SPRINGFIELD – Since the conflicts in the Middle East began nearly 10 years ago, thousands of veterans have returned to Illinois. Many of these men and women—plus others who will be returning in the coming months and years—suffer hidden injuries like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
For those Illinois-bound men and women, the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program (IWAP) offers confidential assistance for local veterans as they transition back to their everyday lives after serving in the U.S. military. In fact, TBI screenings are mandatory for all returning members of the Illinois Army National Guard and Air National Guard.
“We stand ready to help returning veterans and their families cope with the emotional challenges associated with symptoms related to PTSD or TBI,” said Erica Borggren, newly appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA).
The IWAP program is part of Governor Pat Quinn’s mission and commitment to support the men and women of the armed forces and ensure that veterans and current service members receive the benefits and services they have earned.
As a free and confidential resource provided by the State of Illinois, IWAP is a separate entity and bears no connection to the U.S. Armed Forces or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans can access the program’s benefits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via an online chat option at www.illinoiswarrior.com or through IWAP’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-554-4927.
“IDVA will not release information to any person or organization, including federal agencies, unless directed to do so by the veteran,” Borggren said.
If a veteran has a positive screening for PTSD or TBI and is uninsured or underinsured, they could be eligible for additional diagnostic review and treatment for PTSD or TBI through IWAP.
Services covered by IWAP for eligible veterans include:
- After a positive screening of PTSD
Referral to appropriate service provider;
Prescriptions for behavioral health pharmaceuticals;
Intensive outpatient services; and,
Referral to an IDVA Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to help the veteran apply for all applicable state and federal benefits.
- After a positive screening of TBI
All of the services listed under PTSD, plus neuropsychological testing.
The Illinois Warrior Assistance Program is jointly coordinated by IDVA, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), the Governor’s Office and the Illinois Department of Military Affairs, through Magellan Health Services, Inc., a leading specialty health care management organization with expertise in managing behavioral health.