SPRINGFIELD – Effective March 6th, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) has re-opened its part-time Veterans’ Service Office, which is located on the campus of Southwestern Illinois College at 2500 Carlyle Ave. in Belleville. This part-time office is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the 1st Tuesday of each month. The office is staffed by Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Michelle Bess, who can be reached at (618) 222-5226.
A full-time Veterans’ Service Office, located at 4519 W. Main Street in Belleville, will continue to provide daily office hours. This office is open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday thru Friday. This office is staffed by VSO Michael McGovern, who can be reached at (618) 233-5140, and Michelle Bess, who can be reached at (618) 233-8445.
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 two Belleville Veterans’ Service Offices are 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.