Illinois Military and Veterans Benefits

State Taxes
Education Benefits
Employment Benefits
Unemployment Insurance
Department of Vehicle Services
Health and Insurance Benefits
Parks and Recreation Benefits
Miscellaneous Benefits
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Facilities
Military Resource Locator

Resources

Summary of Illinois Military and Veterans Benefits: Illinois offers special benefits for Service members, Veterans and their Families 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 park camping privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component and Veteran disability status.

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), Veteran Service Officers: IDVA runs full-time and part-time (itinerant) offices across the state, staffed by Veteran Service Officers, fellow Veterans who are experts on federal, state and local Veteran resources.

Veterans Service Officers are trained to assist Service members, Veterans, retired Service members and their Families find and apply for military/ Veterans benefits under federal, state and local laws. All their services are provided free of charge.
IDVA, Online Contact Page

Learn more about Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officers

Illinois State Military and Veterans Benefit Highlights and Eligibility

Welcome to Illinois sign


What are my Illinois Military and Veterans State Tax Benefits?

Illinois State Income Tax on Military Pay: Military pay that is included in a Service member’s federal adjusted gross income (AGI) may be subtracted from their Illinois gross income, including:

  • Pay for duty in the U.S. 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 the Reserves (including a National Guard unit of another state)

Service members may not subtract the following:

  • Military income (such as combat pay) that was excluded from their AGI

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

Learn more about Illinois State Income Tax on Military Income

Illinois Military Spouse Residency Relief Act: A nonresident Spouse that has the same state of residence as a nonresident Service member, who is stationed in Illinois under military orders, is exempt from Illinois income taxes on wages earned in Illinois. The nonresident Spouse must pay taxes (if required) to their state of residence.

Learn more about the Illinois Military Spouse Residency Relief Act

Illinois Military Retired Pay Taxes: Illinois does not tax military retired pay.

Learn more about Illinois Income Tax on Military Retired Pay

Illinois State Taxes on Military Disability Retirement Pay: Illinois does not tax government disability plans.
Illinois Department of Revenue, Publication 120

Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income. Some of the payments which are considered disability benefits include:

  • Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to Veterans or their Families

  • Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living

  • Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of limbs, or

  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.

If you are a retired Service member and receive disability benefits from the VA, see IRS Publication 525 for more information.

Learn more about Illinois State Taxes on Military Disability Retirement Pay

Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Illinois State Tax Benefits: Illinois does not tax government retirement plans.

Learn more about Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Illinois State Tax Benefits

Illinois State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.young child hugging a tombstone in a veteran cemetery

Learn more about Illinois State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Illinois Disabled Veteran Tax Exemption for Mobile Homes: Illinois offers a tax exemption for mobile homes owned and used as a residence by eligible disabled Veterans and their Spouse or their unremarried Surviving Spouse.
Who is eligible for Illinois Disabled Veteran Tax Exemption for Mobile Homes? This exemption applies to the tax levied by each county to the owner of a mobile home that meet all the following criteria:

  • Mobile home must be owned and used exclusively by a disabled Veteran and their Spouse or unremarried Surviving Spouse as their primary residence

  • Disabled Veteran must have been awarded the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the VA for a primary residence that they owned and lived in prior to purchasing a mobile home

  • Disabled Veteran and their Spouse or unremarried Surviving Spouse must be a permanent resident of Illinois on January 1 of the tax year they are claiming this exemption.

Applicants should contact their county tax assessor's office or local Veteran Service Officer for more information.
Illinois County Assessor Directory
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Disabled Veteran Tax Exemption for Mobile Homes

Illinois Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption (RVHE): RVHE provides eligible Veterans a one-time $5,000 reduction to their homes' equalized assessed value. 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. Veterans should contact their local County Assessor's Office for more information and how to apply. 35 ILCS Title 4, 200/15-167
Illinois County Assessor Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption

Illinois Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption (DVSHE): DVSHE provides a reduction in a property's equalized assessed value of a property owned by a Veteran that has a service-connected disability. The reduction is based on the percentage of the Veteran’s disability.

  • $2,500 exemption for a service-connected disability rating of at least 30% but less than 50%

  • $5,000 for a service-connected disability rating of at least 50% but less than 70%

  • Total exemption for a service-connected disability rating of 70% or more.

This exemption is also available to the unremarried Surviving Spouse of a Veteran that received an exemption prior to their death.

Additionally, the unremarried Surviving Spouse of a Service member killed in the line of duty is exempt from all 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. Applicants should contact local County Assessor's Office for more information and how to apply. 35 ILCS Title 4, 200/15-169
Illinois County Assessor Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption

disabled vet in a wheelchair Illinois Disabled Veterans' Exemption for Specially Adapted Housing: Illinois offers a total property tax exemption on the residence of a permanent and total service-connected disabled Veteran, their Spouse or unremarried Surviving Spouse.

This exemption is available for homes that were purchased or modified with a Specially Adapted Housing Grant to accommodate the Veteran’s disability. For more information, and how to apply Veterans should contact their local Veteran Service Officer. 35 ILCS Title 4, 200/15-165
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Disabled Veterans' Exemption for Specially Adapted Housing

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Education Benefits?

soldier taking notesIllinois National Guard Grant Program (ING): ING will pay tuition and certain fees (registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees) for undergraduate or graduate study for eligible Illinois National Guard Service members. Benefits can only be used at an Illinois two or four year public colleges. The amount of benefits a Service member can receive is based on years of service.

  • Less than ten years of National Guard service, grant can be used up to the equivalent of four academic years of full-time enrollment

  • Ten years or more of National Guard service, grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of six academic years of full-time enrollment

Who is eligible for ING? To be eligible Service members must meet the following requirements:

  • Currently serving Illinois National Guard Service member

  • Service member who served in the Illinois National Guard for at least five consecutive years and whose education was interrupted due to being called to federal active duty for at least six months can receive an exemption from having to be currently serving (for more information Service members should contact their chain of command, or contact the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office at 217-761-3782)

  • Completed one full year of service in the Illinois National Guard

  • Enrolled at an Illinois public two or four year college

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

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by the educational institution.

Service members should complete their application at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Online ING Application on or before the deadline date:

  • October 1 - Full Year Consideration

  • March 1 – Spring and Summer term consideration

  • June 15 - Summer Term Consideration.

