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Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: It is the purpose of this compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:

  • Facilitating the timely enrollment of Children of military Families and ensuring that they are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements.

  • Facilitating the student placement process through which Children of military Families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content or assessment. Facilitating the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic and social activities.

  • Facilitating the on-time graduation of Children of military Families.

  • Providing for the promulgation and enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact.

  • Providing for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools and military Families under this compact.

  • Promoting coordination between this compact and other compacts affecting military Children.

  • Promoting flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents and the student in order to achieve educational success for the student.

Primary Point of Contact:
Brian E. Riegler, Commissioner
Address: 2325 Brookside Ave, Waukegan, IL 60085
Phone: 847-360-5646

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Employment Benefits:

Illinois Troops to Teachers: Illinois Troops to Teachers assists eligible military personnel transitioning to a new career as public school teachers. Regardless of where a military career takes a participant while with our program, offices nationwide have been established to provide individuals with counseling and assistance regarding certification requirements, routes to state certification, and employment leads.

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Illinois Job Link & Veteran Employment Services: The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) provides a trained "Veterans Representative" to help you get the training and job you need. An electronic statewide job search information system is available at different locations throughout the State of Illinois. Contact your local Employment Security office for more information.

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Work Study Locations: 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 further information, please visit the VA Work-Study Program page.

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Employment Assistance: State employees receive 15 days of military leave per year. In addition, qualified Service members receive regular compensation as a public employee minus their base military salaries, during leaves for basic training, for up to 60 days of special or advanced training, and for any other training or duty required by the United States Armed Forces.
: Illinois National Guard and Reserve members.

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State Approving Agency (SAA): Approves training for Veterans in the areas of higher education, apprenticeship training, vocational training, and on the job training.

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Veteran Preference for State Employment: Under State law, qualified Veterans seeking employment with the State are entitled to points added to a passing grade and receive absolute appointment preference within a given grade. Illinois National Guard/Reserves non-activated only receive points added to a passing grade. All Veterans will be required to submit a certified copy of their DD214/DD215 as proof of service at the time of application. For further information on Veterans preference and available work opportunities, please contact Central Management Services' Work 4 Illinois website.

Please view the following State Employment Tip Sheet for Veterans, which provides critical information pertaining to application essentials, employment counseling, CMS testing, and Veterans' preference guidelines.

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Veterans Hiring Preferences (Federal): By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans both in hiring into the Federal civil service and in retention during reduction in force. Veterans may be entitled to 5 or 10 points included in any scoring process for examination or interviews.

5-point Hiring Preference: Five points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served:

  • During a war; or

  • During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or

  • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or

  • During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or

  • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or

  • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference.

10-point Compensable Disability (CP) Preference: Ten points are added to the examination score or rating of:

  • A Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent but less than 30 percent.

10-Point 30 Percent Compensable Disability Preference (CPS): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.

10-Point Disability Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:

  • A Veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs but does not qualify as a CP or CPS; or

  • A Veteran who received a Purple Heart.

10-Point Derived Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of Spouses, Widows, Widowers, or Mothers of Veterans as described below. This type of preference is usually referred to as "derived preference" because it is based on service of a Veteran who is not able to use the preference. Both a Mother and a Spouse (including Widow or Widower) may be entitled to preference on the basis of the same Veteran's service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the Veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the Spouse of a disabled Veteran who is disqualified for a Federal position along the general lines of his or her usual occupation because of a service-connected disability. Such a disqualification may be presumed when the Veteran is unemployed and

  • Is rated by appropriate military or Department of Veterans Affairs authorities to be 100 percent disabled and/or unemployable; or

  • Has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position on the basis of a disability that is service-connected in origin; or

  • Has attempted to obtain a civil service position or other position along the lines of his or her usual occupation and has failed to qualify because of a service-connected disability.

Preference may be allowed in other circumstances but anything less than the above warrants a more careful analysis.

A campaign medal holder or Gulf War Veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligible Veterans separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to Veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.

