Illinois Military and Veterans Benefits

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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Resources

Summary of Illinois Military and Veterans Benefits: 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.

Illinois State Military and Veterans Benefit Highlights and Eligibility

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans State Tax Benefits?

Illinois State Income Tax on Military Income: Military pay that is in the Adjusted Gross Income may be subtracted, 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 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 an officer in the Public Health Service.

Learn more about Illinois State Income Tax on Military Income

Illinois Military Spouse Residency Relief Act: Under the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018, effective for tax years 2018 and after, if you are a nonresident Spouse of a Service member, and you and your Service member Spouse have the same domicile and you are in Illinois only to accompany your Spouse on their military assignment, or you elect to use the same domicile as your Service member Spouse for the purposes of taxation and you are in Illinois, even if your Service member Spouse is not located in Illinois, then 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.

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

Learn more about the Illinois Military Spouse Residency Relief Act

Illinois State Income Tax on Retirement and Disability Income: Illinois does not tax distributions received from:

  • A qualified employee benefit plan including 401(k) plans reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 4d.

    • A qualified employee benefit plan is defined in IRC Sections 402 through 408. If you do not know whether your employee benefit plan is qualified, check with your employer.

  • railroad retirement income reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Lines 4d and 5b. an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) (including amounts rolled over to a Roth IRA) or a self-employed retirement (SEP) plan reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 4b.

  • Social Security benefits reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 5b. Do not include Social Security withheld from wages shown on your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.

  • A government retirement and government disability plan, including military plans, reported as wages on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 1.

  • A state or local governmental deferred compensation plan paid under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 457 and reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 1 or 4d.

  • Capital gains on employer securities received in a lump-sum distribution, to the extent the gains are due to net unrealized appreciation on the securities at the time of distribution and reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 6.

  • Retirement payments to retired partners reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Schedule 1, Line 5.

  • Group term life insurance premiums paid by a qualified retirement plan or government retirement plan and included as wages on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 1.

  • Interest income realized on the redemption of U.S. retirement bonds reported on your U.S. 1040 or 1040-SR, Line 2b.

Illinois Retired Military Pay Taxes: Illinois does not tax government retirement plans.

Illinois State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Disability Retired Pay: Illinois does not tax government disability plans. Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You were entitled to receive a disability payment before September 25, 1975

  • You were a member of the military (active or reserves) or were under a binding written commitment to become a member or

  • You receive disability payments for a combat-related injury. This is a personal injury or sickness that:

    • Resulted directly from armed conflict

    • Took place while you were engaged in extra-hazardous service

    • Took place under conditions simulating, including training exercises such as maneuvers, or

    • Was caused by an instrumentality of war

  • You would be entitled to receive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if you filed an application for it (the exclusion under this condition equals the amount you would be entitled to from the VA).

Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Illinois State Tax Benefits: Illino young child hugging a tombstone in a veteran cemetery is does not tax government retirement plans.

Learn more about Illinois State Income Tax on Retirement and Disability Income

Illinois State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (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.

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: 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.
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 of the following criteria:

  • Mobile home must be owned and used exclusively by a disabled Veteran

  • Spouse or unmarried Surviving Spouse as their primary residence

  • The disabled Veteran must have been awarded the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a primary residence that they owned and resided in prior to purchase of the mobile home; and

  • The disabled Veteran, Spouse or unmarried Surviving Spouse must be a permanent resident of the State of Illinois on January 1 of the tax year for which the exemption is being claimed.

Contact your county tax assessor's office or your local Veteran Service Officer for further information.
Illinois County Assessor Directory
Illinois Veteran Service Officer Directory

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

Illinois Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption (RVHE): ( 35 ILCS 200/15-167 ) The Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption provides qualifying Veterans a one-time $5,000 reduction to their homes' equalized assessed value (EAV). Qualifying Veterans who return from active duty in an armed conflict involving the U.S. Armed Forces can file an application upon their return home to receive this exemption. To apply for this exemption, please contact or visit your local County Assessor's Office.
Illinois County Assessor Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption (RVHE)

Illinois Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption (DVSHE): ( 35 ILCS 200/15-169 ) The Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption provides a reduction in a property's equalized assessed value (EAV) to a qualifying property owned by a Veteran with a service-connected disability. Beginning in tax year 2015, a $2,500 homestead exemption is available to a Veteran with a service-connected disability of at least 30% but less than 50%; a $5,000 homestead exemption is available to a Veteran with a service connected disability of at least 50% but less than 70%; Veterans with a service-connected disability of at least 70% are exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence. This exemption is available to the unmarried Surviving Spouse of a service-connected Veteran provided that the Veteran was in receipt of the exemption prior to their death. Additionally, beginning in tax year 2015 and thereafter, the unmarried Surviving Spouse of a Service member killed in the line of duty is exempt from paying property taxes on the primary residence. Once approved, qualifying Veterans and Surviving Spouses must file an annual application by their counties' deadlines to continue to receive this exemption. To apply for this exemption, please contact or visit your local County Assessor's Office.
Illinois County Assessor Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption (DVSHE)

 Illinois Disabled Veterans' Exemption for Specially Adapted Housing: ( 35 ILCS 200/15-165 ) This exemption is allowed on the assessed value of real property for whichdisabled vet in a wheelchair federal funds have been used for the purchase or construction of specially adapted housing; the exemption is valid for as long as the Veteran, the Spouse, or the unmarried Surviving Spouse resides on the property. Federal and state financial assistance is provided for service-connected disabled Veterans for the purpose of acquiring or remodeling suitable dwelling units with special fixtures or moveable facilities made necessary by the Veteran's permanent and total service-connected disabilities as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs. For further information, please contact your local Veteran Service Officer.
 
