As a combat Veteran who served 23 years in the Reserve Forces and who now serves in the U.S. Senate, my mission is to ensure the government treats Veterans with the honor, dignity and respect they deserve. I understand the sacrifices made by those who have fought on behalf of our great nation, and that is why my office is a resource for Veterans transitioning to civilian life as well as for active duty servicemembers.
Below is a list of resources compiled by my office to help Veterans and their families. Please feel free to reach out and contact my office for additional information or assistance.
VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore your health. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology and physical therapy.
The VHA operates over 800 community clinics to make access to health care easier. These clinics provide the most common outpatient services, including health and wellness visits, without the hassle of visiting a larger medical center.
Unlike a VA Hospital or CBOC, Vet Centers can serve Veterans regardless of discharge status. Vet Centers across the country provide a broad range of counseling, outreach and referral services to combat Veterans and their families. All services are free of charge and kept strictly confidential.
Veterans, Active Duty servicemembers and retired Reservists and National Guard servicemembers are eligible for an inscribed headstone or marker for their unmarked grave at any cemetery — national, state veterans, tribal or private. VA will deliver a headstone or marker at no cost, anywhere in the world.
National Guard members performing active service where pay is received from the Federal government may qualify for many VA benefits.
VEAP benefits are available to Veterans who elected to make contributions to the program from their active duty military pay. The government matches your contributions at a 2-1 ratio if you paid into the program. It expires 10 years from date of last discharge or release from active duty. Learn more about VEAP benefits
This education benefit, also known as "Chapter 30", provides Veterans who completed two years of active duty with up to 36 months of stipends that can be applied to education courses and on-the-job training certificates in addition to your GI Bill benefits.
Similar to the MGIB for active duty Veterans, this education benefit is available to members of the Selected Reserve, including the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.
Housing and Homelessness
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)–VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program is a joint effort between HUD and VA to move Veterans and their families out of homelessness and into permanent housing.
The VA provides servicemembers, Veterans and eligible surviving spouses with home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help buy, build, repair, retain or adapt a home. Private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, provide VA Home Loans. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with terms that are more favorable.
HUD sponsors the Veteran Resource Center (HUDVET), which works with national Veterans service organizations to serve as a general information center on all HUD-sponsored housing and community development programs and services. To contact HUDVET, call (877) 424-3838, TDD 1-(800) 483- 2209, or visit their website.
The U.S. Department of Labor sponsors several different employment, training and education programs through its VETS website. More information on VETS
The Veteran Employment Services Office (VESO) is a VA office that focuses on recruiting, retaining and supporting Veteran employees at the VA. VESO oversees numerous innovative programs and services that support Veteran employment at the VA and the federal government. VESO services overview
VA for Vets is a recruitment, training and hiring program encouraging Veterans to continue serving their country by working directly in the VA system.
Feds Hire Vets is a Veteran employment resource center for all Federal government agencies to post employment opportunities, training services and other valuable information for Veteran-focused careers.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) is a program designed to help servicemembers, Veterans and dependents receive individualized career counseling and maximize their use of benefits available through the VA.
The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is an initiative to provide comprehensive transition services to servicemembers preparing to exit the military. On a space-available basis, retirees, spouses and dependents age 16-26 may also utilize these services. Non-retiree Veterans, and their dependents, can access TAP up to 180 days after separation.
Mental Health Resources
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the Vets Crisis line at 1-888-273-TALK. Chat online here.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a free online tool that enables anyone to locate various mental health services in any given area. This confidential and anonymous source will not collect or maintain any personal information provided. Access the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
The National Resource Directory (NRD) is a U.S. government interagency effort, spearheaded by the Department of Defense, Department of Labor and VA, to support servicemembers and Veterans in all of their healthcare needs. NRD aggregates information related to programs, resources and benefits available to Veterans across the three Departments.
National Veterans Law Service Program offers free legal aid to Veterans. They can be reached at (202) 265-8305 or at P.O. Box 65762, Washington, DC 20035.
Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) Resources
The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) VSOs are trained and accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide free assistance to Veterans and their dependents and survivors. This includes help applying for benefits in addition to resources related to health care, education, employment, burial and more.
Veterans and their families may obtain one full set of the Veteran’s military awards and decorations free of charge. Your local State of Illinois Veteran Service Officer can help.
Veteran Small Business Assistance
Senator Duckworth’s Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, which allows Veteran small business owners to acquire federal equipment and personal property that the government no longer has a use for, was signed into law in 2019. The General Services Administration (GSA) oversees distribution of federal surplus personal property in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP) through the Federal Surplus Property Donation Program. When there is no federal need for excess personal property, SASPs disburse the property to eligible recipients who otherwise may have been unable to acquire it.
Through our state’s Veteran Owned Small Business Federal Surplus pilot program, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services helps Veteran small business owners acquire GSA property. Veteran small business owners in Illinois can learn more about this program here.