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February 3, 2012

IDVA launches ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’ to improve delivery of benefits and resources to state’s veterans
By registering online, veterans can expect follow-up from a local Veteran Service Officer within 48 hours

SPRINGFIELD – Designed to improve access to services for the state’s 1.2 million veterans, “Stand Up and Be Counted” is a new online tool launched in January by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). This function, located at www.veterans.illinois.gov, encourages all Illinois veterans to logon and submit basic contact information to IDVA.

“I would encourage all veterans to Stand Up and Be Counted – not only to receive assistance with benefits, but also for the sake of their battle buddies,” said IDVA Director Erica Borggren. “Participating veterans will help us gain a better understanding of the Illinois veteran community."

Veterans who register through the “Stand Up and Be Counted” website will be contacted within 48 hours by a local Veterans Service Officer (VSO), who stands ready to assist veterans, their dependents and survivors navigate the many federal, state, and local benefits and resources available to them. Any data collected will help the agency plan for future services, lobby for further federal VA funding and facilities, and generally serve Illinois’ veterans better.

VSOs are trained to provide accurate, up-to-date information, answer questions, and assist with paperwork and filing of claims for federal, state and local benefits completely free of charge.

Assistance provided by VSOs includes:

• Compensation Benefits and Document Assistance – Combat and service-related bonus payments and compensation, DD214 certificates.
• Survivor and Burial Benefits – Graves registration, grave markers.
• Educational Benefits – G.I. Bill, Troops to Teachers, Scholarships.
• Employment Benefits – Employment preference, Jobs for Vets program.
• Real Estate and Permits – Homestead and Disabled Veterans Standard Homestead exemptions, Adapted Housing exemptions, camping and admissions fees, hunting and fishing licenses.
• Referral Assistance – Facilitating access to federal VA health care and counseling services.
• Illinois Veterans Homes – Assist in applying for admission to one of four state-managed homes throughout Illinois.

For more information, please visit www.veterans.illinois.gov or call 1-800-437-9824.




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