2021-2022 ING Approved Illinois Schools
2022-2023 ING Approved Illinois Schools

Learn more about the Illinois National Guard Grant Program

Illinois Educational Opportunity Grant for Children of Veterans: A $250 educational grant is offered annually to the Children of a Veteran that served in the U.S. Armed Forces during a time of Armed Conflict and meets one of the following requirements:

  • Died on active duty or who’s death is ruled service-connected

  • 100% totally and permanently disabled

  • 100% disabled for at least two years.

The Child must be between the ages of 10 and 18 and the grant may be used at a state elementary school, middle school, high school or vocational school.
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Application for Veterans' Children Educational Opportunities Part I
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Application for Veterans' Children Educational Opportunities Part II

Learn more about the Illinois Educational Opportunity Grant for Children of Veterans

Illinois Missing in Action (MIA)/ Prisoner of War (POW) Scholarship: Illinois provides an education scholarship at Illinois state supported colleges or universities for the dependents of Veterans who are declared a POW or MIA, died while on active duty, 100% disabled due to service-connected disabilities or died as a result of a service-connected disabilities. The scholarship will pay full tuition and the following fees:

  • Activity Fee

  • Application Fee

  • Graduation Fee

  • Term Fee

  • Instructional Fee

  • Proficiency Test Fee

  • CLEP Test Fee

  • Placement Tests Fee

  • Board of Governors Test Fee.

The scholarship is based on a points system, students are authorized a maximum of 120 points that expire 12 years from the date of enrollment.

  • 1 Credit Hour = 1 Point

  • 2 Credit Hours = 2 Points

  • 3 Credit Hours = 3 Points

  • 4 Credit Hours = 4 Points

  • 5 Credit Hours = 5 Points

  • 6-8 Credit Hours = 6 Points

  • 9-11 Credit Hours = 9 Points

  • 12 Or More Hours = 12 Points

To continue to be eligible students must maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by the educational institution.
Who is eligible for the Illinois MIA / POW Scholarship? This scholarship is offered to the Spouse, unremarried Surviving Spouse, natural Child, stepchild or adopted Child of a Veteran that meets eligibility requirements. Children must be under the age of 26 to be eligible.

The Veteran must have been an Illinois resident at the time of entry into active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or a resident of Illinois for at least 15 consecutive years after leaving active duty. Finally, the Veteran must meet one of the following criteria to qualify:

  • Declared a POW or MIA

  • 100% permanent and total service-connected disability rating from the VA

  • 100% permanent and total service-connected disability unemployable rating from the VA

  • Died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces due to a service-connected cause.

Illinois MIA/POW Scholarship Online Application

Learn more about the Illinois Missing in Action / Prisoner of War Scholarship

Graduation caps being toss up in the air Illinois Veterans' Grant (IVG): IVG pays tuition and mandatory fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for Illinois Veterans.
Who is eligible for the IVG? To be eligible Veterans must meet the following requirements:

  • Received an honorable discharge

  • Resident of Illinois six months before entering the U. S. Armed forces

  • Either served one full year of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or, were assigned to active duty in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country, regardless of length of service

  • Return to Illinois within six months of discharge from active duty.

Veterans can apply at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Online IVG Application. For more information Veterans should contact an Illinois Veteran Service Officer office, their college financial aid office or

Illinois Student Assistance Commission
1755 Lake Cook Road
Deerfield IL, 60015,
Phone: 847-948-8550 / 800-899-ISAC

Illinois Student Education Commission Website
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Veterans' Grant

Illinois Children of Veterans Scholarship: Illinois counties are authorized to award one annual scholarship to the University of Illinois to the Children of Veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnam Conflict and any time on or after August 2, 1990

Preference is given to the Children of deceased and disabled Veterans. Children will receive a scholarship for tuition at the University of Illinois for four consecutive years. For more information, please contact the University of Illinois, Office of Student Financial Aid.

Learn more about the Illinois Children of Veterans Scholarship

Academic Credit at Illinois Institutions of Higher Education for Military Training and Education: Illinois institutions of higher education will award academic credits for a Service member or Veteran’s military education and training

For more information please visit the Illinois Transfer Portal, iTransfer Military credit webpage.

Learn more about Academic Credit at Illinois Institutions of Higher Education for Military Training and Education

Illinois Bright Start Fallen Heroes Scholarship: Illinois offers the Children of a fallen Service member a $1000 scholarship that is deposited in a Bright Start account that may be used for qualified higher education expenses.
Who is eligible for the Illinois Bright Start Fallen Heroes Scholarship? The Children (including stepchildren and adopted Children), under 30 years old of a Service member that was killed in the line of duty while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to apply. Students do not need to be enrolled in an undergraduate program, and awards may be deferred for future use.

Scholarship Terms:

  • Scholarship are invested in an age-based portfolio under the Bright Start College Savings Program

  • Scholarship cannot be awarded as cash or withdrawn at any time for cash, funds must pay the school directly

  • Bright Start can only be used for qualified higher education expenses (tuition and fees)

  • Eligible educational institutions includes most accredited public, nonprofit and

    privately-owned for-profit postsecondary institutions.

To apply students should submit the completed, signed application with the required documentation to FallenHeroes@IllinoisTreasurer.gov or by mail to:

Office of the Illinois State Treasurer
Fallen Heroes Scholarship
100 W. Randolph Street, Suite 15-600
Chicago, Illinois 60601

Required documentation includes the birth certificate or adoption certificate of the dependent Child named in the application, proof of Illinois residency, and a copy of the DD1300 Report of Casualty. A complete list of required documentation is contained on the application. For more information please call 866-465-9724.
Bright Start Fallen Heroes, Scholarship Program Application

Learn more about the Illinois Bright Start Fallen Heroes Scholarship

Children sitting on the steps of a school Illinois Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3): The purpose of this compact is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on Children of military Families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:

  • Facilitating the prompt 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 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.

MIC3 Assistance Request


Primary Point of Contact
Phone: 618-632-3507

Learn more about the Illinois Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

Illinois Purple Star School Program for Military-Friendly Schools : Recent legislation authorized the Illinois Purple Star School program for military-friendly schools beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. The Purple Star School program recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and Families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces. Schools that earn the award will receive a special Purple Star recognition to display on site.

