Help for Returning Illinois Vets
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN/KMOX)– Illinois has two new laws to help veterans. One of the laws allows those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and were honorably discharged, to take the state police test without having to have 60 hours of college credit.
Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, says these soldiers have experience. “The cross-cultural experiences that these young soldiers have had, the training they’ve had, the discipline that they have acquired and that they show daily in their lives simply cannot be replaced by 60 college credit hours,” he said.
Applicants still have to score high enough on the test to be hired, and they will have to meet educational requirements to be promoted up the ranks, but the new law allows them to get a foot in the door as a state trooper without having to meet the education requirement.
The other law extends the state’s Medicaid-style Veterans Care program, which was due to expire at the end of the year. Occasionally, for a variety of reasons, veterans do not qualify for federal health care benefits and they are not getting health insurance from their employer – or they are unemployed. At any moment, only about 200 veterans are enrolled in Veterans Care, but Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, says the state has discovered that thousands of applicants to the program really are eligible for federal benefits, and has seen to it that they are enrolled in those programs.
S.B. 1587 (State Police) was sponsored by State Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago). S.B. 40 (Veterans Care) was sponsored by State Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) and State Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Kankakee). Gov. Pat Quinn signed them this week and they took effect immediately.