An applicant must be the spouse, natural child, stepchild under the age of 18 at the time of marriage, adopted child under the age of 18 at the time of adoption, or minor child younger than 18 who is under a court-ordered guardianship for at least 2 continuous years prior to application, of the veteran to qualify. The veteran must have been an Illinois resident at the time of entering active military service, an Illinois resident within six months after entering active military service, or a resident of Illinois for at least 15 consecutive years after entering active duty as of the date of application. Information about place of entry into active duty may be found on a Veteran’s DD214 (Report of Separation) or Enlistment Contract. Examples of documents accepted to prove 15 years of consecutive years of residency include Illinois Secretary of State Driving Record Abstract (recommended), state or federal income tax transcripts, property tax records, wage and tax records (IRS Form W-2), or statement of benefits history from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Furthermore, the veteran must meet one of the following criteria in order to qualify – (1) Veteran must have been an MIA (Missing In Action) (2) Veteran must have been a POW (Prisoner of War) (3) Veteran must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA) as being 100% permanent and totally disabled by service connected causes (4) Veteran must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA) as being 100% permanent and totally disabled by service connected causes due to unemployability (5) Veteran’s death must be rated service connected by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA).
If the surviving spouse remarries or if there is a divorce from the veteran or serviceperson, the scholarship benefit for the remarried surviving spouse and stepchildren will terminate on the date of the remarriage or divorce. If the surviving spouse remarries or if there is a divorce from the veteran or serviceperson while the spouse and/or stepchildren are pursuing a course of study, scholarship benefits will be terminated at the end of the term for which they are presently enrolled. All eligible dependents, with the exception of eligible spouses, must begin utilizing the benefit prior to the age of 26.
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