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Illinois Reemployment Rights: Illinois state law provides reemployment rights to Illinois National Guard personnel called to military duty. When performing federally mandated training or duty under titles 32 or 10 of the United States Code (monthly drills, annual training, or federal active duty), these rights are in addition to those provided by federal law. When performing State Active Duty, however, federal reemployment law does not apply and state reemployment rights law applies exclusively. If the military member meets the requirements of reemployment, he/she must be restored to the job previously held, or to a position of like seniority, status, and pay, with the same increases in status, seniority, and wages that were earned during his/her military service by employees in like positions who were on the job at the time of the military member's entry into military service. Requirements of reemployment are that he/she is still qualified to perform the duties of the position of the civilian employment, application for reemployment is made within 90 days after leaving military service, or within 1 year if hospitalized after discharge, and military service was satisfactorily completed or an honorable discharge was received.

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Unemployment Compensation:

Unemployment Insurance: Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a state-operated insurance program designed to partially replace lost wages when you are out of work. Like fire, accident, health and other types of insurance, it is for an emergency: when you are temporarily or permanently out of a job, or if you work less than full time because of lack of work.
: To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Monetary (earnings) eligibility: You must have earned enough money in the past 18 months for Illinois to establish a weekly benefits amount. This can be determined at the time of filing.

  2. Acceptable reason of separation: No-fault circumstance that leads to the termination of employment, such as a layoff or discharge.

Unemployment Insurance can be filed in two ways:

  1. File Online: You will be prompted to login, which requires you to create an online username and password or;

  2. File In-person: Use the IDES office locator to find an office nearest you.

Click here if you are filing for unemployment insurance and live out of state.

Be sure to have all necessary information ready when filing your claim, either online or in person:


  • Social Security Number and Name as it appears on your Social Security card,

  • If claiming your Spouse or Child as a dependent​, the Social Security Number, Date of Birth and name of dependent(s),

  • Employer's name, mailing address, phone numbers, employment dates, and separation reason for all the employers you worked for in the last 18 months,

  • If you are not a United States citizen, your Alien Registration Information,

  • If you worked since Sunday of this week, the amount of gross wages earned this week. (You must report all gross wages for any work performed, full or part-time. Gross wages are the amount earned before any deductions, not "take home pay". Wages in the form of lodging, meals, merchandise or any other form should be included. Gross wages must be reported the week in which they are earned, not the week in which you receive the wages. If your gross wages earned in any week are less than your weekly benefit amount, you still may be eligible to receive a full or partial benefit payment), and,

  • If you are a recently separated Veteran, bring in the Member 4 Copy of the DD form 214 / 215.

Filing at local office or WorkNet center:

  • In addition to everything listed above, you will need to bring two forms of identification, at least one containing your Social Security number.

Claimants can certify their benefits by going here or by telephone using Tele-Serve: 312-338-IDES (4337). These services are available Monday - Friday from 05:00AM to 07:30PM.

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Department of Vehicle Services:

The state of Illinois has a number of special vehicle license plates for its Service members and Veterans including: Korean War Veteran, Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Vietnam Veteran, West Point Bicentennial, World War II Veteran, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Distinguished Service Cross, Iraq Campaign Medal, Korean Service, Korean War Veteran, Universal Veteran, Universal Veteran Motorcycle, Paratrooper, POW/MIA Illinois Remembers, Paratrooper and Women Veterans. Additional plates available are listed below.

