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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2014

State-wide Veterans Service Offices Will Be Closed for Annual Training

CHICAGO – All of the State’s Veterans Service Offices will be closed for annual training and certification from Tuesday, April 22 through Friday, April 25, 2014 as all of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veteran Service Officers will be attending mandatory annual training and certification in at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, 3000 S. Dirksen Drive, Springfield, IL.

This year’s annual training will be focusing on the deployment and use of the IDVA-developed and fielded CyberVet digital office suite program, access to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs online claims management systems, techniques and approaches to submitting better –resourced and supported veterans benefit claims, as well as a wide range of IDVA-backed and sponsored programs and initiatives.
 
The Veterans’ Service Office is part of a statewide network that assists Illinois veterans in navigating a network of resources and benefits available to them. Offices are staffed by professionals who provide accurate, up-to-date information, answer questions, and assist with preparing and filing of claims for federal, state and local benefits completely free of charge.

Over the past 12 months the IDVA VSOs have assisted over 44,678 veterans and family members in navigating and obtaining benefits earned in service.  Over $86 million in federal benefits claims were received by Illinois veterans, with $43 million in retroactive benefit payments. 

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.

Veterans wishing to contact a VSO during this period may use the “Stand Up and Be Counted” (SUBC) online tool at www.veterans.illinois.gov or call 1-800-437-9824. Veterans enrolling in SUBC will be assisting their fellow veterans by helping IDVA and the entire veteran advocacy community to gain a better understanding of the location and number of Illinois’ veterans. This will in planning future services, seeking additional federal VA funding and facilities, and generally help to serve Illinois’ veterans better.

Media are welcome to attend the training on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. For media interviews in advance of or at the event, please contact Ryan Yantis, communication manager, IDVA 312-814-0778 or ryan.yantis@illinois.gov or day-of on cell 312-520-6958.
 



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