March 2012 - In This Issue
Calling all Women Veterans
March 28th Career Expo
Veterans Cash Grants
Veterans' Homes Fees to Rise
IDVA to Honor Chicago Woman

Director's Message: Calling all Women Veterans!

Greetings from IDVA!


Dir. BorggrenMany of us women in the Illinois veteran community have lived what the research says: Women veterans often don't self-identify as veterans and don't take advantage of veterans' benefits to the same extent as their male peers.


We at IDVA aim to change that - but we need your help! As we develop a new Women Veterans' Program, we need a better understanding of your needs experiences, perceptions, and needs. Make your voice heard through our Women Veterans' Survey.


On our new Women Veterans webpage, you can also find useful resources, including a listing of offices staffed by women Veteran Service Officers who stand ready to assist you with even the most sensitive of issues or claims.


All of us at IDVA look forward to serving you better in the months ahead.


With gratitude,

Erica J. Borggren


Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

March 28th Career Expo Registration Closes Today

If you're an unemployed or underemployed veteran, Guard and Reserve member, or eligible spouse, the free March 28, 2012 Hiring Our Heroes Career Expo in Chicago is the must-attend event of the year!


 Hiring Heroes


Please note that registration closes today, March 20, 2012, but walk-in veterans and spouses will be permitted only with proper identification.


Sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Hiring Our Heroes Career Expo will feature a who's who of more than 200 veteran-seeking employers from the Chicago area and beyond, including Allstate Insurance Company, ArcelorMittal, Argonne National Laboratory, Cardinal Health, CBS Radio, CDW, Chicago Zoological Society, DialAmerica, Dominick's, Ernst & Young, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Illinois Department of Transportation, Johnson Controls, Mead Johnson Nutrition, NAPA Auto Parts, Navistar Defense, Plastipak Packaging, Inc., Restaurant HR Group, Schneider National Inc., Shoreline Sightseeing, SuperValu/Jewel-Osco, The Northern Trust, U.S. Cellular, Walmart Stores, Inc., amongst many others.


The event will be held at The Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill. If you plan to attend, it is highly recommended that you pre-register online and provide your resumes and applicable workforce skills for targeted recruitment by participating companies. Help us spread the word to your battle buddies by forwarding this email or the event flyer.


For registration questions, contact

Illinois Non-Profits Share Veterans Cash Grants

The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) has awarded $477,752 in grants from Veterans Cash scratch-off lottery ticket sales. The funding will help 10 non-profits deliver specialized programs and services for Illinois' veterans.


Third-quarter (FY12) grants have been awarded to the following Illinois organizations:

  • American Legion, Department of Illinois--$100,000 to support the organization's Veterans Service Officer program that assists Illinois veterans in obtaining benefits from the federal VA
  • Lutheran Social Services--$10,000 for a program to help elderly veterans in their "Lean on Me" program
  • National Able Network--$94,825 for its Retail Management Employment Program for unemployed, homeless, and at-risk veterans
  • North Side Supportive Housing--$25,000 to support efforts to counsel and treat homeless veterans on Chicago's North Side
  • Shelter Care Ministries--$16,700 to assist homeless veterans in the Rockford area with rental assistance and utility aid
  • Transitional Living Services--$10,227 to update furnishings at a homeless veterans transitional center near Crystal Lake
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago--$100,000 for their Ramp Up program that helps disabled elderly veterans gain better access to their homes with ramps and chair lifts
  • Veterans Assistance Commission of Kankakee County--$40,000 for its dental program to aid low income veterans
  • Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County--$50,000 for its dental program to aid low income veterans
  • Vets4Vets--$31,000 to conduct community support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans in the Chicago area


To apply for a grant, please download an application at the Veterans Cash website. For more information about IDVA and its programs, please visit the agency's homepage.

Veterans' Homes Fees to Rise July 1st

IVH at Quincy With leadership from the Illinois Veterans Advisory Council (IVAC) and broad participation from the Illinois veteran community, IDVA has taken a hard look over the last few months at the fee structure for the more than 900 heroes who reside at the state's four Veterans Homes. Despite increased healthcare needs and mandated increases in care provision, the income-based maintenance fees at our Homes had remained capped at $929 per month since 1979.


Following a series of public hearings in December, the IVAC recommended a comprehensive way forward for the maintenance fee structure.


After careful consideration and consultation with Gov. Quinn, IDVA Dir. Erica Borggren has accepted all of the IVAC recommendations. Beginning July 1, 2012, the following changes will be implemented:

  • Residents are currently allowed to keep the first $100 of their monthly income before the maintenance fee is assessed. This will double to $200, allowing them to keep more of their monthly income. The maintenance fee will continue to be calculated at 90% of a resident's remaining income, up to a new monthly maximum.
  • For residents with a spouse still at home and not in any other care facility, a spouse income floor is being established before the maintenance fee is assessed. This will ensure that there is sufficient funding available for a spouse to live on. IDVA is still collecting spouse income information in order to determine the appropriate spouse income floor.
  • For current residents, beginning July 1, 2012, the maximum maintenance fee will increase from $929 to $1,079 per month. Each July 1st this amount will increase by $100 until a net $500 increase ($1,429/month) is achieved beginning July 1, 2016.
  • For residents entering one of our Homes on or after July 1, 2012, the maintenance fee will be assessed at a maximum of $1,429 per month upon arrival.
  • Beginning July 1, 2017, the maximum assessed maintenance fee will be increased by an amount equal to the annual Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), minus 1%. If there is less than a 1% COLA in a given year, the maintenance fee will stay the same that year.
Feliciano is Veteran of the Month for March 2012

The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) will honor later this month Iris M. Feliciano, a life-long Chicagoan and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, as its March 2012 "Veteran of the Month" during a Women's Veterans Program presented by the Student Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.


The Illinois Veteran of the Month award is a distinction bestowed upon military veterans who give back to their communities. Feliciano joined the Marine Corps in 1996, served on active duty until 2005 and reserve duty until 2010. She was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 to support Operation Enduring Freedom.


Feliciano's personal and professional achievements include:

  • For her military service, she earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with star in lieu of second award, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Korean Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with star in lieu of second award, GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the GWOT Service Medal.
  • On the home front, she is a member of Berwyn VFW Post 2378 and American Legion Dorman Dunn Post 547. At NEIU, while working to earn a BA degree, she served with the Student Veterans Club (SVC), an official chapter affiliate of the Student Veterans of America.   As an SVA member, Club Secretary, and Club President, she coordinated the organization's monthly activities, the donation and installation of a Memorial Bench on the campus's Veterans' Peace Garden, and many aspects of campus Veterans Day events. She helped organize the first-ever NEIU SVC Hike for the Homeless, which has become an annual tradition. She also spearheaded the Operation Veterans Education campaign to increase awareness about veterans' education benefits and veterans' resources and to build a supportive community for returning student veterans of NEIU.
  • On the creative front, she volunteers as the Veterans Community Liaison and Art Committee member at the National Veterans Art Museum; advocates for the therapeutic effects of art and storytelling among veterans; facilitates creative writing workshops with veterans around their military experiences; serves as curator of an NEIU exhibit titled "Art in Response to Violence Conference" to showcase veterans' artwork and their experience in war; participates on the editorial board for the Warrior Writers Project; and works as Veterans Coordinator at the Albany Park Community Center, which focuses on employment, transition assistance, and mental health services for returning veterans.
To nominate someone for the honor please visit IDVA's website at to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.

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