Illinois 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?

Illinois National Guard Grant Program: If you are a member of the Illinois National Guard, you may be eligible to receive the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant. This grant can pay for eligible tuition and certain fees (i.e., registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees) for undergraduate or graduate study. Benefits are limited to use only at Illinois 2- or 4-year public colleges as follows:

  • If you have completed less than ten years of active duty ING service, your grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of four academic years of full-time enrollmentsoldier taking notes

  • Once you have completed ten years or more of active duty ING service, your grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of six academic years of full-time enrollment (note that the six-year maximum eligibility is cumulative, and includes benefits received when you had less than ten years of service).

Contact the financial aid office at your college to determine what portion of your total tuition and fees will be covered by this grant.
Who is eligible for the Illinois National Guard Grant Program? To be eligible for this grant:

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

    • be active in the Illinois National Guard or

    • have been active in the Illinois National Guard for at least five consecutive years and had their studies interrupted by being called to federal active duty service for at least six months and be within 12 months after your discharge date from the Illinois National Guard. (These applicants may be eligible to receive an additional year of ING Grant Program eligibility. Eligibility under this provision is determined by the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office in Springfield, Illinois. Questions regarding your individual eligibility status under this provision should be directed to your chain of command, or to the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office at 217.761.3782.)

  • Have completed one full year of service in the Illinois National Guard

  • Be an enlisted member or an officer

  • Be enrolled at an Illinois public 2 or 4 year college

  • Not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant. If you are in default, you may re-establish your eligibility.

  • Maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA) according to the policy determined by your college

  • Submit your complete application on or before the deadline date, based on the first term for which you wish to receive funds each academic year. For 2020-2021:

    • October 1, 2020 - Full Year Consideration

    • March 1, 2021 - Only 2nd Semester (2nd/3rd Quarter) and Summer Consideration

    • June 15, 2021 - Only Summer Term Consideration

Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Application Online Portal
2020-2021 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program Approved Illinois Schools
2021-2022 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program Approved Illinois Schools

Learn more about the Illinois National Guard Grant Program

Illinois Educational Opportunities for Children of Veterans (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 U.S. 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.
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Application for Veterans' Children Educational Opportunities Part 1
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Application for Veterans' Children Educational Opportunities Part 2

Learn more about the Illinois Educational Opportunities for Children of Veterans (10-18 Yrs.)

Illinois Missing in Action / Prisoner of War Scholarship: The State of Illinois provides an education scholarship for the dependents of Veterans who are either Missing in Action, a Prisoner of War, died while on active duty, 100% disabled due to service connected disabilities or died as a result of a service connected disabilities. 105 ILCS 5/30-14.2 (MIA/POW Scholarship) establishes the benefit and 95 Ill. Admin Code 116 (MIA/POW Scholarship) provides the rules governing the administration and eligibility of dependents. An eligible dependent is entitled to full payment of tuition and certain fees to any Illinois state supported college or university. The scholarship is based on a points system. (Semester hours) Maximum points allowed is 120.

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

The holder of the Scholarship shall be subject to all examinations and academic standards, including the maintenance of minimum grade levels that are applicable to others enrolled in the Illinois institution of higher learning where the Scholarship is used. The following fees, if listed in the school handbook, will be covered:

  • Activity Fee

  • Application Fee

  • Graduation Fee

  • Term Fee

  • Instructional Fee

  • Proficiency Test Fee

  • CLEP Test Fee

  • Placement Tests Fee

  • Board of Governors Test Fee.

Who is eligible for the Illinois Missing in Action / Prisoner of War Scholarship? You must be the Spouse, Surviving Spouse, natural Child, step-Child or adopted Child of the Veteran to qualify. The Veteran must have been an Illinois resident at the time of entry into Active duty service or a resident of Illinois for at least 15 consecutive years after leaving active duty as of the date of application. the location of entry into active duty can be found on the Veteran’s DD214 (Report of Separation) or Enlistment Contract. Finally, the Veteran must meet one of the following criteria to qualify:

  • Veteran must have been an MIA (Missing in Action)

  • Veteran must have been a POW (Prisoner of War)

  • Veteran must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA) as being 100% permanent and totally disabled by service-connected causes

  • Veteran must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA) as being 100% permanent and totally disabled by service-connected causes due to un-employability

  • Veteran’s death must be rated service connected by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA).

