Items of interest specifically for veterans and their families.
Are You a Veteran in Crisis?
The Veteran's Crisis Line is available for all veterans experiencing a personal crisis. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All conversations are confidential. If you are a veteran in need of help, contact the Veteran's Crisis Line by telephoning 800-273-8255 then select 1 or 800-799-4889 for a TTY connection. You can also text 838255.
For a list of companies offering discounts and resources for veterans and active duty personnel go to VAantage Point. There is also another organization that offers many discounts and specials for veterans through a very reasonable monthly/annual subscription--Veterans Advantage. Check them out and see if they don't have something for you.
Veterans may register at the website ID.me. The website allows you to be authenticated as a veteran for access to a number of government websites and retailers offering substantial discounts to veterans. Veterans Affairs uses this site to safely authenticate individuals applying for and accessing veteran benefits. If your not yet registered on ID.me, you should be.
National Veterans Day Events and Observances
November marks National Veteran and Military Families Month, highlighted by Veterans Day on Friday, November 11. This list of Veterans Day and Veterans Month events is organized by state and will continue to be updated as we learn of more events. Please verify details with the event organizers.
In addition to the list of community events below, 33 communities in 25 states and the District of Columbia will host VA-recognized Veterans Day observances this year to pay tribute to America’s heroes.
Also, check out the listing of free Veterans Day meals and other offers.
If you are a veteran residing in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Veteran Service Officer Shynae "Shy" Murphy is available to assist veterans and their family members in applying for benefits. Office hours have recently been updated to include the Palatine and Schaumburg Township offices. Shy is available as to meet with you as follows:
Palatine Township Office
721 S. Quentin Rd.
Palatine, IL 60067
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm by appointment only
Schaumburg Township Office
1 Illinois Boulevard
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Monday and Thursday from 9:00 am to 2:45 pm (last person)
No phone calls. Walk-ins only.
Illinois Veteran's Benefits
Attorney General Kwame Raoul has issued an updated guide of benefits for Illinois veterans and their families.
Raoul’s Benefits for Illinois Veterans guide was created by his Military and Veterans Rights Bureau to provide veterans and their families with information regarding federal and state veteran benefit laws.
“The men and women who have served in the military deserve our recognition and our support for the sacrifices they and their families have made to protect our nation,” Raoul said. “My office is dedicated to ensuring that veterans and active duty service members receive the benefits they have earned, and this comprehensive veterans’ benefits guide will ensure Illinois veterans and their families know their eligibility and how to apply for federal, state and municipal benefits.”
The 2022 edition of the Benefits for Illinois Veterans guide features new and updated information on veterans’ benefits including:
Health care for female veterans: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a variety of services for female veterans, including primary care and specialized services such as reproductive services, rehabilitation and mental health. Additionally, the VA has expanded mammograms to all eligible female veterans. The guide provides updated contact information for female veterans seeking medical care.
Veterans experiencing homelessness: The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, which offers a variety of services to combat homelessness, hosts a medical clinic with a Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team that offers primary and urgent care for veterans experiencing homelessness. The clinic offers walk-in access to medical staff and social services. The guide also offers updated information regarding the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Prince Home in Manteno, Illinois, which offers residential care for homeless and disabled veterans.
Vietnam War-related exposures: Vietnam veterans, including Blue Water Veterans who served on U.S. military vessels, may be eligible for compensation due to their exposure to Agent Orange. Children of Vietnam veterans may be eligible for compensation for birth defects connected to their veteran parent’s exposure to Agent Orange. The guide provides information regarding qualifying medical conditions, qualifying military service, and the claims process.
Camp Lejeune contaminated water exposure: The VA offers health care and compensation to veterans who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River between August 1953 and December 1987. Veterans and dependents who have developed certain diseases or conditions related to their contact with contaminated drinking water now receive a presumption that their conditions are service-connected. The guide lists the presumptively connected conditions and provides guidance on how to file for benefits.
Iraq and Afghanistan service-linked illnesses: Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan may be eligible for benefits if they have been diagnosed with certain chronic illnesses due to exposures from burn pit smoke, depleted uranium and extreme temperatures. The guide describes VA Environmental Health Coordinators and Veterans Service Officers who can assist veterans with their questions or concerns pertaining to military toxic exposure.
Attorney General Raoul’s Military and Veterans Rights Bureau handles a wide variety of financial and legal concerns affecting service members and veterans, such as military employment rights, housing, consumer fraud, and scams connected with benefits provided by the VA. Military service members, veterans and their families can visit Raoul’s Military and Veterans Rights Bureau website for more information. Veterans and their families can request a free, printed copy of the Benefits for Illinois Veterans guide or request other assistance by email at email@example.com or by calling Raoul's Military and Veterans Rights Helpline at 1-800-382-3000 or 1-800-964-3013 (TTY).
VA Receives Nearly 113,000 PACT Claims
The Department of Veterans Affairs has received nearly 113,000 claims under a new law that expands eligibility for health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins, agency officials said Wednesday.
The VA said 112,949 claims by veterans have been submitted as of Oct. 22 under The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, or PACT Act, since President Joe Biden signed it into law on Aug. 10.
More so, the agency is urging more veterans to submit claims quickly. Joshua Jacobs, the VA’s senior adviser for policy and acting Veterans Benefits Administration undersecretary, said veterans should submit their claims before August so their benefits begin from the day the PACT Act became law and they will receive back pay.
For details visit American Legion PACT Update.
Cook County Illinois Property Tax Benefits for Veterans
The Illinois Cook County Assessor's Office has recently published information for veterans explaining how they may be eligible for a reduction in their property taxes. For more information go to Cook County Assessor's Office Veterans With Disabilities Exemption. Veterans in other counties may also benefit. Check your county assessor's website or office.
Veteran Burial Benefits
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has published Planning Your Legacy. A kit detailing survivor and burial benefits for veterans. The kit provides a source for pre-need planning information and record storage for veterans and their families. This a valuable source for any veteran and their family to use when discussing internment or inurnment in a national or private cemetery.