Did You Know?
Some more often overlooked benefits that are available both from the Department of Veterans Affairs and other sources…
1. If you are receiving a VA non-service connected pension the State of Illinois will issue you a free fishing and hunting license. To apply please contact your local Illinois Dept. of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) office. For a location nearest you call 1-800-437-9824
2. The VA allows any individual to assume a veteran’s mortgage by filling out the necessary assumption papers. Along with this the veteran should get a release of liability. If the person assuming the loan is not a veteran however the veteran whose loan is assumed can’t use their VA loan again until it’s paid off in full. Once that happens they are again fully eligible.
3. Although the VA government headstone is free and is shipped to the cemetery where the veteran is interred there is usually a small charge by the cemetery for erecting the stone. For those buried in Illinois up to $100 toward this fee can be obtained from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
4. All VA decisions on disability claims can be appealed within one year. If no appeal is timely filed that decision is final and can not be reopened without new and material evidence. There is one exception to this rule. It is called “clear and unmistakable error” or CUE.
Example: a veteran files for service-connected compensation due to exposure to Agent Orange and has diabetes. The veteran submits proof he has diabetes but his claim is denied due to lack of evidence he has the disease. Five years later the case is reviewed and the evidence was in the file all along, it had simply been overlooked. This veteran would be eligible for back pay of five years due to CUE.
Another example: A veteran files for compensation for a knee injury. He is granted 10% for this condition however the claim is misrouted from the decision maker’s desk to the file storage bank instead of the person who authorizes payment. Fifteen years later the veteran reopens his case and that error is discovered. Due to an obvious CUE he gets a retro check of over $18,000. This was an actual case we worked in the Chicago VA&R office.
5. To preserve the memory of Illinois veterans, the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs maintains a “Roll of Honor” for all veterans buried in the State of Illinois. To find the location of a veteran’s burial in our state contact your local IDVA office.
6. The current rate for DIC payments to surviving spouses is $1195. If the veteran was rated 100% for at least eight years prior to his/her death and the surviving spouse was also married to the veteran for those eight years the DIC payment is increased by $254 a month, tax free of course.
Reprinted from “News From Representative Martwick“