If the Surviving Spouse remarries or if there is a divorce from the Veteran or service person, the scholarship benefit for the remarried Surviving Spouse and stepchildren will terminate on the date of the remarriage or divorce. If the Surviving Spouse remarries or if there is a divorce from the Veteran or serviceperson while the Spouse and/or stepchildren are pursuing a course of study, scholarship benefits will be terminated at the end of the term for which they are presently enrolled. The natural Child, adopted Child, or stepchild must begin utilizing the benefit prior to the age of 26.
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Illinois MIA/POW Scholarship Online Application

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

Illinois Veterans' Grant: The Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program pays tuition and mandatory fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for Illinois Veterans. Graduation caps being toss up in the air
Who is eligible for the Illinois Veterans' Grant? 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 Veteran Service Officer 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.
Illinois Student Education Commission Website
Illinois Veteran Service Officer Offices Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Veterans' Grant

Illinois 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 .

Learn more about the Illinois Children of Veterans Scholarship

Academic Credit at Illinois Higher Education Institutions for Military Training: 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.

Because 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 Illinois Transfer Portal, iTransfer website 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.

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

Illinois Bright Start Fallen Heroes Scholarship: The state will deposit $1000.00 in a Bright Start account for each Child of a fallen Service member.
Who is eligible for the Illinois Bright Start Fallen Heroes Scholarship? Children, including stepchildren and adopted Children, under 30 years old of individuals who were killed in the line of duty and who served as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, an Illinois law enforcement officer, an Illinois paramedic, or an Illinois firefighter may apply. Applicants need not be enrolled in an undergraduate program, and awards may be deferred for future use.

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 Department of Defense Document DD1300. A complete list of required documentation is contained on the application.

Scholarship Terms:

  • The scholarship award will be invested in an Age-Based Portfolio under the Bright Start College Savings Program

  • A scholarship cannot be awarded as cash to the recipient nor withdrawn at any time for cash. Bright Start is required to pay the school directly.

  • The funds in a Bright Start account funded with a scholarship award can only be used for qualified higher education expenses. Qualified expenses include tuition and fees.

  • Qualified expenses must be incurred at an eligible educational institution. This includes most community colleges, public and private four-year colleges, universities, graduate and post-graduate programs and certain vocational schools.

To apply:

or by mail to:

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

Learn more about the Illinois Bright Start Fallen Heroes Scholarship

Illinois 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 requirementsChildren sitting on the steps of a school

  • 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:
Dr. Darcy Benway, Commissioner
Superintendent, O’Fallon Township HSD 203
Address: 600 S. Smiley Street
O’Fallon, IL 6229
Email: benwayd@oths.us
Phone: 618-632-3507

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

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What are my Illinois Military and Veterans Employment Benefits?

Troops to Teachers logo Illinois Troops to Teachers Program: 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 in the Troop to Teachers Program, offices nationwide have been established to provide individuals with counseling and assistance regarding certification requirements, routes to state certification, and employment leads.
Who is eligible for the Illinois Troops to Teachers Program? Former and retired members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, Reserve components and National Guard are eligible.
Troops to Teachers Online Application

Note: 10/01/2020 Due to budget constraints, Troops to Teachers Program registrations are not being accepted at this time.

Service members and Veterans interested in becoming a program participant, should complete the Troops to Teachers Program Interest Form. This form provides basic contact information so you can be notified directly if program funding becomes available.

Learn more about the Illinois Troops to Teachers Program

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 aspiring, emerging 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 business.

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs seeks to empower aspiring, emerging and established entrepreneurs by providing access to resources, capital and technical assistance.

IDVA and its partner organizations host a variety of trainings, seminars and informational sessions across the state to share pertinent information and resources to Veterans, military Families and returning Service members. For more information contact your local Illinois Veteran Service Officer.
Illinois 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) top priority is finding gainful employment for Veterans. Their staff provides Veterans with priority of service for employment services (does not apply to unemployment insurance). In addition, there are nearly 40 offices located throughout Illinois with Employment Specialists available to provide a full array of services to assist Veterans. These services include:

  • Veterans can search for jobs online at IllinoisJobLink.com

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

  • Subscribe​ to events including job fairs and workshops

  • Read about finding Jobs for Illinois Veterans​

Eligible Veterans & eligible persons should plan a visit to your local IDES office to obtain more information related to Employment Services and Opportunities tailored specifically for Veterans.

NOTE: Be sure to bring your DD214 to your planned visit.

​Contact your local Employment Security office for more information.
Illinois Department of Employment Security Office Locator
Illinois Department of Employment Security Office, Jobs for Veterans Brochure

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

Illinois Work Study Locations: The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) provides U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (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 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Work-Study Program webpage. 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.

Learn more about Illinois Work Study Locations

Illinois State Employee, Local Government Employee and Public or Higher Education Employee Leave for Military Duty: Any full-time employee of the State of Illinois, a unit of local government, a public institution of higher education or a school district, other than an independent contractor, shall be granted leave from their public employment for any period actively spent in military service. During these leaves, the employee's seniority and other benefits shall continue to accrue. During leaves for annual training, the employee shall continue to receive their regular compensation as a public employee.