Medal of Honor: The Medal of Honor License Plate may be issued at no cost for the first set of plates to any Illinois resident who has been awarded this medal from the U. S. Armed Forces. A surviving Spouse of a person awarded the Medal of Honor may obtain and/or retain these plates.
Eligibility: A form from the federal government or a letter from the Department of Veterans' Affairs must be submitted verifying that the applicant received the medal. Congressional Medal of Honor License Plates Request Form

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Armed Forces Reserves: Any active ready reserve member, former member of the Reserve or surviving Spouse of a reservist of the United States Armed Forces may apply for as many sets of these plates as he or she has vehicles titled, registered or leased in his or her name. Title and registration fees apply and are subject to change.
Reservist must provide a legible copy of DD Form 2 (U.S. Uniformed Service Identification Card) showing current reserve status, or DD214 (discharge from military service) verifying reserve service record. Armed Forces Reserves Plates Request Form

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U.S. Army Veteran: Any Illinois resident who has served in the U.S. Army may apply. Title and registration fees apply and are subject to change.
Eligibility: Must provide a photocopy of DD214 (discharge from military service) indicating applicant was a member of the Army or a letter of verification from the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs or the federal government showing applicant's service record. U.S. Army Veteran License Plates Request Form

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Retired Armed Forces: Any Illinois resident who is retired from any military branch in the United States may apply for Armed Forces Retired plates. Title and registration fees apply and are subject to change.
Retiree must provide a DD Form 214 verifying full retirement status. Members of the Armed Forces Reserves or Illinois National Guard who have not reached the age of 60 must submit a copy of their DD214 and documentation showing transfer to retired status. Retired Armed Forces License Plates Request Form

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Disabled Veteran: Any U.S. Armed Forces Veteran who has a military-service disability and a licensed physician has certified that because of the service-connected disability, the Veteran qualifies for issuance of a disabled license plate (625 ILCS 5/3-616). Vehicles displaying these plates may park in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities.
The Veteran must provide a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs verifying that you are military service disabled-entire rating/decision letter and a certificate for disabled parking-Military Service connected. Disabled Veteran License Plates Request Form

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Ex-Prisoner of War: Any U.S. citizen who is a present or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces or any of its Allies and who was a prisoner of war may apply for these plates. No fees are required for the first set of plates. The Widowed Spouse of a former member of the U.S. Armed Forces may apply for the plates, providing that the Widowed Spouse: (1) was married to the ex-prisoner of war at the time the ex-prisoner of war died, and (2) is single at the time of application. The ex-prisoner of war's name must appear as owner or co-owner on both the title and the registration application.
Applicant must provide a form from the federal government or a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs verifying the ex-prisoner of war status. Ex- Prisoner of War License Plates Request Form

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Illinois National Guard: Any active members, former members and surviving Spouse of the Illinois National Guard may apply for these plates. Title and registration fees apply and are subject to change.
Applicant must provide a legible copy of a DD214 (discharge from military service) verifying service record or a DD Form 2 (U. S. Uniformed Service Identification Card) verifying National Guard status. Illinois National Guard License Plates Request Form

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Pearl Harbor Survivor: Any Illinois resident, who served at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, or a surviving Spouse, may apply. Title and registration fees apply and are subject to change.
Applicants must provide a Pearl Harbor Survivor affirmation stating the applicant was present on the island of Oahu or aboard ship within three miles of the island at the time of the attack. Pearl Harbor Survivor License Plates Request Form 

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Gold Star: Any Illinois resident who is a surviving Widow/Widower, parent or sibling(s) of a person who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and lost his/her life while serving during peacetime or war. The surviving Widow/Widower, parent or sibling(s) may be issued one set of plates. A Gold Star Affirmation verifying receipt of the Gold Star, including the Service member's name and relationship to the applicant is required. Title and registration fees apply and are subject to change. Gold Star License Plates Request Form 

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The fees and eligibility may differ depending on the type of license plate. Please visit the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle's website for a complete list of military license plates and updated fees. 

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Health and Insurance Benefits

Medical Benefits: State Active Duty receive medical, dental and hospital benefits for injury and disease incurred in line-of-duty.
Illinois National Guard members.

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Group Insurance: The Illinois National Guard offers $5,000 for $2.00/mo; $15,000 for $5.33/mo; $25,000 for $8.67/mo; $50,000 for $17.00/mo; Spouse Insurance is the same coverage. Dependent Insurance is $5,000 for $1.50/mo; $10,000 for $3.00/mo. All coverage is term up to age 70 and the premium will not go up with age. New enlistees will receive $10,000 free for the 1st year with application.
Illinois National Guard members.

