SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) is announcing the reopening its part-time Veterans’ Service Office located in Belleville.
The office was closed last September after the amount of travel money appropriated for all VSO offices was reduced in the FY12 budget. During the Fall Veto Session, Governor Quinn requested and received a restoration of this line item from the Illinois General Assembly.
The Belleville Veteran Service Office is located on the campus of Southwestern Illinois College, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, IL 62221. It will reopen Tuesday, March 6, 2012 and resume its regular schedule with office hours from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the 1st Tuesday of each month. The office will be staffed by Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Michelle Bess, who can be reached at (618) 222-5226.
Veterans wishing to contact a VSO in between office days may use the “Stand Up and Be Counted” online tool at www.veterans.illinois.gov. Veterans who do will also be assisting their fellow veterans by helping IDVA and the entire veteran advocacy community to gain a better understanding of who and where Illinois’ veterans are. This will help us plan for future services, lobby for further federal VA funding and facilities, and generally serve Illinois' veterans better.
The Belleville Veterans’ Service Office is part of a statewide network a statewide network of VSO's who assist Illinois veterans in navigating the network of resources and benefits available to them. Offices are staffed by VSOs who provide accurate, up-to-date information, answer questions, 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.