Public employees are entitled to full salary continuation for periods of annual training up to 30 days per calendar year, which may be served "nonsynchronously." Public employees are also entitled to "differential compensation" for periods of military leave for active service for up to 60 days—meaning, the public employer must continue to pay the public employee any difference between the employee's civilian and military pay. Public employees may instead elect to use accrued vacation, annual, or similar leave in lieu of receiving differential pay.
Who is eligible for Illinois State Employee, Local Government Employee and Public or Higher Education 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: Employers with at least 15 employees, but not more than 50, must provide up to 15 days of unpaid Family military leave during Illinois National Guard dutythe time state or federal deployment orders are in effect.

Employers with 51 or more employees must provide up to 30 days of unpaid Family military leave during the time state or federal deployment orders are in effect.

Before taking Family military leave, employees should provide the employer with 14 days' notice and are required to exhaust other paid time off (i.e., sick days, vacation days, etc.).

Learn more about the Illinois Military Family Act

Illinois State Approving Agency (SAA): The Illinois State Approving Agency (SAA) approves college and non-college degree programs, vocational flight training, apprenticeships and other on-the-job training so that federal educational assistance benefits may be paid to Veterans and other eligible persons under the several programs administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The types of approved training establishments include the following:

  • Colleges and Universities

  • Vocational Schools

  • Business Schools

  • Professional Schools

  • Vocational Flight Schools

  • High Schools

  • Apprenticeships

  • On-the-Job Training Programs

  • Licensing and Certification Tests

Learn more about the Illinois State Approving Agency (SAA)

Illinois State Employment Veteran Hiring Preference: 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, with less than 4 years of service, 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 view the Illinois Central Management Services' Work 4 Illinois website.

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

Learn more about Illinois State Employment Veteran Hiring Preference

Veterans Federal Employment Hiring Preferences: 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, Surviving Spouses, 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 Surviving Spouse) 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 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 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 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 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.

Learn more about Veterans Federal Employment Hiring Preferences

Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act(ISERRA): ( 330 ILCS 61 )

Illnois Service Member Employment and Reeemployment Rights Act logo

In 2018, Attorney General Madigan initiated a new law to strengthen our state’s commitment to members of our National Guard & Reserve. The Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA) ensures Illinois Service members’ employment and benefits are protected while they are fulfilling their military requirements.

Taking effect January 1, 2019, the law reflects the need to protect military Service members and their right to maintain their civilian jobs while they are serving their country. ISERRA also helps provide information and training for employers across Illinois. The law also created a new position of 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, Thomas W. W. Banning, at 1-800-382-3000 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013).

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

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

  • Prohibiting discrimination against and interference with military service; and

  • Ensuring that public entities are model employers of reserve components by providing additional benefits

ISERRA Notice
ISERRA Brochure

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

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

Illinois State Police & 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 of service in Afghanistan or Iraq. All other requirements to join the Illinois State Police will still apply.

The educational 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 United States Armed Forces: or

  • Active members of the Illinois National Guard or a reservist component of the Unites States Armed Forces 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 as a result of honorable service 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 policeman [woman] are waived if:

  • Applicant served honorably for 24 months of active duty; or

  • The applicant served 180 days in combat.

The educational requirements of a bachelor’s degree needed to be hired as a firefighter or policeman [woman] are waived if:

  • Applicant served honorably for 36 months of active duty; or

  • The applicant served 180 days in combat.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs): In connection with the licensure of EMTs, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has the authority and responsibility to review applications for EMT licensure from honorably discharged Service members with military emergency medical training. Applications shall be filed with IDPH within one year after military discharge and shall contain certain identifying information that clearly demonstrates that the training and experience meets prescribed standards. If applicants satisfactorily meet the requirements, IDPH will offer the applicant the opportunity to successfully complete an IDPH-approved EMT examination for which the applicant is qualified and upon passage of an examination, issue a license.

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: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protect civilian job rights and benefits for Veterans and members of Reserve components. USERRA also makes major improvements in protecting 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 (the previous law provided four years of active duty, plus an additional year if it was for the convenience Soldiers looking at a mapof the Government). There are important exceptions to the five-year limit, including initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency. USERRA clearly establishes that reemployment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of an individual's service as long as 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 convalescing 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 (the long-standing "escalator" principle), 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. The law clearly provides for alternative reemployment positions if the Service member cannot qualify for the "escalator" position. 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 percent 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 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act?
Veterans, Reservists, or National Guard members who leave a position for training or active military service.

The Department of Labor, through the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) provides assistance to all persons having claims under USERRA, including Federal and Postal Service 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: The Illinois unemployment insurance program is administered by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). 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.
Who is eligible for Illinois Unemployment Insurance?
To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are unemployed through no fault of your own

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

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

  • You are registered for work with IDES.

To file for Unemployment insurance you must file online at the Illinois Department of Employment Security Online Filing Portal. You will be prompted to login, which requires you to create an online username and password. You will need the following information to file your claim:

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

  • Your Driver License / State ID (this will provide your weight, which is required)

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

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

    • Wage records (W-2 form, check stubs, etc.) from these employers may be necessary.

