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ILLINOIS CONNECTIONS: ASSISTING VETERAN & MILITARY FAMILIES – Active duty / National Guard / Reserve

HDA began our Veterans and Military Families Project in 2009 to provide training, technical assistance and individual representation on benefits programs to military members and their families. Since that time, we have worked closely with the Illinois National Guard and have served many Guard and Reserve families with a range of public benefits issues.

National guard families and Reservists transition between the military and civilian world based on whether they are on active duty and that transition can be confusing for them and for their families.  Many questions arise concerning the interaction of health care and other military and civilian benefits programs.

Should a military family continue their Tricare health insurance after they are no longer on Active Duty? 

While on Active Duty, families have access to certain military benefits and resources such as Tricare health insurance. For those returning from active duty in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) to civilian life, they will need to make informed decisions about whether or not they want to pay to continue Tricare Reserve Select for their families. We have counseled families and providers that there may be other less expensive health care options for their family such as the Illinois Medicaid programs.

This is one example of the benefits training and counseling that HDA provides to military and civilian social service providers and to families to help them navigate the complex areas between military and civilian life.  

We are also able to research benefits issues to find the program that works best for you . We have created some fact sheets that compare and contrast  military and civilian benefits programs. 
 
Fact sheets appropriate for Active Duty/ National Guard/ Reserve members include:
 
Child Care Resources:
 
Military Child Care Program:
There are programs that will subsidize the cost of child care to families of active duty military families. Subsidy amount will be based on several factors including family size, income and cost of child care. All income levels may be eligible to receive a minimum of $100 per child per month for full time childcare while the spouse is working , going to school full time, or
looking for work.
 
What happens when the service-member is no longer on active duty?
 
Illinois Child Care Assistance Program:
The State of Illinois also offers child care assistance to low income, working families.  The cost-share is based on family size and income.  Military families may continue to qualify for assistance through this program.
 
For more information, read our Child Care Fact Sheet.
 
Resources for Children with Disabilities:
 
Military and veteran families who have children with disabilities have access to numerous resources, both military and civilian, federal and state, to help ensure that their child has access to comprehensive health care and public education. These children have special needs that a range of programs can help meet from infancy to adulthood.
 
Health Insurance
Active duty families may be eligible for TRICARE ECHO if they are not they may need to access the state program for uninsured children, AllKids.  In some cases lower income families can have both health insurance plans.
 
Special Assistance:
Education:  Children may need  extra assistance through early intervention and special education programs at school.
 
In Home Assistance:  Illinois has programs that provide assistance at home to medically fragile or technologically dependent children.
 
Cash Assistance:  Children from lower income families may qualify for disability benefits from Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI)
 
For more information please download our fact sheet .
 
Health Insurance Options for Families:
Illinois has several different health insurance or ‘Medicaid’ programs that can assist families. Download our Health Care Fact Sheet. 
 
In some cases  families on TRICARE can get assistance to pay their TRICARE premiums or obtain additional coverage by accessing a state health insurance program. These interactions can  be complicated. Get our fact sheet here
 
Aging Parents :
 
Caring for aging parents can be a challenge for military families.  There are many resources available to help your parent stay healthy and independent in their home.
 
For information on options for aging parents of military personnel download this fact sheet .
 
For information on options if your aging parent is a veteran please download this fact sheet.