Cook County Veterans Affairs: Newsletter - 1st Quarter 2021

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Cook County Government - Toni Preckwinkle - Cook County Board President

Veterans Affairs Newsletter | First Quarter 2021

On behalf of Cook County's Department of Veterans Affairs, Happy New Year!

This Issue: Legal Resources

The Veterans Affairs Quarterly Newsletter will highlight various topics to provide assistance and guidance through outreach and support services.

This quarter’s newsletter will feature available legal resources.

Legal - judge's gavel

Cook County Veterans Treatment Court

The Cook County Veterans Treatment Court is a unique program specifically designed for individuals who have served in the United States military and have become involved in the criminal system. These veterans have been arrested and charged with non-violent crimes such as drugs and theft.

The mission is to assist veterans, reduce their risk of further involvement in the criminal justice system in the future and to improve their overall quality of life. Under the supervision of the court, this mission is achieved through the combined efforts of the Veterans Treatment Court team and the community.

County Officials Announce New Legal Assistance Initiative

Cook County and various community partners recently launched Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD), a new initiative aimed at helping residents resolve eviction, foreclosure, debt and tax deed issues.

The first program launching as part of this county-wide initiative is called the Early Resolution Program (ERP). The ERP provides free legal assistance, counseling, pre-court mediation and case management for residents and landlords dealing with evictions or delinquent property taxes as well as creditors and debtors with issues related to consumer debt.

The services are provided on a pro bono basis for residents of Cook County without legal representation and are being offered to:

  1. Tenants facing eviction
  2. Landlords dealing with an eviction
  3. Debtors being sued for unpaid debts
  4. Creditors wishing to sue on the basis of unpaid debts
  5. Residents who have defaulted on property tax payments or mortgage foreclosure payments

For assistance call (855) 956-5763 or apply online at

John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Clinic

The Veterans Legal Clinic provides free legal assistance for veterans in the following areas:

  • VA benefit appeals
  • Criminal court treatment and diversion programs through the Veteran Treatment Court
  • Discharge upgrades

For more information call (312) 427-2737.

Did You Know?

2021 Veterans Disability Compensation Rates | Veterans Affairs

The 2021 cost of living adjustment for VA disability compensation comes in at 1.3% and went into effect December 1, 2020. You will see the pay increase beginning with your January VA disability compensation payment. 

COVID-19 Recovery Job Training and Placement

In collaboration with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, this program helps suburban Cook County job seekers get back to work and find new career opportunities. For more information, click the link above or call (800) 720-2515.

Cook County and Partners Launch Metra Fare Reduction and Improved Pace Service

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle along with Metra, Pace and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) leaders officially launched a three-year pilot project to improve public transportation in south Cook County, starting with reduced fares on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines and extended service on Pace’s 352 Halsted route.

Cook County Clerk's Office Veterans and Military Discount Card

The Clerk's Office is now offering the Cook County Military and Veterans Discount Card via mail. 

The Military and Veterans Discount Program is jointly administered by the Cook County Clerk's Office (previously through the Recorder of Deeds Office) and the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs.

The purpose is to create a network of businesses across Cook County who offer military and veterans discounts. A County-issued ID card is provided to identify eligible residents to those vendors. This public-private partnership is a small way to honor those who have served, helping them keep more of their hard-earned money.

Federal Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office Hotline

For your safety and convenience with recent social distancing orders, the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (IL regional office) encourages all veterans to call their VA hotline at (312) 980-4470 or (312) 980-4378 for services and assistance.

Veterans should use this hotline in lieu of coming in-person to their office at 2122 W. Taylor, Chicago, IL.

Other Resources

US Department of Veterans Affairs

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

Ways to Stay Connected

Please share this information with family and friends. We will continue to help each other.