  • If you worked since Sunday of this week, the gross wages earned this week

    • You must report all gross wages for any work performed, full or part-time

    • Gross means the total amount earned before deductions, not "take home pay", including wages in the form of lodging, meals, merchandise or any other form

    • 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)

  • Records of any pension payments you are receiving (not including Social Security)

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

  • If you are a recently separated Veteran, the Member 4 Copy of the DD214 / 215

    • Other copies of the DD214 / 215 are acceptable, but the Member 4 copy is the most commonly available

  • If you are separated from work as a civilian employee of the federal government, copies of your Standard Form 8 and Personnel Action Form 50. ​

If you have questions, please visit an IDES office​​ or call 800-244-5631.
Illinois Department of Employment Security Office Locator
Illinois Department of Employment Security, Unemployment Insurance Handbook

Learn more about Illinois Unemployment Insurance

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

Illinois “Veteran Designation” Driver's License and Identification Card: Honorably discharged Veterans can get a driver’s license/ID card with the word “VETERAN” under the signature on the front of the card. This designation helps ensure military Veterans living in Illinois who have received an honorable discharge Illinois Veteran Drivers Licensereceive the services and benefits for which they are entitled.

To obtain a "Veteran" designation on your Driver's License or State ID card you must:

  • Be an honorably discharged U.S. Veteran.

  • Take your DD214 or Certification of Military Service (NA Form 13038) to your local Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs' Office to have a certification stamp placed on your DD214 or Form 13038.

  • Bring the certified DD214 or Form 13038 to any Secretary of State facility to obtain the "Veteran" designation on your Driver's License or State ID card. If the "Veteran" designation is added during the renewal of your Driver's License or State ID card, there is no additional cost. If a Veteran chooses to add the designation before their scheduled renewal date, they may obtain an updated Driver's License for $5 and an updated State ID card for $10. Veterans over the age of 65 can obtain an updated State ID card at no cost.

  • Applicants will leave the facility with a temporary, secure paper driver's license, which is valid for 90 days and will serve as their DL/state ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. The temporary, secure paper driver's license will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the permanent driver's license or state ID card. In addition, the facility employee will return the old DL/state ID card back to the applicant.

Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs Service Officer Directory
Illinois Secretary of State Facility Directory

Learn more about the Illinois “Veteran Designation” Driver's License and Identification Card

Illinois Military and Veteran License Plates: The State of Illinois offers 42 distinctive license plates to honor the service and sacrifice of eligible Service members, Veterans, retirees, and certain Family members. Specific eligibility and documentation requirements will apply. A short description of some these license plates is listed below.

Note: Click the hyperlink under each license plate for a more detailed description of eligibility requirements, licensing fees and how to apply.

Learn more about Illinois Military and Veteran License Plates

Illinois Congressional Medal of Honor License Plate: 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. The Surviving Spouse of a person awarded the Medal of Honor may obtain and/or retain these plates. Illinois Congressional Medal of Honor License Plate
Who is eligible for the Illinois Congressional Medal of Honor License Plate? 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. The request can only be processed in Springfield. Apply in person or mail the proper documentation to:

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

Learn more about the Illinois Congressional Medal of Honor License Plate

Illinois U.S. Army Veteran License Plate: Any Illinois resident who has served in the U.S. Army may apply. Title and registration fees apply and are subject to change. Upon the death of a military Service member who has been issued plates the Surviving Spouse of that Service member may retain Illinois US Army Veteran plate the plate so long as that Spouse is a resident of Illinois and transfers the registration to their name within 180 days of the death of the Service member.
Who is eligible for the Illinois U.S. Army Veteran License Plate? The Veteran must provide a photocopy of their 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. The request can only be processed in Springfield. Apply in person or mail the proper documentation to:

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

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

Illinois Disabled Veteran License Plate: 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 Illinois Disabled Veteran platefor persons with disabilities.
Who is eligible for the Illinois Disabled Veteran License Plate? The Veteran must provide a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs verifying that the Veteran has a military service disabled-entire rating/decision letter and a certificate for disabled parking-Military Service connected. The request can only be processed in Springfield. Apply in person or mail the proper documentation to:

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

Illinois Secretary of State, Disabled Veterans Certification for Parking Placard/ License Plates

Learn more about the Illinois Disabled Veteran License Plate

Illinois Service-Connected Disabled Veteran (ISERVE)License Plate:  Any U.S. Armed Forces Veteran who has a military-service disability, the Veteran whose degree of Illinois Disable Veteran Platedisability has been declared to be 50 percent or more, but whose disability does not qualify the Veteran for a plate or decal for persons with disabilities under 625 ILCS 5/3-616.
Who is eligible for the Illinois Service-Connected Disabled Veteran (ISERVE)License Plate? The Veteran must provide a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs verifying that you are military service disabled-entire rating/decision letter declaring a 50% or more disability rating. The request can only be processed in Springfield. Apply in person or mail the proper documentation to:

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

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

Illinois Purple Heart License Plate: Purple Heart License Plates may be issued to any Illinois resident who has been awarded the military’s Purple Heart medal. A Surviving Illinois Purple Heart License PlateSpouse may obtain a set of plates. Upon the death of a military Service member who has been issued plates the Surviving Spouse of that Service member may retain the plate so long as that Spouse is a resident of Illinois and transfers the registration to their name within 180 days of the death of the Service member.