For a school to qualify for the Purple Star Award they must appoint a school liaison that is specially trained to handle the unique challenges experienced by military Families. This liaison will ensure that other teachers at their school are aware of special considerations that students from military Families can benefit from. Each school will also have a dedicated page on their school website featuring resources for military Families.
Illinois House Joint Resolution 10
Military Child Education Coalition Purple Star School Program

Learn more about the Illinois Purple Star School Program for Military-Friendly Schools

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Employment Benefits?

Illinois Veteran Entrepreneurship Program: The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) in partnership with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services provides training and outreach to new and established entrepreneurs by connecting them to government agencies, educational institutions, trade associations and business sector experts to educate them on resources and opportunities available to Veteran-owned and service disabled Veteran-owned businesses.

IDVA and its partner organizations host a variety of training, seminars and informational sessions across the state to share information and resources to Veterans, military Families and returning Service members. Event participants receive personalized assistance in the following areas:

  • Procurement

  • Federal, state, county, city contracting

  • Business plan development

  • Veteran certification enterprise application assistance

  • Strategic growth plan development

  • Access to capital

  • Marketing and branding.

Those interested should contact their local Illinois Veteran Service Officer.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Veteran Entrepreneurship Program

Illinois Department of Employment Security, Veteran Employment Services: The Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) helps Veterans find sustaining and meaningful employment. Their Employment Specialists provide Veterans with priority of service for employment services at nearly 40 offices located throughout Illinois. Some of the services provided are:

  • Online job search at IllinoisJobLink.com

  • Setup a free account and learn how to use the system to create a resume, search and apply for jobs

  • Information on available training opportunities.

Veterans requesting employment assistance should email DES.MyVetRep@illinois.gov or visit their nearest Illinois Department of Employment Security Office.

Learn more about the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Veteran Employment Services

Illinois Work-Study Opportunities: The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) provides VA work-study opportunities at its numerous offices throughout Illinois. The 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. Additional work-study opportunities may exist at their campus Veterans' office, VA Medical Facilities, the VA Regional Office, and with 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.
VA Work-Study Program webpage

Learn more about Illinois Work Study Opportunities

Illinois Public Employee Leave for Military Duty: Reserve component Service members that are a full-time employee of Illinois state government, local government, public institutions of higher education or a school district must be granted leave from their public employment for any period they are actively serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. During this leave, the employee's seniority and other benefits will continue to accrue.

In addition, public employees are entitled to full salary continuation during annual training for up to 30 days per calendar year, this training does not need to be consecutive.

Public employees that are required to serve on active duty for longer than 60 days are also entitled to differential compensation, meaning, the public employer must continue to pay the difference between the employee's civilian and military pay.

Public employees may choose to use accrued vacation, annual, or similar leave instead of receiving differential pay.
Who is eligible for Illinois Public Employee Leave for Military Duty? Illinois National Guard and Reserve Service members are eligible for leave for military duty as well as salary continuation for 30 days or differential pay for 60 days.

Learn more about Illinois State Employee, Local Government Employee and Public or Higher Education Employee Leave for Military Duty

Illinois Family Military Leave Act: Illinois law requires employers to grant Family military leave to the Spouse, Parent, Child or grandparent of Service members while thIllinois National Guard dutyey are on state or federal deployment orders.

Employers with at least 15 employees, but not more than 50, must provide up to 15 days of unpaid Family military leave. Employers with 51 or more employees must provide up to 30 days of unpaid Family military leave.

Before taking Family military leave, employees should provide the employer with 14 days' notice and are required to use vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, and any other leave that may be granted first, this does not include sick leave and disability leave.

Learn more about the Illinois Military Family Act

Illinois State Approving Agency (SAA): 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 VA. Types of approved training 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.

Click the “Learn more…” link below for SAA points of contact.

Learn more about the Illinois State Approving Agency

Illinois State Employment Veteran Hiring Preference: Illinois offers Veterans’ hiring preference for state employment to eligible Service members, Veterans and certain Family members. Preference is given by adding points to passing grades.

Three Preference Points are added to the scores of Veterans that served in the U.S. Armed Forces and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Served at least six months and received an honorable discharge

  • Was discharged based on hardship, or was released from active duty because of a service-connected disability and received an honorable discharge

  • Served a minimum of four years in the Illinois Guard or the Reserve, including Service members who are still actively serving.

Five Preference Points are added to the scores of Veterans that served in the U.S. Armed Forces and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Served during a time of hostilities with a foreign country for at least six months and received an honorable discharge, or

  • Served for the duration of the hostilities regardless of the length of engagement

  • Served during a time of hostilities and was discharged based on hardship or was released from active duty because of a service-connected disability and received an honorable discharge.

10 Preference Points are added to the scores of Individuals that meet one of the following requirements:

  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces that has a service-connected disability rating from the VA

  • Purple Heart recipient

  • Unremarried Surviving Spouse of:

    • Service member or Veteran that died from a service-connected cause

    • Veteran that has a service-connected disability that prevents them from qualifying for civil service employment

  • Parent of an unmarried Service member or Veteran who suffered a service-connecteddeath or a service-connected disability that prevents them from qualifying for civil service employment.

All Veterans will be required to submit a certified copy of their DD214 / DD215 as proof of service at the time of application. For open state employment positions please visit the Illinois Central Management Services' Work 4 Illinois website.
Illinois State Employment Tip Sheet for Veterans
Illinois State Employment Veterans' Hiring Preference Flyer

Learn more about Illinois State Employment Veteran Hiring Preference

Federal Employment Veteran's Hiring Preferences: By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans 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.

Five-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: 10 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% but less than 30%.

10-Point 30% Compensable Disability Preference (CPS): 10 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% or more.

10-Point Disability Preference (XP): 10 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 VA but does not qualify as a CP or CPS, or

  • A Veteran who received a Purple Heart.

10-Point Derived Preference (XP): 10 points are added to the passing examination score or rating of Spouses, Surviving Spouses, or mothers of Veterans. Both a mother and a Spouse (including Surviving Spouse) may be entitled to preference based on 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 their 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 VA authorities to be 100% disabled and/or unemployable, or

  • Has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position because 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 their 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 Title 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.

