Illinois State Veteran Benefits

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The state of Illinois provides several veteran benefits. This page explains them.

Illinois Veteran Housing Benefits

The State of Illinois runs 5 Veterans homes in Anna, Chicago, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy. The homes are open to Illinois veterans with military service of one (1) day or more, Veterans who served during a period of war are given precedence in admission, though peacetime veterans, spouses, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents are also eligible. Monthly costs are based on income.

Illinois Veteran Financial Benefits

Income Tax

Active duty, national guard, reserve, retired pay and SBP payments are tax-free.

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

A $100 bonus is payable for service during one of the following periods:

Korea - June 27, 1950 - July 27, 1953
Vietnam - Jan. 1, 1961 - March 28, 1973
Vietnam Frequent Wind - April 29, 30, 1975
Persian Gulf - Aug. 2, 1990 - Nov. 30, 1995
Global War on Terrorism - Sep. 11, 2001 - TBD

You must also be in receipt of 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 the Afghanistan Campaign Service Medal; and have been a resident of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service. Some service periods require an Honorable Discharge and foreign service requirements.

Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation

Survivors are entitled to a payment of $1,000 if veteran's death is service-connected or is the direct result of service-connected disabilities incurred in the period specified. A separate application is required.

POW Compensation

Persons on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States or employed by the United States Government on, or after, January 1, 1961, who were residents of Illinois 12 months prior to entry, and who were taken and held prisoner by hostile forces in Southwest Asia, are entitled to $50 for each month held captive.

Specially Adapted Housing Tax Exemption

Up to a $100,000 reduction in the property's value for taxation purposes is available for homes that were purchased or modified with the Specially Adapted Housing Grant for as long as the veteran, spouse, or unmarried surviving spouse live there.

Mobile homes purchased with the Specially Adapted Housing Grant are also exempt from county mobile home tax.

Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption

Qualifying veterans receive a one-time $5,000 reduction to their home's assessed value.

Disabled Veterans' Standard Homestead Exemption

A reduction in the assessed value of the home of a veteran with a service-connected disability.  For veterans with a disability between 30% - 50% the exemption is $2,500; for veterans with a 50% - 70% disability the exemption is $5,000; veterans with a service-connected disability of at least 70% are exempt from property taxes on their primary residence.

The unmarried surviving spouse of a service member killed in the line of duty is exempt from paying property taxes on the primary residence. 

You must file an annual application with the county to receive this exemption.

Illinois Veteran Employment Benefits

Veterans Employment Preference

Honorably discharged veterans who served during wartime get preference in state job hiring.

Education Requirements for Police & Firefighters

The educational requirements needed to join the Illinois State Police will be waived for veterans who have been honorably discharged with a campaign service medal for Afghanistan or Iraq. The Illinois Conservation Police will waive their educational requirements for honorably discharged veterans who have certain campaign medals. The educational requirement for a firefighter or municipal police officer is waived for veterans discharged honorably after 24 months of active duty or 180 days in combat.

State Licenses & Credentials

Licenses & Credentials testing and fees for EMT, CNA, EMR, and CDL may be waived if you have military experience in that job.

Illinois Veteran Education Benefits

Educational Opportunities for Children (10-18 Yrs)

Financial aid is available for children between 10 and 18 years old of those who died or became totally disabled as a result of wartime military service. 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 DOD or VA 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 is 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:

  • have an honorable discharge; and
  • reside in Illinois six months before entering the service; and
  • have at least one full year of active duty in the military; and
  • return to Illinois within six months of discharge

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 guard time may accumulate up to 120 eligibility units. Recipients who have completed more than 10 years of active duty guard time 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.

Illinois Veteran Recreation Benefits

Camping & Admission Fees

Illinois veterans are exempt from admission and camping fees at Illinois state parks for a time period equal to their military service spent abroad or mobilized.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Fishing and hunting licenses are not required for disabled veterans receiving 10% or greater service-connected compensation, or total disability pension benefits. Veterans who served abroad may be eligible for half-price licenses.

Visit the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information on any of these programs.

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Veteran Benefits