Who is eligible for the Illinois Purple Heart License Plate? One must provide a copy of the Discharge from Military Service (DD214), or a letter of verification showing your status as a Purple Heart recipient from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the federal government. The request can only be processed in Springfield. Apply in person or mail the proper documentation to:

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

Learn more about the Illinois Purple Heart License Plate

Illinois Gold Star License Plate Illinois Gold Star License Plate: Any Illinois resident who is a Surviving Spouse, parent, daughter, son or sibling(s) of a person who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and lost their life while serving during peacetime or war.
Who is eligible for the Illinois Gold Star License Plate? The Surviving Spouse, parent, daughter, son or sibling(s) may be issued one set of plates. A Illinois Secretary of State Affirmation for Gold Star License Plates verifying receipt of the Gold Star, including the Service member's name and relationship to the applicant is required. The request can only be processed in Springfield. Apply in person or mail the proper documentation to:

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

Learn more about the Illinois Gold Star License Plate

Illinois Commercial Driver’s License – Even Exchange and Military Skills Test Waiver: Qualified, eligible active military Service members and those who have been discharged within the past 12 months who wish to obtain an Illinois Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and can fulfill the necessary requirements will have the opportunity to have some or all of their CDL testing waived, due to their extensive training and experience. This program is only available to those Service members who are obtaining their initial 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. For either option, the applicant and their Commanding Officer must provide a fully completed and acceptable application for the appropriate option. The Commanding Officer must submit the application with required documentation, via email to the CDL Division at CDLSafeRideIllinois@ilsos.net . The CDL Division will review and verify the application then contact the Officer and the applicant in reference to the applications approval. Once approved, the applicant will be required to present the approval notice (from the CDL Section), and all other necessary documentation to a CDL Facility. Each applicant will be required to pay the appropriate CDL fee and satisfy all the CDL and other licensing requirements.

Even Exchange Option: The Even Exchange option is available to Service members who have certain military MOS/Rating's in the Armed Services as noted on the application for this option, along with the proper military commercial driving training and experience. After an acceptable Even Exchange application is received and verified, these Service members are permitted to have their CDL knowledge and skills testing waived. This also could include certain endorsement tests, if applicable to the applicant's experience.

Skills Waiver Option: The Skills Waiver option is available to all Service members who have the proper military commercial driving training and experience but do not have the certain Military Occupational Skills /Rating's for the Even Exchange option. After an acceptable Skills Waiver application is received and verified, these Service members are permitted to have their CDL skills testing waived. This does not include the CDL knowledge testing requirement and does not apply to any endorsements requiring skills testing.

For further information, please contact the CDL Division at 217-524-5971.
State of Illinois Application for Exchange of U.S. Military Commercial Driving Experience for Commercial Driver's License
State of Illinois Application to Waive Commercial Driver’s License (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: The Illinois National Guard State Sponsored Life Insurance offers:

  • Up to $1,000,000 coverage available

  • Members covered in combat

  • Covered 24/7/365

  • Most valid 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 just because you separate from the National Guard

  • SSLI can be payroll deducted from drill check or AGR payroll

  • All SSLI plans cover members when serving in the Illinois National Guard, including deployments

Who is eligible for National Guard Association of Illinois State Sponsored Group Life Insurance Program? 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 contact the plan administrator toll free at 800-633-8333.

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

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Life Insurance: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (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:

  • Service Member's Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

  • Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

  • Family Members Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)

  • Service Members Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Projection ( 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 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 Illinois Veterans Care logoand 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

  • 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

Participants in the Veterans Care Program will have to pay monthly premiums of $40 or $70 based on their income.
Who is eligible for Illinois Veterans Health Care Program?
To be eligible, Veterans must meet all 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 which is equal to or less than the Veterans Care Income Threshold for their county (varies by county and household size)

To apply:

Provide the following:

  • Military discharge (DD214)

  • Photo ID

  • Proof of your income for the last 30 days; and

  • Proof of your Spouse's income for the last 30 days, if you are married.

Illinois Veterans Care Income Threshold by County

Learn more about the Illinois Veterans Health Care Program

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

Disabled Veteran Fishing Illinois Hunting and Fishing License Exemption for Disabled Veterans: 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 be exempt you must be able to show proof of disability with a Veteran’s disability card (at least 10% service connected). This card is available at your local Veteran’s Affairs office.
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs Service Offices Directory

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

Illinois Hunting, Fishing, Sportsmen’s Combination License Military Fee Exemption: 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) are set 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.

Learn more about the Illinois Hunting, Fishing, Sportsmen’s Combination License Military Fee Exemption

Illinois Camping and 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.
Who is eligible for Illinois Camping and Shelter Fee Discounts for a Disabled Veteran or Former Prisoner of War? 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 grand-Children under 18 years old) of a Veteran, when accompanied by the Veteran, is eligible for camping fee discounts.