Learn more about Federal Employment Veteran's Hiring Preferences

Illnois Service Member Employment and Reeemployment Rights Act logo Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA): (330 ILCS 61) ISERRA ensures Illinois Service members’ jobs and benefits are protected while they are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It protects the Service member and their right to maintain their civilian jobs while they are serving. ISERRA also helps provide information and training for employers across Illinois.

ISERRA helps minimize the disadvantages of military service in civilian careers by:

  • Providing for prompt reemployment and protections to Service members that minimizes disruption to the lives of employees, their employers, and co-workers

  • Prohibits discrimination against and interference with military service

  • Ensures that businesses are model employers of reserve component Service members.

The law also created the ISERRA advocate, the ISERRA advocate can assist both Service members and employers with information to ensure the rights of Service members are protected.

For further assistance, please contact the Attorney General’s ISERRA Advocate at 800-382-3000 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013).
ISERRA Notice
ISERRA Brochure

Learn more about the Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

Illinois Education Waiver for Veterans for State Police, Conservation Officers, Municipal Police, Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians: Illinois will waive certain education requirements for Veterans interested in public service.

Illinois State Police and Illinois Conservation Police: The educational requirements needed to join the Illinois State Police will be waived for Veterans who have been honorably discharged with a campaign medal for service in Afghanistan or Iraq. All other requirements to join the Illinois State Police will still apply.

The education requirements needed to join the Illinois Conservation Police (a component of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources) will be waived if they:

  • Have been honorably discharged and awarded a Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, or Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal by the U.S. Armed Forces, or

  • Active members of the Illinois National Guard or Reserves that was awarded the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, or Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal during deployment on active duty.

All other requirements to join the Illinois Conservation Police will still apply.

Education Waiver for Municipal Police and Firefighters: The educational requirements of an associate degree needed to be hired as a firefighter or municipal police officer is waived for a Veteran if they meet the following requirements:

  • Served honorably for 24 months on active duty, or

  • Served 180 days in combat.

The educational requirements of a bachelor’s degree needed to be hired as a firefighter or municipal police officer is waived for a Veteran if they meet the following requirements:

  • Served honorably for 36 months on active duty, or

  • The applicant served 180 days in combat.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs): The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will review applications for an EMT license from honorably discharged Service members with military emergency medical training for information that clearly demonstrates that their training and experience meets licensing standards. Applications must be filed with IDPH within one year after military discharge. If applicants meet the requirements, IDPH will offer the applicant the opportunity to take an IDPH-approved EMT exam and will issue an EMT license if they pass.

Learn more about Illinois Education Waiver for State Police, Conservation Officers, Municipal Police, Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA): USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of reserve components. USERRA also protects Service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law, improving enforcement mechanisms, and adding Federal Government employees to those employees already eligible to receive Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.

Absence from Work for Military Duty: USERRA establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights to five years. Exceptions to the five-year limit, include initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty, Soldiers looking at a mapand involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency. USERRA establishes that reemployment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of an individual's service if the basic eligibility criteria are met.

Disability Accommodation: USERRA provides protection for disabled Veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. Service members recovering from injuries received during service or training may have up to two years from the date of completion of service to return to their jobs or apply for reemployment.

Return to Work without Loss of Seniority: USERRA provides that returning Service members are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. USERRA also requires that reasonable efforts (such as training or retraining) be made to enable returning Service members to refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for reemployment. USERRA also provides that while an individual is performing military service, they are deemed to be on a furlough or leave of absence and are entitled to the non-seniority rights accorded other individuals on non-military leaves of absence.

Extension of Health and Pension Plans: Health and pension plan coverage for Service members is provided for by USERRA. Individuals performing military duty of more than 30 days may elect to continue employer sponsored health care for up to 24 months; however, they may be required to pay up to 102% of the full premium. For military service of less than 31 days, health care coverage is provided as if the Service member had remained employed. USERRA clarifies pension plan coverage by making explicit that all pension plans are protected.
Who is eligible for USERRA Benefits?
Veterans, Reservists, or National Guard members who leave a position for training or active military service are eligible.

The Department of Labor, through the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) helps all that have claims under USERRA, including Federal and Postal Service employees.
employees.
VETS Regional Office Locations

Learn more about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Unemployment Compensation Benefits?

Illinois Unemployment Insurance (UI): The Illinois UI program is administered by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and provides temporary financial assistance for workers that are unemployed through no fault of their own. UI is a partial, short-term replacement of lost wages while workers are seeking other work and is not intended to be a permanent source of income. Benefits are not based on financial need. Employers pay all costs of the UI program.
Who is eligible for Illinois UI? To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Unemployed through no fault of their own

  • Were paid $1,600 or more in wages during base period for insured work

  • Were paid at least $440 of base period wages at any time during the base period outside the calendar quarter in which the applicants wages were highest

  • Registered for work with IDES.

To file for UI applicants must file online at the IDES Online UI Claim webpage. Applicants will need the following information to file a claim:

  • Social Security number and name as it appears on their Social Security card

  • Driver License / State ID information

  • Spouse and dependent Children names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers (if included in the claim)

  • Name, mailing address, phone number, employment dates, and separation reason for all the employers for the last 18 months

  • Gross wages since Sunday of the current week

  • Pension payment information (not including Social Security)

  • Alien Registration Information for non-U.S. citizens

  • DD214/ 215 for recently separated Veterans

  • Standard Form 8 and Personnel Action Form 50 for recently separated federal employees. ​

For questions and more information, please visit an IDES office​​ or call 800-244-5631.
IDES Office Locator
IDES, UI Benefits Handbook

Learn more about Illinois Unemployment Insurance

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Department of Vehicle Services Benefits?

“Veteran” Designation on Illinois Driver's Licenses and ID Cards: Illinois offers a “Veteran” designation on Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards to honorably discharged Illinois Veteran Drivers LicenseVeterans. This designation can serve as proof of a Veteran’s eligibility services and benefits for which they are entitled.
Who is eligible for “Veteran” Designation on Illinois Driver's Licenses and ID Cards? Veterans that received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible.