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Workers Compensation: Available to National Guard members while on State Active Duty.
Illinois National Guard members.

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Injury/Death Benefits: $100,000 compensation paid to beneficiary of Guard members killed on State Active Duty. 

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Veterans Health Care Program: The Veterans Care Program provides comprehensive, affordable healthcare to Illinois' uninsured Veterans. The Veterans Care Program covers those Veterans who have the least access to reliable healthcare. These are the Veterans who cannot currently access Veterans Health Administration's benefits and who meet specific income requirements. Veterans Care offers an affordable option for eligible Illinois Veterans who are looking for comprehensive healthcare coverage. Covered services include hospital care, doctor services, prescription drugs, laboratory tests and X-rays, alcohol and substance abuse services, hospice care, mental health services, Family planning, optometric care, podiatric care, and limited dental care. Participants in the Veterans Care Program will have to pay monthly premiums of $40 or $70 based on their income.
Veterans who have the least access to reliable healthcare. To be eligible, Veterans must meet all of the following requirements: 

  • Ages of 19 through 64

  • Have had no health insurance for at least six months. However, you may still be eligible if your only insurance coverage in the last six months:

    • Ended due to the loss of your employment or your Spouse's employment

    • Ended due to the loss of Family Care or other state medical assistance

    • Ended due to the life-time benefit limit in your coverage

    • Is through a Spouse's plan that you are unable to access

    • Is purchased through COBRA or is through post-active-duty TRICARE coverage

  • Not eligible for VA healthcare

  • Not eligible for other state healthcare programs such as Family Care

  • Not been dishonorably discharged

  • Have served 180 consecutive days active duty after training

  • Veterans with incomes in the approved income range (varies by county and household size)

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Parks and Recreation Benefits:

Hunting and Fishing Privileges: Fishing and hunting licenses are not required for disabled Veterans (resident or non-resident) receiving 10% or greater service-connected compensation, or total disability pension benefits. You are also exempt from purchasing a Habitat stamp. To acquire a permit, contact your local Veterans Service office.

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Military Fee Exemption: Effective April 1, 2012, the fees for fishing licenses, sportsmen's combination licenses, and hunting licenses for resident Veterans (after returning from service abroad or mobilization by the President) at one-half the license fee for residents. In addition to the fee exemptions a person on active duty in the Armed Forces, who entered the service from Illinois and is an Illinois resident, may, while on ordinary or emergency leave, hunt without a license; however, a Federal Waterfowl Stamp and state Habitat Stamp are required. Military members are eligible for free sport fishing, hunting and camping for one license year for each year served and for one year for each portion of a year served.

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Camping & Shelter Fee Discounts for A Disabled Veteran or Former Prisoner Of War: This benefit provides for the exemption of camping and admission fees for certain disabled persons and former prisoners of war who are Illinois residents and wish to camp in parks under the control of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In order to receive the camping fee discounts for disabled Veterans or former prisoners of war, an individual must possess a Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Certification Card. In order to receive the camping fee discounts, the Disability Certification Card must be presented to park staff in charge of writing camping permits.
Eligibility: Every Veteran who is a resident of Illinois and:

  • Disabled by the permanent loss of use of a leg or both legs or an arm or both arms or any combination thereof, or any person who is severely disabled as to be unable to move without the aid of crutches or a wheelchair; or

  • Is receiving 100% service connected disability compensation benefits either from the Veterans Administration or military disability retired pay (other than TDRL, Temporary Disability Retired List); or

  • Is a former Prisoner of War as identified by the Veterans Administration or other United States governmental agency.

The immediate Family (Spouse, minor Children, or Grandchildren under 18 years old) of a Veteran, when accompanied by the Veteran, is eligible for camping fee discounts.

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Miscellaneous Benefits:

Illinois GI Loans 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.

  • 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.

