Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission hosts outreach event Monday in Gardner

Pictured is the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital.

The Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission, along with other Veterans Affairs agencies, is hosting an outreach event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at the Community Foundation of Grundy County South Resource Center, 229 Liberty St., Gardner.

There, veterans can get questions answered, including “Is the VA a health care insurance? Do I have to be a combat veteran to use VA health care? Does my spouse keep my benefits when I pass away? How do I get a copy of my DD214? I thought I had to be a combat veteran to get benefits.”

“We get calls every week inquiring about benefits and services available for veterans and their dependents,” said Ken Buck, superintendent of the Grundy County VAC. “We are happy to answer those questions and educate veterans about the benefits they might be eligible for.

“Unfortunately, there are also a lot of urban myths about VA services and benefits. We are here to help clarify those as well. Having the opportunity to get out into the community with the staff from Hines VA Hospital and other organizations serving veterans is another opportunity to educate our veterans.”

The event is open to all veterans, and no registration is required.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,321 health care facilities, including 172 medical centers and 1,138 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity, serving 9 million enrolled veterans each year.

This event will have a representative from Hines VA Hospital to answer questions regarding eligibility and enrollment and the Vet Center also will be present to discuss its services along with the Grundy County VAC.

Veterans may be eligible for VA health care benefits if they have served in the active military, naval or air service and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge. Those who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty.

There are other criteria that also may make veterans eligible for VA health care.

Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional counseling to eligible veterans, service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families.

Counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military to include military sexual trauma. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services.

Veterans are asked to bring a copy of their DD214 and a photo ID to discuss any benefits or file a claim for any benefits or services. The Grundy County VAC can assist in getting a DD214 for those that do not have one.

Veterans are welcome to contact the VAC at or 815-941-3152 to ask questions or to schedule an office appointment.

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