To request the “Veteran” designation Veterans must take their DD214 or Certification of Military Service (NA Form 13038) to their local Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Office to get a certification stamp on their documents. After receiving the certification stamp Veterans may apply at any Illinois Secretary of State Facility. There is no charge to add the designation during the Veterans license or ID card renewal period. Requesting the designation prior to the renewal period costs $5 for licenses and $10 for ID cards, there is no charge for Veterans 65 and older.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory
Illinois Secretary of State Facility Directory

Learn more about the “Veteran” Designation on Illinois Driver's Licenses and ID Cards

Illinois Military and Veteran License Plates: Illinois offers 40 distinctive license plates to honor the service and sacrifice of eligible Service members, Veterans, retired Service members, and certain Family members. Specific eligibility and documentation requirements will apply. A short description of some these license plates is listed below.

Illinois Military and Veteran License Plates are only available to Illinois Residents and can only be applied for at the Illinois Secretary of State office in Springfield, either in person or by mail.

Secretary of State
501 S. 2nd Street
Howlett Building, Room 541
Springfield, Illinois 62756

Learn more about Illinois Military and Veteran License Plates

Illinois Congressional Medal of Honor License Plate Illinois Congressional Medal of Honor License Plate: Medal of Honor recipients are eligible for the Illinois Medal of Honor license plate. There is no cost for the first set of plates. The Surviving Spouse of a person awarded the Medal of Honor may obtain and/or retain these plates.

Veterans must provide official documentation from the federal government or a letter from the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs verifying they received the Medal of Honor.

Learn more about the Illinois Congressional Medal of Honor License Plate

Illinois US Army Veteran plate Illinois U.S. Army Veteran License Plate: Veterans that served in the U.S. Army are eligible for the Illinois U.S. Army Veteran license plate. The Surviving Spouse of U.S. Army Veteran may retain this license plate if they transfer the registration to their name within 180 days of the death of the Veteran. These plates cost $151 per year.

Veterans must provide a copy of their DD214 indicating they served in the U.S. Army, or a letter of verification from the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs or the federal government verifying their service.

Learn more about the Illinois U.S. Army Veteran License Plate

Illinois Disabled Veteran plate Illinois Disabled Veteran License Plate: Veterans that have a service-connected disability from the VA and receive certification from a licensed physician are eligible for the Illinois Disabled Veteran license plate. Vehicles displaying these plates may park in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities. The first set of these license plates is issued free.

Veterans must provide a letter from the VA verifying they have a service-connected disability and a Disabled Veteran Certification for Parking Placard/ License Plates signed by a licensed physician.

Learn more about the Illinois Disabled Veteran License Plate

Illinois Disable Veteran Plate Illinois Service-Connected Disabled Veteran (ISERVE)License Plate: Resident Veterans that have a service-connected disability from the VA of 50% or more, but do not qualify for a Persons with Disabilities Parking Placard/ License Plate are eligible for the Illinois Disabled Veteran (ISERVE) license plate. The first set of these license plates is issued free.

Veterans must provide a letter from the VA verifying they have a service-connected disability rating of 50% or more.

Learn more about the Illinois Service-Connected Disabled Veteran (ISERVE) License Plate

Illinois Purple Heart License Plate Illinois Purple Heart License Plate: Purple Heart recipients are eligible for the Illinois Purple Heart license plate. The Surviving Spouse of a Purple Heart recipient may request or retain this license plate if they transfer the registration to their name within 180 days of the death of the Veteran. The first set of these license plates is issued free.

Veterans must provide a copy of their DD214, or a letter of verification from the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs or the federal government verifying they received the Purple Heart medal.

Learn more about the Illinois Purple Heart License Plate

Illinois Gold Star License Plate Illinois Gold Star License Plate: The Illinois Gold Star License plate is available to the Surviving Spouse, parent, daughter, son or sibling(s) of a Service member that dies while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Applicants must provide a completed Affirmation for Gold Star License Plates verifying they received the Gold Star Medal, including the Service member's name and relationship to the applicant. These plates cost $151 per year.

Learn more about the Illinois Gold Star License Plate

Illinois Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)– Even Exchange and Military Skills Test Waiver: Service members and Veterans who have been discharged within the past 12 months may have some or all of their CDL testing waived, due to their military training and experience. This program is only available to applicants that are applying for their first CDL and not for upgrades or restriction changes to an existing CDL.

There are two options under the Military CDL Waiver program, the Even Exchange and the Skills Test waiver.

Even Exchange Option: The Even Exchange option allows Service members who have certain Military Occupational Skills/ Rating's in the U.S. Armed Forces to have their CDL knowledge and Skills testing waived. This could also include certain endorsement tests, based on the applicant's experience.

  • Army – 88M, 92F

  • Air Force – 2T1, 2F0, 3E2

  • Marine Corps – 3531

  • Navy – EO

Skills Waiver Option: The Skills Waiver option is available to Service members who have military commercial driving training and experience but do not have the Military Occupational Skills / Rating's for the Even Exchange option. Applicants must have been licensed on a military vehicle like the commercial vehicle class they are applying for. This option only allows a waiver of the CDL Skills testing and does not include the CDL knowledge testing requirement or any endorsements requiring skills testing.

Applicants must complete page one of the appropriate application and have their commander complete page two. Completed applications and any required documentation can be submitted by email to the CDL Division at CDLSafeRideIllinois@ilsos.net . For more information, please contact the CDL Division at 217-524-5971.
Illinois Application for Exchange of U.S. Military Commercial Driving Experience for CDL
Illinois Application to Waive CDL Skills Testing for Military Commercial Driving Experience

Learn more about the Illinois Commercial Driver’s License – Even Exchange and Military Skills Test Waiver

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Health and Insurance Benefits?

Illinois National Guard Compensation for Injury, Illness Disability and Death Incurred While on State Active Duty: Illinois National Guard Service members on state active duty are eligible for compensation under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act for illness, injury, disability or death when in incurred in the line of duty.
Who is eligible for Illinois National Guard Compensation for Injury, Illness Disability and Death Incurred While on State Active Duty? Illinois National Guard members on state active duty are eligible for coverage under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

Learn more about Illinois National Guard Medical Coverage for Injury, Illness Disability and Death Incurred While on State Active Duty

National Guard Association Illinois insignia National Guard Association of Illinois State Sponsored Group Life Insurance Program (SSLI): SSLI is offered through the Illinois National Guard Association to Illinois National Guard Service members. This program is made up of several voluntary group life policies and is designed to help meet the needs of National Guard Service members and their Families.

