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Illinois Veterans Benefits

Illinois Veterans Benefits

There are many federal programs for veterans, but there are also programs for veterans in the state of Illinois.  The following are the Illinois veterans’ benefits programs.

Education Benefits for Illinois’ Veterans

In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans’ benefits programs provided by the states.

Educational Opportunities for Children (10-18 Yrs)

Financial aid is provided to each child between the ages of 10 and 18 years of a veteran who died or became totally disabled as a result of service in the Armed Forces during World War I, or II, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, the Gulf War, and OIF/OEF.

The financial aid applies to a state educational institution of elementary grade, high school or vocational training school.

MIA/POW Scholarship

Dependents of a veteran who has been declared by the Department of Defense or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be a POW/MIA, died as the result of a service-connected disability, or permanently disabled from service-connected causes with 100% disability; and, who was an Illinois resident or was an Illinois resident within six months of entering service may be eligible for the scholarship.

Eligible dependents are entitled to full payment of tuition and certain fees to any state supported Illinois institution of higher learning consisting of the equivalent of four (4) calendar years of full-time enrollment including summer terms (i.e., 120 points).

Illinois Veterans’ Grant

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

  • be an honorably discharged veteran; and
  • reside in Illinois six months before entering the service; and
  • have at least one full year of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces 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.

Illinois National Guard Grant

The Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant pays tuition and eligible fees (registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees) at all Illinois public universities or public community colleges. Recipients who have completed less than 10 years of active duty ING service may accumulate up to 120 eligibility units. Recipients who have completed more than 10 years of active duty ING service may accumulate up to 180 eligibility units.

Children of Veterans Scholarship

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

Find colleges in Illinois with our School Finder.  Use the filters to sort schools by state.

Housing Benefits for Illinois’ Veterans

Returning Veterans’ Homestead Exemption

The Returning Veterans’ Homestead Exemption provides a one-time $5,000 reduction to a homes’ equalized assessed value (EAV) for qualifying veterans. Those veterans who return from active duty in an armed conflict involving the US Armed Forces can file an application to receive this exemption.

Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption

The Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption will provide a reduction in a property’s EAV for a qualifying property that is owned by a veteran with a service-connected disability. Those who have a 30% but less than 50% service-connected disability rating will receive a $2,500 homestead exemption. Those with a 50% but less than 70% rating will receive a $5,000 one. Those with a 70% or more rating are exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence.

The unmarried surviving spouse of a service-connected veteran provided that the veteran was in receipt of the exemption before they died, can also qualify. Any unmarried surviving spouse of a service member killed in the line of duty is exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence.

Veterans and surviving spouses will need to file an annual application by their counties’ deadline to continue to receive this exemption.

Related: VA Disability Benefits and Pay

Specially Adapted Housing Tax Exemption

This exemption is for the assessed value of real property for which federal funds have been used for the purchase or construction of specially adapted housing. The exemption is valid for as long as the veteran, spouse, or the unmarried surviving spouse resides on the property. Service-connected disabled veterans can receive federal and state financial assistance for the purpose of acquiring or remodeling suitable dwelling units with special fixtures or moveable facilities that are necessary because of the veteran’s permanent and total service-connected disabilities as determined by the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Tax Exemption for Mobile Home

Veterans are exempt from the full amount of the mobile home tax. The mobile home must be owned and used exclusively by a disabled veteran or be a spouse or unmarried surviving spouse and use the mobile home as their primary residence. The disabled veteran must also have been awarded the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the US 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 1st of the tax year for which the exemption is being claimed.

Healthcare Benefits for Illinois’ Veterans

Group Veterans’ Homes

Illinois has Veterans’ Homes at Anna, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy. The IDVA provides quality skilled care and a homelike environment to aging veterans at each of the four homes. Veterans who served during a period of war are given precedence in admission. Peacetime veterans, spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents are also eligible.

In addition to serving during wartime or peacetime, a veteran will need to have entered the service as a resident of Illinois or have 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 that disability are incapable of earning a living.

Employment Benefits for Illinois’ Veterans

Mission: Veteran Entrepreneurship

Veteran Entrepreneurship is an IDVA and CMS jointly-led initiative that brings together pertinent government agencies, educational institutions, trade associations, business sector experts, and employers to educate returning service members and veterans with resources and advancement opportunities available to veteran-owned businesses. They can help veterans start their own business and assist existing veteran-owned businesses.

State Procurement Benefits for Veteran-Owned Businesses

The Illinois Veterans Business Program (IVBP) state agencies and universities are encouraged to spend at least 3% of their procurement budgets with certified veteran-owned businesses. Eligible businesses include companies with an annual gross sales under 75 million that are 51% owned by one or more qualified veterans or qualified service-disabled veterans living in Illinois.

Veterans’ Preference

Illinois has veterans’ preference with state employment. Under the state law, qualified veterans must be considered for interviews and employment before non-veterans in the same grade category.

Other Benefits for Illinois’ Veterans

Bonus Payments

The following bonus payments are for veterans who were residents of  Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering military service. They also need to have had an honorable discharge from the military.

World War II

If a veteran served at least 60 days on active duty between September 16, 1940 and September 3, 1945, they can receive a bonus of $10 per month for domestic service, and $15 per month for foreign service. Survivors are entitled to a benefit of $1,000 if the veteran’s death was service-connected and a result of hostile action with enemy forces.

Korean War

There is a $100 bonus payment to veterans who served in Korea between June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1953 and received the Korean Service Medal.

Vietnam War

There is a $100 bonus for veterans who received the Vietnam Service Medal or Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Vietnam and served during one of the following periods: Vietnam: January 1, 1961 through March 28, 1973 or Vietnam Frequent Wind: April 29, 30, 1975. Survivors are also entitled to a benefit of $1,000 if the veteran’s death was classified as a service-connected by the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Persian Gulf

There is a $100 bonus for veterans who served between August 2, 1990 to November 30, 1995 and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal.

The Global War on Terrorism

This is a $100 bonus for veterans who served on or after September 11, 2001. They must also have served at least 30 consecutive or 60 non consecutive 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, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

POW compensation

For those who were taken and held prisoner by hostile forces in Southeast Asia, and were on active duty or employed by the US Government on or after January 1, 1961, can receive $50 for each month or portion thereof while being held captive.

Global War on Terrorism Survivors Compensation

There is a $3,000 compensation benefit that is payable to survivors of military personnel killed in action by terrorist acts or hostile activities during the performance of military service in periods recognized as wartime by a United States campaign or service medals. The service member would have needed to have had a residency of Illinois of at least one year before entering military service.

For more information regarding Illinois veterans’ benefits, please go here.