SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ All of the Stateâ€™s Veterans Service Offices will be closed for annual training, as the Illinois Department of Veteransâ€™ Affairs Veteran Service Officers (VSO) will be attending mandatory annual training at the Chateau Conference Center & Hotel, Bloomington, from Tuesday, April 14 through Friday, April 17, 2015.
The IDVAâ€™s Veteransâ€™ Service Offices are part of a statewide network that assists Illinois veterans in navigating those benefits, resources, and programs available to them. Offices are staffed by professionals – men and women who are all veterans themselves – who provide accurate, up-to-date information, answer questions, and assist with preparing and filing of claims for federal, state and local benefits completely free of charge.
Assistance provided by VSOs includes:
â€¢ Compensation Benefits and Document Assistance â€“ Combat and service-related bonus payments and compensation, DD214 certificates.
â€¢ Survivor and Burial Benefits â€“ Graves registration, grave markers.
â€¢ Educational Benefits â€“ G.I. Bill, Troops to Teachers, Scholarships.
â€¢ Employment Benefits â€“ Employment preference, Jobs for Vets program.
â€¢ Real Estate and Permits â€“ Homestead and Disabled Veterans Standard Homestead exemptions, Adapted Housing exemptions, camping and admissions fees, hunting and fishing licenses.
â€¢ Referral Assistance â€“ Facilitating access to federal VA health care and counseling services.
â€¢ Illinois Veteransâ€™ Homes â€“ Assist in applying for admission to one of four IDVA-managed homes throughout Illinois.
Veterans wishing to contact a VSO during this training period are asked to use the â€œStand Up and Be Countedâ€ (SUBC) online portal at www.veterans.illinois.gov or to call 1-800-437-9824. Veterans enrolling in SUBC will be assisting the IDVA and their fellow veterans by helping the entire veteran advocacy community to gain a better understanding of the location and number of Illinoisâ€™ veterans. This will in planning future services, seeking additional federal VA funding and facilities, and generally help to serve Illinoisâ€™ veterans better.
Illinoisâ€™ long and proud history of service to veterans began in 1886 with the establishment of the Illinois Soldiersâ€™ and Sailorsâ€™ Home for Civil War Veterans. Created through legislation enacted in 1945, the Illinois Veteransâ€™ Commission was responsible for state services to veterans until 1976, when it was succeeded by the Illinois Department of Veteransâ€™ Affairs (IDVA). The IDVA, created by Public Act 79-376, is charged with responsibility for the welfare and needs of Illinois veterans, their dependents and survivors. IDVA maintains administrative offices in Springfield and Chicago, four veteransâ€™ homes, and more than 71 full and part-time field offices servicing the 102 counties of the state.