SSLI benefits

  • Up to $1,000,000 coverage available

  • Service members covered in combat

  • Covered 24/7, 365 days a year

  • Most claims paid within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of proof of loss

  • All military occupations covered

  • Spouse and Children coverage available

  • Coverage does not end, and rates do not go up when the Service member leaves the National Guard

  • SSLI premiums can be payroll deducted from drill pay or AGR pay.

Who is eligible for National Guard Association of Illinois SSLI? Illinois National Guard members and their Family members are eligible for coverage.

For coverage details including eligibility, benefits, rates, exclusions, limitation and renewal provisions, please call 800-633-8333.
National Guard Association of Illinois, SSLI Coverage Option Sheet

Learn more about the National Guard Association of Illinois State Sponsored Group Life Insurance

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Life Insurance: The VA provides valuable life insurance benefits to Veterans, active and reserve component Service members and their Families to provide financial security given the extraordinary risks involved in military Service. The VA provides the following life insurance benefit programs:

  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

  • Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

  • Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)

  • Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program (TSGLI)

  • Service-Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance (S-DVI)

  • Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI).

Learn more about U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Life Insurance

TRICARE Reserve Select Health Insurance: TRICARE Reserve Select is a premium-based plan, available worldwide for Selected Reserve, (Reserve and National Guard) and their Families who meet the following qualifications:

  • Not on active duty orders

  • Not covered under the Transitional Assistance Management Program

  • Not eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program or currently covered under FEHB, either under their own eligibility or through a Family member.

The plan provides comprehensive health care coverage when you are not activated and covered by active duty TRICARE benefits.

Learn more about TRICARE Reserve Select Health Insurance

Illinois Veterans Care logo Illinois Veterans Health Care Program: The Veterans Care Program provides comprehensive, affordable healthcare to Illinois' uninsured low income Veterans who have the least access to reliable healthcare and cannot access VA health care. Veterans Care offers an affordable option for eligible Illinois Veterans who are looking for comprehensive healthcare coverage. Participants in the Veterans Care Program will have to pay monthly premiums of $40 or $70 based on their income.

Covered services include:

  • Hospital care

  • Doctor services

  • Prescription drugs

  • Care at clinics

  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy

  • Laboratory tests and X-rays

  • Alcohol and substance abuse services

  • Medical equipment, supplies, and appliances

  • Emergency medical transportation

  • Hospice care

  • Home healthcare

  • Renal dialysis

  • Family planning

  • Optometric care

  • Podiatric care

  • Limited dental care

  • Chiropractic care

  • Audiology services

  • Mental health services.

Who is eligible for Illinois Veterans Health Care Program? To be eligible, Veterans must meet all the following requirements:

  • Age 19 through 64

  • Had no health insurance coverage for at least six months, with the following exceptions:

    • Coverage ended due to Spouse losing their job

    • Coverage ended due to loss of Family Care or other state medical assistance

    • Coverage ended due to reaching life-time benefit limit

    • Coverage is through a Spouse's plan that cannot be accessed

    • Coverage is purchased through COBRA

    • Coverage 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

  • Served 180 consecutive days active duty (not for training)

  • Veterans income is equal to or less than the Illinois Veterans Care Income Threshold by County.

To apply Veterans should download and complete the Illinois Veterans Health Care Insurance Application and take it to the nearest Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs office or service center.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Offices Directory

Applicants will be required to provide the following:

  • Military discharge paperwork (DD214)

  • Photo ID

  • Proof of income for the last 30 days

  • If married, proof of Spouse's income for the last 30 days.

Learn more about the Illinois Veterans Health Care Program

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Parks and Recreation Benefits?

Illinois Hunting and Fishing License Exemption for Disabled Veterans: Fishing and hunting licenses are not required for disabled Veterans (resident or nonresident) that Disabled Veteran Fishinghave a 10% or greater service-connected disability rating from the VA. Disabled Veterans are also exempt from purchasing a Habitat stamp.

To be exempt Veterans must request a Veteran’s Disability card from the nearest Illinois Veteran’s Affairs office. Veterans will be required to provide proof of their disability rating.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Offices Directory

Learn more about Illinois Hunting and Fishing License Exemption for Disabled Veterans

Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Military Benefits: In recognition of the services of Illinois resident Service members, the Department of Natural Resources will waive fees for camping, fishing and hunting for the amount of time that a Service member spent in service abroad or was mobilized. Service members are eligible for the following:

  • Free camping at Illinois State Parks (does not include utilities, rent-a-tent or cabin fees)

  • Free Combined Sportsman’s License and Habitat Stamp

  • If requested free firearm deer permit for the county of choice (and the archery deer permit if not available at time of verification.

Eligible Service members must apply within two years after their return from abroad or release from mobilization and will be required to provide a photo ID and verification of qualifying service dates. Service members are eligible for one year for each year served and for one year for each portion of a year served.

To apply Service members must appear in person at the IDNR Headquarters Office:

IDNR Springfield Headquarters Office
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702

Learn more about Illinois Department of Natural Resources Military Benefits

Illinois Resident Service Members May hunt Without a License While on Leave? Service members who entered the U.S. Armed Forces from Illinois and is an Illinois resident may hunt without a license while on ordinary or emergency leave. Service members are still required to purchase a Federal Waterfowl Stamp and Illinois Habitat Stamp.

Learn more about how Illinois Resident Service Members May hunt Without a License While on Leave

Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Veteran Benefits: Illinois resident Veterans that served abroad or were mobilized to federal active duty can purchase an Illinois fishing license, hunting license or Sportsman’s Combination License for half price.

To apply Veterans must appear in person at the IDNR Headquarters Office:

IDNR Springfield Headquarters Office
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702

After the initial purchase of a half price license, Veterans can purchase them online from the IDNR Department website or over the counter from any IDNR direct license agents.
IDNR License Sales, Vendors Information

Learn more about Illinois Department of Natural Resources Veterans Benefits

Free Camping for Illinois Disabled Veterans and Former Prisoners of War (POW): Illinois resident disabled Veterans and former POWs are eligible for free camping and admission at parks controlled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).
Who is eligible Free Camping for Illinois Disabled Veterans and Former POWs? Must be an Illinois resident Veteran and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Permanent loss of use of a leg or both legs or arm or both arms or any combination thereof, or requires the use of crutches or a wheelchair

  • Receiving compensation for a 100% service-connected disability from the VA or a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces

  • Former POW

The Spouse, minor Children, or grandchildren (under 18 years old) accompanying the Veteran are also eligible.

