Illinois offers various benefits for veterans. On this page, you’ll find a concise overview of each of these benefits.

Illinois Veteran Housing Benefits

Illinois operates five Veterans homes located in Anna, Chicago, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy. These homes cater to Illinois veterans with military service of one day or more, prioritizing those who served during wartime for admission. However, peacetime veterans, spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents are also eligible. Monthly costs are determined based on income.

Illinois Veteran Financial Benefits

Income Tax

Active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired pay, and SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan) payments are exempt from taxes.

Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Global War on Terrorism (OIF, OEF) Bonus

A $100 bonus is available for service rendered during any of the following periods:

  • Korea: June 27, 1950 – July 27, 1953
  • Vietnam: January 1, 1961 – March 28, 1973
  • Vietnam Frequent Wind: April 29-30, 1975
  • Persian Gulf: August 2, 1990 – November 30, 1995
  • Global War on Terrorism: September 11, 2001 – TBD

To qualify, individuals must have received one of the following medals: Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Era Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, or Afghanistan Campaign Service Medal. Additionally, applicants must have been residents of Illinois for 12 months immediately preceding their entry into service. Some service periods necessitate an Honorable Discharge and meeting foreign service requirements.

Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation

Survivors are eligible for a $1,000 payment if the veteran’s death is directly connected to their service or results from service-related disabilities incurred during the specified period. An additional application must be submitted for this benefit.

POW Compensation

Individuals serving on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States or employed by the United States Government on or after January 1, 1961, and who were residents of Illinois for 12 months prior to enlistment, are eligible for a payment of $50 for each month they were held captive by hostile forces in Southwest Asia.

Specially Adapted Housing Tax Exemption

Homes that were purchased or modified with the Specially Adapted Housing Grant may qualify for a reduction of up to $100,000 in the property’s value for taxation purposes, as long as the veteran, spouse, or unmarried surviving spouse resides there.

Additionally, mobile homes acquired through the Specially Adapted Housing Grant are exempt from county mobile home tax.

Returning Veterans’ Homestead Exemption

Veterans who meet the criteria receive a one-time reduction of $5,000 to the assessed value of their home.

Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption

Veterans with service-connected disabilities are eligible for a reduction in the assessed value of their home. For disabilities ranging from 30% to 50%, the exemption amounts to $2,500. For disabilities between 50% and 70%, the exemption increases to $5,000. Veterans with a service-connected disability of at least 70% are entirely exempt from property taxes on their primary residence.

Furthermore, the unmarried surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty is also exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence.

To avail of these exemptions, an annual application must be filed with the county.

Illinois Veteran Employment Benefits

Veterans Employment Preference

Veterans who have been honorably discharged and served during wartime are given priority in state job hiring.

Education Requirements for Police & Firefighters

Veterans who have been honorably discharged with a campaign service medal for Afghanistan or Iraq will have the educational requirements waived for joining the Illinois State Police. Similarly, honorably discharged veterans with certain campaign medals will have the educational requirements waived for joining the Illinois Conservation Police.

For veterans discharged honorably after 24 months of active duty or 180 days in combat, the educational requirement is waived for becoming a firefighter or municipal police officer.

State Licenses & Credentials

Testing and fees for licenses and credentials in EMT, CNA, EMR, and CDL fields may be waived for individuals with military experience in those occupations.

Illinois Veteran Education Benefits

Educational Opportunities for Children (10-18 Yrs)

Financial aid is accessible for children aged 10 to 18 whose parents died or became totally disabled due to wartime military service. This aid extends to enrollment in state educational institutions, including elementary schools, high schools, or vocational training schools.

MIA/POW Scholarship

The dependents of a veteran, declared by the DOD or VA to be a POW/MIA, deceased due to a service-connected disability, or permanently disabled from service-connected causes with a 100% disability, may qualify for the scholarship. These dependents must either be residents of Illinois or have been residents within six months of entering service.

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

Illinois Veterans’ Grant

The Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program covers tuition and specific fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities, and community colleges for residents of Illinois. To qualify, an individual must:

  • Have received an honorable discharge
  • Reside in Illinois for at least six months before entering military service
  • Serve for at least one full year in active duty in the military
  • Return to Illinois within six months of discharge.

Illinois National Guard Grant

The Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant covers tuition and applicable fees, including registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation, and term fees, at all Illinois public universities or community colleges. Recipients with less than 10 years of active guard time can accumulate up to 120 eligibility units. Those with more than 10 years of active duty guard time may accumulate up to 180 eligibility units.

Children of Veterans Scholarship

Every county in the state is entitled to one honorary scholarship annually at the University of Illinois. This scholarship is designated for the children of veterans who served in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and any time from August 2, 1990, onward until individuals in service are no longer eligible for the Southwest Asia Service Medal. Preference is given to the children of deceased and disabled veterans.

Beneficiaries of this scholarship are eligible to receive tuition-free instruction in any department of the University for a minimum of four consecutive years. Further information can be obtained from the University’s Financial Aid Office.

Illinois Veteran Recreation Benefits

Camping & Admission Fees

Illinois veterans are waived from admission and camping fees at Illinois state parks for a duration equivalent to the time they served abroad or were mobilized.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Disabled veterans receiving 10% or more service-connected compensation or total disability pension benefits are exempt from needing fishing and hunting licenses. Veterans who served abroad may qualify for licenses at half-price.

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