Learn more about the GI Loan for Heroes

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Military Service Fare Program: Free or reduced fare rides are available for qualifying military personnel in the RTA's service region of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The free or reduced fare rides are provided on fixed-route service by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace. Qualifications vary among transit providers. Please view the transit provider you are using for the applicable conditions:

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Military Service Pass:

  • Chicago area active duty military personnel and actively drilling members of the National Guard and Reserves who possess an Armed Forces ID card or a member of the Coast Guard with appropriate identification.

  • Chicago area disabled Veterans who have a qualifying service-connected disability and can provide proof that:

    1. You are in receipt of United States Department of Veterans' Affairs (USDVA) disability compensation of 10% or greater; or

    2. You are receiving military disability retirement pay in lieu of USDVA compensation at a rate of 10% or greater.

Metra: Military personnel presenting their proper military identification indicating they are on active duty will receive the reduced rate for a one-way fare or the reduced rate for ten-ride tickets. The discount does not apply to monthly tickets. Military personnel must see a ticket agent or on-board personnel for their reduced fare. These privileges are extended to all branches of the military; Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. A special military fare from Great Lakes to Chicago is $2 for military personnel in uniform.

Disabled Veterans are ineligible to ride for free on Metra, unless an RTA Ride Free permit is presented.

Pace: Uniformed active duty U.S. Military personnel qualify for a free ride. Military personnel in uniform must see the bus operator for their free ride. Disabled Veterans are ineligible to ride for free on Pace, unless an RTA Ride Free permits is presented. See information in "Commonly Asked Questions" for information regarding reduced fare or ride free eligibility.

Metra Passenger Service

Pace Passenger Service

RTA Customer Service

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Specially Adapted Housing: 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.
Veterans with permanent and total service-connected disabilities.

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The Military Family Leave Act: Provides 15 to 30 days of unpaid leave time to Spouses and parents of Soldiers called to more than 1 month of active duty.
Illinois National Guard members.

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Military Family Relief Fund: Status-based grant: flat rate of $500. Need-based grant: up to $2,000 (maximum) depending on Family financial need. Casualty-based grant: $5,000, which is not retroactive, meaning injuries incurred on or after November 23, 2009, are eligible for consideration for the $5,000 Casualty-based grant. Single people are ineligible.
Eligibility: Illinois National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserve deployed 60 consecutive days or more. The following members are ineligible to receive grants: All officers O-4 and higher, warrant officers W-4 and higher, and enlisted members with pay grades of E9.

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World War II Bonus: 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.

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Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Global War on Terrorism (OEF/OIF) Conflict Bonus: A $100 bonus is payable for service during one of the following periods:

  • Korea - June 27, 1950 - July 27, 1953

  • Vietnam - January 1, 1961 - March 28, 1973

  • Vietnam Frequent Wind - April 29, 30, 1975

  • Persian Gulf - August 2, 1990 - November 30, 1995.

  • Global War on Terrorism (OEF/OIF): on or after September 11, 2001

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

  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal or the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Eligibility: The claimant must also have been a resident of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service and have received an Honorable Discharge. Download application here. (Individuals currently on active duty who served in the Persian Gulf may apply prior to discharge by also including the "Armed Forces Certificate".)

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Veterans' Homes at Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy: Quality nursing and health care services are provided for Illinois Veterans with military service of one (1) day or more during WW II, the Korean , Vietnam conflicts, or the Gulf War, or during any period of time now, or in the future, recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a period of war. The Veteran must have either been an Illinois resident upon entering the service, or have resided in the State of Illinois for one (1) year preceding application for admittance into a Veterans' Home. Peacetime Veterans with one (1) year of honorable military service may also be eligible for admission after the waiting list of eligible Veterans is exhausted. Spouses, or surviving Spouses, may also qualify for admittance in cases where Veteran wait lists have been exhausted.

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The Prince Home at Manteno: The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Prince Home at Manteno is a residential program for homeless and disabled Veterans. Opened in 2007, the Prince Home at Manteno provides housing and supportive services for homeless Illinois Veterans, helping them cope with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), substance abuse, and other challenges.