To receive free camping and admission, Veterans must first request a Veteran’s Disability Card from their nearest Illinois Veteran’s Affairs office. Veterans will be required to provide proof of their disability rating or former POW status when applying. Veterans will be required to show their Veteran’s Disability Card when entering the park.

Learn more about Free Camping for Illinois Disabled Veterans and Former Prisoners of War

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Miscellaneous Benefits?

Recording and Storage of Illinois Veteran’s Service Records: The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) maintains military records on many Illinois Veterans. If a Veteran’s records are not on file with IDVA, an Illinois Veteran Service Officers can assist them when requesting a certified copy from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. Once a Veterans records have been located the IDVA will permanently store them for future use.

In addition, they can assist Veterans with the following:

  • Request duplicate military awards

  • Request copies of service records and medical treatment records

  • Submit requests for discharge upgrades

  • Request updates to a Veteran’s DD214.

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.

Learn more about Recording and Storage of Illinois Veteran’s Service Records

Free Entry to the State Fair on Veterans Day for Veterans and their Family Members: Honorably discharged Veterans and their Families are admitted free to the Illinois State Fair on Veterans Day. Veterans must provide proof they received an honorable discharge at entry.

Learn more about Free Entry to the State Fair on Veterans Day for Veterans and their Family Members

Greater Chicago Veterans Food Pantries: The Greater Chicago Food Depository in partnership with Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital and Americorps, is providing food for those who served. Food will be provided to Veterans at the:

  • Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, 820 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago IL 60612, 2 nd Floor, Damen Catwalk; Every Tuesday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

  • Hines VA Hospital, 5000 S. 5th Avenue, Hines, IL 60141, Auditorium Lobby Building 9; Every Thursday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Veterans may access the food pantry once per month. Veterans will be asked to provide a VA ID card, DD214 and photo ID or VA appointment slip and photo ID to prove eligibility.

Learn more about the Greater Chicago Veterans Food Pantries

Illinois Regional Transportation Authority Military Service Fare Program: Free or reduced fare rides are available for qualifying military personnel in the Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) 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 Suburban Bus. Eligibility requirements vary among transit providers. Please view the transit provider you are using for the applicable conditions:

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Military Service Pass : CTA allows active duty Service members and Veterans who have a qualifying service-connected disability to ride CTA for free.

  • Active duty Service members and actively drilling members of the National Guard and Reserves who have a valid U.S. Armed Forces ID card

  • Service members in uniform, see the rail station customer assistant or bus operator for a free ride

  • Disabled Veterans who have a 10% or greater disability rating from the VA, or are receiving military disability retirement pay from a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Veterans with a disability, and active duty Service members not in uniform, must present a valid CTA Military Service Pass (MSP) to ride free on CTA buses and trains.

Veterans and Service members can request the MSP at the Ventra Service Center Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ventra Service Center

567 W. Lake Street, Second Floor
Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: 877-669-8368

Applicants must provide their U.S. Armed Forces I.D. and/or proof of their VA disability rating of 10% or higher (dated within the last 12 months). MSP is not valid on Pace or Metra.

Metra: Metra offers reduced fare rides for active duty Service members. Service members must present their active duty military ID for the reduced fare and must purchase a one-way or 10-ride reduced fare ticket from a Metra ticket agent or onboard the train. The discount does not apply to monthly tickets.

Pace: Active duty Service members in uniform can ride Pace busses. Service members must see the bus operator for their free ride.

CTA Customer Service
Phone: 888-968-7282
TTY: 888-282-8891
Chicago Transit Authority Website

Metra Passenger Service
Phone: 312-322-6777
Metra Website

Pace Passenger Service
Phone: 847-364-7223 ext. 3
Pace Transit Services Website

RTA Customer Service
Phone: 312-913-3110
Regional Transportation Authority Website

Learn more about the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority Military Service Fare Program

Illinois Military Family Relief Fund (IMFRF): IMFRF provides monetary grants to Illinois National Guard Service members and Illinois residents serving in the Reserves who were called to active duty during an emergency declared by the President. IMFRF grants are intended to help Service members and their Families pay the Soldiers on the gun rangecosts of food, housing, utilities, medical services, and other expenses that become difficult when the Service member leaves their civilian employment.

IMFRF will also provide grants to Illinois National Guard Service members and Illinois residents serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Reserves that are injured in combat.

The IMFRF provides:

  • Illinois National Guard and resident Reserve Service members on federal active duty, Status-Based Grant of $500, grant is based on the Service members’ military duty status

  • Illinois National Guard and resident Reserve Service members on federal active duty, Needs-Based Grant of $2,000 (maximum), grant is based on a Service member and their Family’s financial need

  • Illinois National Guard and resident Reserve Service members on federal active duty; or resident active duty Service members Casualty-Based Grant of $5000

  • Illinois National Guard Service members on State Active Duty, Status-Based Grant of $500, grant is based solely on the Service members’ military duty status.

All Status and Needs grants are awarded on first-come, first-served basis, casualty-based grants received on the same day as Status and Needs Grants will be processed first. Timeliness of payment is determined by funds available at the time of application.

Applicants should use the following forms to apply for an IMFRF grant:

A list of required documentation is listed on each application. Service members should complete the application (ensure they sign, date and make a copy for their records) and send with required documentation to:

Illinois Department of Military Affairs
ATTN: IMFRF Coordinator
1301 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Springfield, IL 62702-2399

Learn more about the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund

Illinois Wartime Veterans Bonuses: Illinois offers bonuses to Veterans of World War II (WWII), Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, the Global War on Terrorism and former Prisoners of War.

picture of one hundred dollars bills All Veterans must have been a resident of Illinois for 12 months prior to entering the U.S. Armed Forces and if separated from the military they received an honorable discharge.

World War II Bonus Payment - $10 per month for domestic service and $15 per month for foreign service to Veterans that served at least 60 days on active duty between September 16, 1940, through September 3, 1945.

Survivors of a Service member that was killed in action are eligible for a $1,000 payment.

