Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is the Federal Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) the point of contact for the Illinois Veterans Grant (IVG) and Illinois National Guard Grant (ING)?
How do I apply for the IVG or ING?
No, both the IVG and ING are state grants administered through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. The Illinois equivalent to the GI Bill, IVG pays eligible veterans' tuition and mandatory school fees at any Illinois public university or community college for a maximum of four academic years of full-time enrollment. The ING Grant Program, for active members of the Illinois National Guard, provides similar benefits. To learn more about the IVG and ING grants, please click here. To apply for the IVG grant, please click here. To apply for the ING grant, please click here. If you need assistance for either of these grants, please contact your local Veteran Service Office.
- As a homeless veteran, where can I go to receive housing assistance?
The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Prince Home at Manteno is a residential program for homeless and disabled veterans. The Prince Home at Manteno provides housing and supportive services for homeless Illinois veterans. You can click here for additional information on the Prince Home. Please contact your local Veteran Service Office for assistance in locating other not-for-profit (NFP) housing services such as, Volunteers of America, A Safe Haven, The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities; a searchable directory of some of these NFP veteran housing services is also available at www.illinoisjoiningforces.org.
- Where can I go to find out about educational benefits that are available for eligible veterans?
Federal education benefits fall under the GI Bill and are accessible through the GI Bill website. Note that the GI bill covers only associate, bachelor, graduate, and technical degrees, not GEDs. Benefits are used based upon the number of credit hours taken in pursuit of a degree and many veterans are able to pursue multiple degrees under their GI Bill entitlement. Information about Illinois specific educational benefits can be located on the IDVA website and our Veteran Service Officers are also happy to assist in identifying and applying for any benefits for which you may be eligible for.
- As an unemployed veteran, how do I find out about various job-seeking resources tailored for veterans?
A number of tools and resources for employers seeking to hire veterans are listed on the IDVA website. At this same link, job-seeking veterans can find many resources, including the State of Illinois' Illinois Job Link (IJL) database, administered by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). By enrolling in IJL, veterans will qualify for special assistance from an IDES veteran representative. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) also hosts Illinois WorkNet for available training and workforce opportunities. Please contact your local Veteran Service Office for additional assistance. Beyod these Illinois sponsored resouces, a number of not-for-profit and federal government tools are available to job-seeking veterans including: Hero 2 Hired, the 100,000 Jobs Mission, and the USCC's Hiring Our Heroes events, amongst others.
- Is the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) responsible for my VA federal benefits?
No. "VA Benefits" are federal benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs over which IDVA has no official connection or jurisdiction. However, IDVA's Veteran Service Officers are experts on federal benefits and regularly assist Illinois veterans in applying for their federal VA benefits. In addition to meeting with a VSO, veterans are highly encouraged to register for a federal VA eBenefits account which allows virtual access to personal VA benefits earned and used. Illinois veterans should also review the benefits page of the IDVA for Illinois-specific benefits.
- How do I file for VA disability compensation?
Found on the USDVA website, the application for disability compensation can be completed several ways. However, the application process is complex, and we recommend you obtain assistance from an accredited Veteran Service Officer (such as IDVA's VSOs) to file a comprehensive, accurate claim. You may of course, apply directly without the assistance of a Veteran Service Officer. The quickest route to do so is by registering for an eBenefits account (a comprehensive, individualized site to access your benefits and applications). Note that the application will require access to discharge or separation papers, medical evidence, and dependency records.
- Where are the State Veterans' Nursing Homes in Illinois?
IDVA operates four long-term, skilled nursing care facilities in the following Illinois locations: Anna, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy. A fifth veterans' home in Chicago is currently in design/development. Our Veteran Homes webpage provides more information on these IDVA-run facilities; the admission process can be commenced by either contacting a home directly or by contacting a VSO.
- How do I apply for a VA guaranteed loan?
You can apply for a VA loan with any mortgage lender that participates in the VA home loan guaranty program. Any participating lender will require a VA Certificate of Eligibility. Information on the loan and how to acquire a certificate of eligibility can be found here. Contact your local Veteran Service Office for further information.
- I did not serve my country during a wartime period, am I still considered a veteran?
If you served your country in uniform, for any amount of time and in any location, you are considered a veteran. Illinois veterans can qualify for numerous veteran programs and services based on their years of service, character of service, income, disability status, and other criteria. To determine which services, programs, and/or benefits for which you qualify, sign up to hear from your local Veteran Service Officer, or visit your nearest VSO office ' and bring a copy of your DD-214 if you have it!
- How can I contact my local US Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA or VA) office in Chicago?
The US Department of Veterans' Affairs offers several points of contact through its, "Contact Us" link on the USDVA main page. For example, by following the "Ask a Question" link, veterans can locate specific information/contact numbers for the following topics including: Crisis Counseling: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) Health: Myhealthevet Education (assistance in accessing benefits, troubleshooting WAVE): Post 9/11 GI Bill VA Facility Locator: The local VA Benefits Administration has a walk-in service center for public contact and questions located at 2122 West Taylor Street in Chicago, Illinois. VA Benefits: (800) 827-1000 or eBenefits
- If my spouse dies while hospitalized in a U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) hospital or nursing home, or in a nursing home under VA contract, will the VA help defray burial and transportation expenses?
Yes. Any veteran who served in the United States Armed Forces and who dies after being admitted to a VA medical facility, a VA nursing home, or a private nursing home under VA contract is entitled to burial benefits. Transportation allowance is also available. This benefit ONLY applies to federal VA-affiliated nursing homes, not state-operated IDVA nursing homes. To learn more about the posthumous benefits your spouse will receive, please click here.
- How do I navigate the system of available benefits and resources for Illinois veterans?
IDVA's Veteran Service Officers assist veterans in navigating the complex web of services and benefits available to you by visting any one of our offices located throughout the State of Illinois. Click here to locate the VSO Office nearest you. In addition, servicemembers and veterans may also visit Illinois Joining Forces (IJF), a network of public and not-for-profit organizations working together to improve services to Illinois' military and veteran communities. IJF's mission is to help service members, veterans and their families navigate the large and sometimes confusing system of support.