Veterans wishing to apply for a Veterans Disability Certification Card may apply at any of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs field offices throughout the State.
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs Service Offices Directory

Learn more about Illinois Camping and Shelter Fee Discounts for a Disabled Veteran or Former Prisoner of War

Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Armed Forces Special Pass Available for Illinois Resident Armed Forces: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is offering an Armed Forces Special Pass to military members who live in Illinois and who have served abroad, including guard or reserve members called to active duty.

The special pass provides camping, fishing and hunting fee exemptions for qualified military members who apply within two years of their return from abroad or release from mobilization. The Armed Forces Special Pass provides qualifying military members who were mobilized, to camp at any Illinois Department of Natural Resources campgrounds free of charge. The pass also offers a combined Sportsman’s License and Habitat Stamp for hunting and fishing, and an archery or firearm deer permit if requested and available.

Military members are eligible for free sport fishing, hunting and camping for one year for each year (and portion of one year) served. To receive an Armed Forces Special Pass from the IDNR, qualifying military members must appear in person at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Headquarters within two years of their return from abroad or release from mobilization, provide verification of dates of service, and provide a photo ID:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Headquarters

One Natural Resources Way

Springfield, IL 62702

Learn more about the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Armed Forces Special Pass Available for Illinois Resident Armed Forces

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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 you are an Illinois native or have ever visited an Illinois Veteran Service Officers, they may have a copy of your DD214 on file and can provide you with a certified copy. If your records are not on file with IDVA, Illinois Veteran Service Officers can assist you in requesting a certified copy from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.

In addition, they can assist Veterans to:

  • Obtain a set of duplicate military awards

  • Acquire copies of their service records and service treatment records

  • Submit discharge document upgrades; and

  • Request updates to their DD214, such as the receipt of a campaign medal after discharge.

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

  • Confirming Veterans preference for state employment

  • Validating license plate requests for Illinois Veterans

  • Authenticating tax exemption certificates

  • Furnishing Veteran burial certificates

Veterans can also permanently record and/or store their service records e.g. DD214 for future use.

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

Free Entry to the State Fair on Veteran’s Day for Veterans and their Family Members: Honorably discharged Veterans of all ages and their families are admitted free to the Illinois State Fair, when they properly identify themselves, on Veterans' Day. Veterans Day includes a day-long program of drum corps, drill teams, and color guard competition.

Learn more about Free Entry to the State Fair on Veteran’s 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 11am - 1 pm

  • Hines VA Hospital, 5000 S. 5th Avenue, Hines, IL 60141, Auditorium Lobby Building 9;

Every Thursday 11am – 1pm

Veterans may access the food pantry once per month. Veterans will be asked to provide identification in order 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. Qualifications 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 U.S. military personnel and Veterans who have a qualifying service-connected disability to ride CTA for free. Pace and Metra allow active duty military personnel to ride at a reduced rate. Please see the qualifications for each transit provider listed below:

  • 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

  • Military personnel who are in uniform should see the rail station Customer Assistant or Bus Operator for a free ride

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

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

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

Military personnel who are in uniform should see the rail station Customer Assistant or Bus Operator for a free ride.

Qualifying Chicago-area Veterans with a disability, and active duty military personnel not in uniform, must present a valid CTA Military Service Pass (MSP) to ride free on CTA buses and trains. MSP is not valid on Pace or Metra.

Metra: Metra offers reduced fare rides for active duty military personnel. Active duty military personnel must present their active duty military ID for the reduced fare. Active duty military personnel 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: 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.

CTA Customer Service
1-888-968-7282
TTY: 1-888-282-8891
Chicago Transit Authority Website

Metra Passenger Service
312-322-6777
Metra Website

Pace Passenger Service
847-364-7223
Pace Transit Services Website

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

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

Illinois Military Family Relief Fund: The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund (IMFRF) provides monetary grants to Families of Illinois National Guard members Soldiers on the gun rangeand Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve components who were called to active duty during an emergency declared by the President of the United States or Congress effective July 3, 2014. It also provides compensation to Illinois National Guard members, Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve components and active duty Illinois Service members injured in combat.

IMFRF grants are intended to help Service members and their Families defray the costs of food, housing, utilities, medical services, and other expenses that become difficult to afford when a wage-earner has temporarily left civilian employment to be placed on active military duty.

The IMFRF provides:

  • National Guard and Reserve Service member on federal active duty status-based grant of $500. This grant is based solely on the Service members’ military status.

  • National Guard and Reserve Service member on federal active duty status needs-based grant of $2,000 (maximum). This grant is based on a Family’s financial need.

  • National Guard and Reserve Service member on federal active duty status or Illinois resident active duty Service members casualty-based grant of $5000

  • National Guard on state active duty status-based grant of $500. This grant is based solely on the Service members’ military status.

To apply for a Grant:

Insure you sign, date and make a copy of the request form for your records. Send the original, signed application 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 Bonus: To apply for any of the following bonuses, applications can be downloaded, completed and mailed to the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, P.O. Box 19432, 833 South Spring Street, Springfield, IL 62794-9432. Individuals currently on active duty may apply for the Persian Gulf and or Global War picture of one hundred dollars billson Terrorism Bonus prior to discharge by also including the Armed Forces Certificate.

