There are two programs in this category for which you can apply with the State of Illinois. One is the State of Illinois MIA/POW Grant offered to anyone who meets the eligibility standards under this program. There is also the Dependents Educational Assistance program (Chapter 35 of title 38, U.S. Code) which was enacted by Congress to provide education and training opportunities to eligible dependents and survivors of certain veterans. The first program is a state program and the second is a federal program. You can obtain most of the information you will need at www.gibill.va.gov.
Each program provides financial aid for the education of a dependent or surviving son, daughter or spouse of a veteran who dies of, or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of, service-connected disability. The disability must be the result of active service in the Armed Forces. There are more eligibility requirements, and they can be found on the above web site.
To receive benefits under the Ch 35 federal program for attending school or job training under the program, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage of a child does not bar him/her from receiving this benefit; however, an eligible child may not receive benefits while on active duty in the Armed Forces. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must be under honorable conditions. The VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot go beyond your 31st birthday. To receive benefits under the State MIA/POW program you can be a spouse, natural child, legally adopted child, or any step child of a veteran or service person who has been declared by the U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to have been a prisoner of war, missing-in-action, or to be 100% disabled and who, at the time of entering the service was an Illinois resident or was an Illinois resident 6 months prior to entering the service. Further information can be found by contacting Department of Veterans, 833 S. Spring Street, Springfield, Il 62794, Ph: 217-782-6645.
The Department of Veteran's Affairs, State of Illinois will determine your qualification for state MIA/POW benefits, but the federal program will be determined by the Regional Office in St. Louis.
State MIA/POW recipients do not receive a cash award. Your tuition, activity fee, and athletic fee will be paid by the State of Illinois. Upon verification of eligibility, the applicant will be issued an I.D. Card. The I.D. card shall be used to substantiate the dependent's eligibility. The Ch 35 program will determine the amount of payment according to the number of credit hours you are taking. The Veterans Office in St. Louis will issue a C-Number that will be used when registering for benefits. It is beneficial that you file prior to the start of the semester. Also, you must complete and submit a Request for Benefits Form [PDF] to the Office of Financial Assistance located in UHB 1015 for the semester you are enrolling for.
The state MIA/POW award can be used in unison with your federal Ch.35 benefits.