Korean Bonus Payment - $100 bonus to Veterans who served in Korea between June 27, 1950, through July 27, 1953.

Vietnam Bonus Payment - $100 bonus to Veterans that received the Vietnam Service Medal or Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Vietnam and served during the following time periods:

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

  • Vietnam Frequent Wind - April 29 and 30, 1975.

Persian Gulf Bonus Payment - $100 bonus to Veterans who served between August 2, 1990 through November 30, 1995, and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal.

Service members still on active duty who served in the Persian Gulf may apply prior to discharge by also including the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Armed Forces Certificate .

Global War on Terrorism (Operation Iraq Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn) Bonus Payment - $100 bonus to Veterans who served on or after September 11, 2001

that served 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days of foreign or sea service and received one of the following medals:

  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

  • Iraq Campaign Medal

  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Service members still on active duty who served during the Global War on Terrorism may apply prior to discharge by also including the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Armed Forces Certificate.

Southeast Asia POW Compensation: Veterans that were declared a prisoner of war in Southeast Asia are eligible for $50 for each month or portion of a month they were held captive.

To apply for any of the bonuses Veterans must complete the application and provide documentation they served during the specified time period and received an honorable discharge. Completed applications and documentation should be mailed to:

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs
P.O. Box 19432, 833 South Spring Street
Springfield, IL 62794-9432

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Application for Veteran's Compensation

Learn more about the Illinois Wartime Veterans Bonuses

Illinois Veterans' Homes: The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs has four Veterans’ Homes that are fully staffed with caring and dedicated professionals who provide quality long-term skilled care and services to Veterans.

 Emphasis is given to ensuring that each resident is well cared for, has a full quality of life, and enjoys a caring, supportive environment.

Illinois Veterans’ Homes locations:Illinois Veterans Home Anna

Who is eligible for care at an Illinois Veterans' Homes? Honorably discharged Veterans that entered the U.S. Armed Forces as a resident of Illinois or has been a resident of Illinois for one year immediately prior to their application and meet the following requirements are eligible for admission:

  • Served in the U.S. Armed Forces at least one day during a recognized wartime period or served in a hostile fire environment and was awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal, or

  • Retired from the U.S. Armed Forces for a service-connected disability or injury, or

  • Enlisted after September 7, 1980, and served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for 24 months of continuous service or more, or

  • Served in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces and was called to federal active duty (other than for training) or completed 20 years of service and is otherwise eligible to receive military retired pay, or

  • Discharged for hardship or released from active duty due to a reduction in force before the completion of the required period of service, and

  • Have a disability, disease, wounds, and are not able to earn a living.

Admission is also based on the home being able to provide adequate and appropriate care for the Veteran based on their medical diagnoses and assessed needs and that space is available
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Application for Admission to the Illinois Veterans' Homes

Learn more about the Illinois Veterans' Homes

Illinois Prince Home for Homeless and Disabled Veterans at Manteno: The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Prince Home at Manteno is a residential program for homeless Prince Home for Homeless and Disabled Veteransand disabled Veterans. The Prince Home at Manteno provides housing and supportive services for homeless Illinois Veterans, helping them cope with Post Traumatic Stress, substance abuse, and other challenges.

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.

Prince Home at Manteno
One Veterans Drive
Manteno, Illinois 60950
Phone: 815-468-9737
Fax: 815-468-9965

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Prince Homeless and Disabled Program Intake Form

Learn more about the Illinois Prince Home for Homeless and Disabled Veterans at Manteno

Illinois Global War on Terrorism Survivors Compensation: Illinois offers a $3000 death benefit payable to survivors of a Service member that was killed in action by terrorist acts or hostile activities during a period they are eligible for a campaign or service medal. The Service member must have been an Illinois resident for 1 year prior to entering the U.S. Armed Forces. To apply, survivors should contact their local Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Global War on Terrorism Survivors Compensation

Illinois Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation: Illinois offers a $1000 death benefit to survivors of a Vietnam Veteran whose death is determined to be service-connected b by the VA. The Veteran must have been a resident of Illinois for 2 year prior to entering the U.S. Armed Forces, received the Vietnam Service Medal or Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam, and received an honorable discharge for service during one of the following periods:

  • January 1, 1961 through March 28, 1973

  • Vietnam Frequent Wind - April 29, 30, 1975

To apply, survivors should contact their local Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation

Illinois Burial Assistance for Needy Veterans and their Family Members: The Illinois county Veterans Assistance Commission will provide $900 to any honorably discharged needy Veteran, or their mother, father, Spouse, Surviving Spouse, or minor Children when they do not have enough money to pay for funeral expenses. In certain cases, emergency food, transportation, and other assistance can be provided.

For more information and to apply please contact the nearest county Veterans Assistance Commission office or Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer.
Illinois Association of County Veterans Assistance Commission Contact Information
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about Illinois Burial Assistance for Needy Veterans and their Family Members

Headstone or Marker Setting Benefit for Illinois Veterans and their Family Members: The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs will pay up to $125 for the setting of a government provided headstone or marker. To apply, please contact the nearest Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Veteran Service Officer.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Headstone or Marker Setting Benefit for Illinois Veterans and their Family Members

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities in Illinois:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities in Illinois: The VA has numerous resources available for Veterans and Family members. Please see the local location listing for your nearest facility.

Learn more about U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities in Illinois

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Cemeteries in Illinois: The VA National Cemetery Administration maintains 11 national cemeteries in Illinois. Please see the local location listing for the nearest cemetery.

Learn more about U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Cemeteries in Illinois

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Military Installations

Please see the Illinois Military Resource Locator for additional information

Active Duty:
Army
Rock Island Arsenal

Navy and Marine Corps
Naval Station Great Lakes

Air Force
Scott AFB

National Guard:
Illinois Army National Guard

Illinois Air National Guard
182nd Airlift Wing

183rd Wing

U.S. Army Reserve:
88th Readiness Division

Resources

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Facility Directory Illinois

Illinois Secretary of State, Military License Plate Guide

Air National Guard Benefits

Army National Guard Benefits

Illinois Department of Revenue

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

U.S. Department of Labor, Veteran's Employment and Career Transition Advisor

FEDSHIREVETS, Veterans Preference

Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission, Illinois

Illinois Compiled Statutes

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Document Review Date: 22 October 2021