February 2012 - In This Issue
Mortgage Assistance for Veterans
ComEd Offers Electric Bill Help
IDVA Part-Time Field Offices Re-Open
Nominate Colleges for Governor's Award
IDVA Honors Aurora's Richard Irvin
March 28th Career Expo Reminder
Assistance for Veterans in Mortgage Trouble

The nation's housing crisis has affected people from all walks of life, including many in the veteran and military communities.


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs urges all veterans and service members who are experiencing problems in making their mortgage payments to speak with their loan servicers as soon as possible to explore options to avoid foreclosure. Veterans and service members should know that the federal VA regularly provides mortgage assistance for those struggling to meet their mortgage--whether or not their home mortgage is a VA-guaranteed loan. Depending on the situation, VA loan specialists can intervene on their behalf to help pursue home-retention options such as repayment plans, forbearances and loan modifications.


Recently the federal VA, U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general-including Illinois-agreed to a record $25 billion legal settlement with the five largest U.S. banks, which promises relief for veterans and current servicemembers who struggled with their mortgages or lost their homes to foreclosure.


In addition to cash payments, the banks will undertake other activities, such as principal forgiveness, interest-rate-reduction refinancing, and forbearance during unemployment. The settlement also enhances protections available under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and provides additional assistance when servicemembers are forced to sell their home at a loss due to reassignment to another location.


To get help, veterans and servicemembers-even those without a VA guaranteed loan-are encouraged to call 1-877-827-3702 to speak with VA loan specialists who will provide information about the process of obtaining a VA-guaranteed home loan, or assistance in retaining their home loan or avoiding foreclosure. For more information about home loans and foreclosure prevention programs, please visit the VA's Loan Guaranty Service and Home Loan Program webpage.

Struggling to Pay Your Electric Bill?

If you are a disabled veteran or current servicemember who is having difficulty paying your electric bill, ComEd has a solution for you.


Through its CHAMP Program--ComEd Helps Activated Military Personnel--the electric utility provides bill-payment assistance to deployed members of the military and disabled veterans (from any conflict) who reside within company's northern Illinois service territory and demonstrate a need for financial relief. CHAMP offers a package of benefits, including a cash stipend of up to $1,000 (while funds are available), a deferred payment plan, extended payment due dates, exemption from late charges, deposit reduction and budget payment plans.


To enroll in CHAMP or another of ComEd's bill-payment assistance programs, customers should call 1-888-806-CARE (2273), or download an application at www.ComEd.com/CARE. Disabled veterans will need to provide a copy of a discharge letter, along with either a disability award letter or social security disability letter to qualify for benefits.


For more information, please visit ComEd's CHAMP website.

Part-Time IDVA Field Service Offices Reopen

IDVA SealIDVA is pleased to announce the re-opening of 10 part-time Veterans' Service Offices that were closed last September after the amount of travel money appropriated to all offices was reduced in the FY12 budget.


The re-openings, which are taking place during February and March, are the result of a Fall Veto Session agreement between Governor Pat Quinn and legislative leaders that restored the travel funding.


For updated information on Veterans' Service Office hours and locations, please visit IDVA's interactive map. If you wish to be contacted by your local Veterans' Service Officer, logon to IDVA's "Stand Up and Be Counted" online tool at www.veterans.illinois.gov.

Governor's Award for Excellence in Education

Are you a veteran who has attended college in Illinois? Did you feel that the college or university went above and beyond the call of duty for you and other student veterans? If so, IDVA encourages you to nominate your school for the Governor's Award for Excellence in Education.


"Through this award, we hope to highlight a given school's best practices and, in turn, challenge other institutions to examine and redefine how they serve their communities of student veterans," said IDVA Director Erica Borggren.


Each spring and fall semester, Governor Pat Quinn and Director Erica Borggren will recognize a different college or university that contributes to the betterment of student veterans and their families across the state of Illinois. The nominated school must be a licensed, degree granting school in the state of Illinois.


For more information, including nomination materials, please visit the Governor's Award homepage on IDVA's website.

Aurora's Richard Irvin Named Veteran of the Month
Described as the "quintessential example of the type of individual that the 'Veteran of the Month' award is designed to honor," Aurora resident and U.S., Army Veteran Richard C. Irvin earlier this month graciously accepted the honor during a ceremony at the Aurora City Hall.
Irvin was nominated for the honor by State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora).


Irvin served during Desert Storm and Desert Shield from 1988-1991 and, upon returning home, he became the first in his family to attend college and law school. He was honored by IDVA and his peers for his military service and commitment to Aurora and greater Kane County.


Irvin's personal and professional achievements include:

  • For his military service, he earned the Army Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Southwest Asia Service Medal.
  • On the home front, he was a highly regarded head of the Aurora-based Prosecutor Unit of the Kane County State Attorney's Office, where he worked with police, local elected officials and residents to fight crime and address quality of life issues in Aurora. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Illinois Coalition for Community Services, is a volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and is a life member of Aurora's VFW Post 468.
  • Professionally, Irvin is the Alderman-At-Large for the City of Aurora and is a private practice attorney with the Law Offices of Richard C. Irvin & Associates.

The Veteran of the Month award is a distinction bestowed upon military veterans who give back to their communities. To nominate someone for the honor, please visit IDVA's website at www.veterans.illinois.gov to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.

Career Expo Coming to Chicago


This is a big one! IDVA would like to remind you about the March 28th Hiring Our Heroes Career Expo, which will be held at The Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 


Sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce, this program should see 200-plus veteran-seeking employers and more than 1,500 veterans in attendance. The event is free for employers, as well as veterans, Guard and Reserve members, and eligible spouses.


Veteran job seekers are encouraged to pre-register online and provide their resumes and applicable workforce skills for targeted recruitment by participating companies. Help us spread the word to your battle buddies by forwarding the event flyer. Registration closes March 20, 2012.


For registration questions, contact hiringourheroes@uschamber.com.

Stand Up and

Be Counted

Don't Forget! Stand Up and Be Counted so that you can receive assistance from one of our Veteran Service Officers -- and help us know our veteran community.

Find "Stand Up and Be Counted" at


Join Our Mailing List


Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn 

Quick Links
Vets Care
Vets Cash
Relief Fund