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Global War on Terrorism Survivors Compensation: A $3000 compensation benefit is payable to survivors of military personal 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, please contact IDVA's local Veteran Service Office in your area.

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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

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Indigent Veterans: The county Veterans Assistance Commission shall provide 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.

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Military Installations

Please see the Illinois Resource Locator for additional information

Active Duty:
Rock Island Arsenal

Navy & Marine Corps
Naval Station Great Lakes

Air Force
Scott AFB

National Guard:
Illinois Army National Guard
Illinois Air National Guard

182nd Airlift Wing

183rd Fighter Wing

U.S. Army Reserve:
88th Regional Support Command

Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Facilities in Illinois:

Veterans Health Administration
VA Medical Centers
Chicago: Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, 820 S. Damen Ave, 312-569-8387 / 888-569-5282
Danville: VA Illiana Health Care System, 1900 E. Main St, 217-554-3000 / 800-320-8387
Hines: Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, 5000 South 5th Ave, 708-202-8387
Marion: Marion VA Medical Center, 2401 West Main St, 618-997-5311
North Chicago: Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, 3001 Green Bay Rd, 847-688-1900 / 800-393-0865

Outpatient Clinics
Bourbonnais: Kankakee Clinic, 581 William Latham Dr, Suite 301, 815-932-3823 / Fax: 815-932-3827
Chicago: Auburn Gresham (Chicago) Clinic, 7731 S Halsted St, 773-962-3700 / Fax: 773-996-3703
Chicago: Lakeside Clinic, 211 E. Ontario St, 12th Fl, 312-469-4850
Chicago Heights: Chicago Heights Clinic, 30 E. 15th St, Suite 314, 708-754-8880 / Fax: 708-754-8871
Elgin: Elgin Clinic, 450 W. Dundee Ave, 847-742-5920 / Fax: 847-742-6124
Evanston: Evanston Clinic, 1942 Dempster St, 847-869-6315 / Fax: 847-869-7392
Freeport: Freeport Clinic, 750 Kiwanis Dr, Suite 250, 815-235-4881 / Fax: 815-232-4614
Great Lakes: 1007 USS Tranquillity, 3420 Illinois St, 847-688-6755
Great Lakes: 1523 USS Red Rover, 2715 Kansas St, 847-688-5568
Great Lakes: Fisher Clinic, Bldg 237, 2470 Sampson St, 847-688-2469 / Fax: 847-688-2375
Great Lakes: USS Osborne Dental Clinic, 3440 Ohio St, 847-688-2100
Joliet: Joliet Clinic, 1201 Eagle St, 815-740-8100 / Fax: 815-740-8101
McHenry: McHenry Clinic, 3715 Municipal Dr, 815-759-2306 / Fax: 815-759-1953
North Aurora: Aurora Clinic, 161 South Lincolnway, 630-859-2504
Oak Lawn: Oak Lawn Clinic, 10201 S. Cicero, 708-499-3675 / Fax: 708-499-3715
Peru: LaSalle Clinic, 4461 N Progress Blvd, 815-223-9678 / Fax: 815-223-9683
Rockford: Rockford Clinic, 816 Featherstone Rd, 815-227-0081 / Fax: 815-387-5316

Community Based Outpatient Clinics
Belleville: Belleville Clinic, 6500 W Main St, 314-286-6988 / Fax: 314-289-7660
Carbondale: Carbondale Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 1130 East Walnut St, 618-351-1031
Decatur: Decatur VA Outpatient Clinic, 3035 E. Mound Rd, 217-875-2670 / Fax: 217-875-2689
Effingham: Effingham Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 1011 Ford Ave, 217-347-7600
Galesburg: Galesburg VA Clinic, 310 Home Blvd, 309-343-0311
Harrisburg: Harrisburg Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 608 Rollie Moore Dr, 618-252-6150
Mattoon: Mattoon Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 501 Lakeland Blvd, 217-258-3370 / Fax: 217-258-3379
Mt. Vernon: Mt. Vernon Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 4105 N. Water Tower Pl, 618- 246-2910
Peoria: Bob Michel Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 7717 N. Orange Prairie Rd, 309-589-6800
Quincy: Quincy VA Clinic, 721 Broadway St, 217-224-3366 / Fax: 217-224-3311
Springfield: Springfield Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 5850 S. 6th St, Suite A, 217-529-5046 / Fax: 217-529-6154
Sterling: Sterling Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 406 Ave C, 815-632-6200