World War II Bonus Payment: A bonus of $10 per month for domestic service and $15 per month for foreign service is payable to a Veteran who was a resident of Illinois at time of entering service, served at least 60 days on active duty between September 16, 1940 and September 3, 1945, and received an honorable discharge. Survivors are entitled to a benefit of $1,000, if the Veteran's death was service-connected and as a result of hostile action with enemy forces.

Korean Bonus Payment: A $100 bonus is payable to Veterans who serve in Korea between June 27, 1950 - July 27, 1953, were residents of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service, received the Korean Service Medal, and received an Honorable Discharge.

Vietnam Bonus Payment: A $100 bonus is payable to claimants who were residents 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

Survivors are entitled to a benefit of $1,000, if the Veteran's death was classified as service-connected by the US Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Persian Gulf Bonus Payment: A $100 bonus is payable to Veterans who serve between August 2, 1990 - November 30, 1995, were residents of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service, received the Southwest Asia Service Medal, and received an Honorable Discharge.

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

Global War on Terrorism (Operation Iraq Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn) Bonus Payment: A $100 bonus is payable to Veterans who serve on or after September 11, 2001 and were residents of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service.

The claimant must also have served at least 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days of foreign or sea service and be in receipt of one of the following medals:

  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

  • Iraq Campaign Medal

  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal

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

POW Compensation: Persons on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States or employed by the United States Government on, or after, January 1, 1961, who were residents of Illinois 12 months prior to entry, and who were taken and held prisoner by hostile forces in Southeast Asia, are entitled to $50 for each month or portion thereof while being held captive.
Who is eligible for the Illinois Veterans Bonus? The claimant must also have been a resident of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service and have received an Honorable Discharge.
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs Service Offices Directory
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Armed Forces Certificate
State of Illinois, Department of Veterans' Affairs, Application for Veteran's Compensation

Learn more about the Illinois Veterans Bonus

Illinois Veterans' Homes at Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy: Run by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), all four Illinois Veterans’ Homes IL Manteno Veterans Home signare fully staffed with caring and dedicated professionals who provide quality long-term skilled care and services to resident members. Volunteers from Veteran service organizations and the local community provide many additional supporting services and activities to the Veterans.

Each of the homes is licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center of jurisdiction. The homes work closely with the local healthcare community to ensure that each resident’s specific health care needs are available and met. Emphasis is given to ensuring that each resident member is well cared for, has a full quality of life, and enjoys a caring, supportive environment.
Who is eligible for care at the Illinois Veterans' Homes at Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy? Any honorably discharged Veteran is entitled to admission if they:

  • Have served in the U.S. Armed Forces at least one day during a period recognized by the USDVA as a war period or served in a hostile fire environment and was awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal; orQuincy Veterans Home sign

  • Were retired for a service-connected disability or injury, or

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

  • Have served as a Reservist or National Guard member, and the service included being called to Federal Active Duty (excluding service for Active Duty Training only) and completed the term or completed 20 years of satisfactory service and is otherwise eligible to receive reserve or active duty retirement benefits; or

  • Have been discharged for reasons of hardship or released from active duty due to a reduction in the U.S. Armed Forces before the completion of the required period of service; and

  • Entered the service as a resident of Illinois or has been a resident of Illinois for one year immediately preceding the date of application for admission; and

  • Are disabled by disease, wounds, or otherwise, and because of disability is incapable of earning a living.

Peacetime Veterans with one year of honorable military service may also be eligible for admission; other qualifying conditions, as required, must be met.

Admission to an Illinois Veterans’ Home is based upon:

  • The ability of the Home to provide adequate and appropriate care and services required by the person’s medical diagnoses and assessed needs, and

  • An available bed in the category required by the Veteran’s medical conditions and assessed needs.

Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Application for Admission to the Illinois Veterans' Homes

Staff members at each home are available to answer admission-related questions and to advise Veterans and Families in making the best choice possible.

Learn more about the Illinois Veterans' Homes at Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy

Illinois Prince Home for Homeless and Disabled Veterans at Manteno: The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Prince Home at Manteno is a residential program Prince Home for Homeless and Disabled Veteransfor 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.

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: 815-468-6581 ext. 214
Fax: 815-468-1816
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: 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 your Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs, local Veteran Service Office (VSO) in your area.
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Global War on Terrorism Survivors Compensation

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

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

  • Vietnam Frequent Wind: April 29, 30, 1975

To apply, please contact your Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs local Veteran’s Service Office (VSO) in your area.
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs Service Officer Directory

Learn more about the Illinois Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation

Illinois Burial Assistance for Indigent Veterans and their Family Members: 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. Please contact your local county Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC) for more information; your Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs Service Office can assist you in finding your local VAC.
Illinois Association of County Veterans Assistance Commission Contact Information
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs Service Officer Directory

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

Headstone or Marker Setting Benefit for Illinois Veterans and their Family Members: When the federal government has furnished a headstone or marker, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs pays up to $125.00 for the setting of such marker. To apply, please contact Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs, local Veteran Service Office.
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs 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 (VA) 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 (VA) Cemeteries in Illinois: The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains 10 national cemeteries in Illinois. Please see the local location listing for the nearest cemetery.

Learn more about U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 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 & 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: 16 October 2020