Vet Center - 877-927-8387
Aurora: DuPage County Vet Center, 750 Shoreline Dr, Suite 150, 630-585-1853 / Fax: 630-585-1956
Chicago: Chicago Vet Center, 7731 S. Halsted St, 2nd Fl, 773-962-3740 / Fax: 773-962-3750
Chicago Heights: Chicago Heights Vet Center, 1010 Dixie Hwy, 2nd Fl, 708-754-8885 / Fax: 708-754-9882
East St. Louis: East St. Louis Vet Center, 1265 N. 89th St, Suite 5, 618-397-6602 / Fax: 618-397-6541
Evanston: Evanston Vet Center, 1901 Howard St, 847-332-1019 / Fax: 847-332-1024
Forest Park: Oak Park Vet Center, 1515 South Harlem, 708-457-8805 / Fax: 708-383-3247
Moline: Quad Cities Vet Center, 1529 46th Ave #6, 309-762-6955 / Fax: 309-762-8298
Orland Park: Orland Park Vet Center, 8651 W. 159th St, Suite 1, 708-444-0561 / Fax: 708-444-0588
Peoria: Peoria Vet Center, 8305 N. Allen Rd, Suite 1, 309-689-9708 / Fax: 309-689-9720
Rockford: Rockford Vet Center, 7015 Rote Rd, Suite 105, 815-395-1276 / Fax: 815-395-0685
Springfield: Springfield, IL Vet Center, 1227 S. Ninth St, 217-492-4955 / Fax: 217-492-4963
Marion: Marion Primary Care Clinic, 3404 Heartland St

Westchester: VISN 12: VA Great Lakes Health Care System, Four Westbrook Corporate Tower, 11301 W. Cermak Rd, Suite 810, 708-492-3900

Veterans Benefits Administration
Regional Office
Chicago: Chicago Regional Benefit Office, 2122 W Taylor St, 800-827-1000

Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
N Chicago: Great Lakes Naval Station, BDD Intake Site/VA Medical Center
Scott Air Force Base: Scott Air Force Base, Fleet & Family Support, 847-688-3603

National Cemetery Administration
National Cemetery
Alton: Alton National Cemetery, 600 Pearl St, 314-845-8320 / Fax: 314-845-8355
Alton: North Alton Confederate Cemetery, 635 Rozier St, 314-845-8320 / Fax: 314-845-8355
Chicago: Confederate Mound, Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 E 67th St, 815-423-9958 / Fax: 815-423-5824
Danville: Danville National Cemetery, 1900 East Main St, 214-554-4550 / Fax: 217-554-4803
Elwood: Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, 20953 W. Hoff Rd, 815-423-9958 / Fax: 815-423-5824
Mound City: Mound City National Cemetery, HWY Junction 37 & 51, 314-845-8320 / Fax: 314-845-8355
Quincy: Quincy National Cemetery, 36th & Maine St, 309-782-2094 / Fax: 309-782-2097
Rock Island: Rock Island Confederate Cemetery, Rodman Ave, Rock Island Arsenal, 309-782-2094 / Fax: 309-782-2097
Rock Island: Rock Island National Cemetery, Bldg 118, Rock Island Arsenal, 309-782-2094 / Fax: 309-782-2097
Springfield: Camp Butler National Cemetery, 5063 Camp Butler Rd, 217-492-4070 / Fax: 217-492-4072

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Document Review Date: 30 October 2015