"The success of this special ticket shows just how much Illinoisans
support the brave men and women who have put their lives on the line
to protect this country and our freedom," Blagojevich said.
Proceeds from the sale of this ticket will be deposited into the
Illinois Veterans Assistance Fund, an interest-bearing account in
the state treasury. The Illinois General Assembly will appropriate
this money solely to the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs,
which will award grants, fund additional services or conduct
research relating to veterans' post-traumatic stress disorder,
homelessness, health insurance costs and disability benefits.
Blagojevich and the Illinois Lottery launched the Veterans Cash
instant lottery ticket on Feb. 10. Since then, the scratch-off
ticket has raised $1,060,086 for new state programs and services
that will help Illinois veterans and their families. Veterans Cash
is currently available at all Illinois Lottery retail locations.
Each ticket costs $2 and has a top prize of $20,000.
"We are very pleased with the public's overwhelming response to
the Veterans Cash lottery ticket," Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn added. "The
proceeds from the ticket will be used to fund important programs
such as health coverage for uninsured veterans, housing assistance
for homeless veterans and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment
for returning veterans."
"We are humbled by the outpouring of support Veterans Cash has
received, and as a result of these tremendous sales, the Lottery
will be relaunching a new version of the ticket this month that we
hope will continue to drive strong returns for our veterans,"
said Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams.
"It's amazing to see how much compassion the residents of
Illinois have shown our veterans by purchasing this special ticket,"
said Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Roy L. Dolgos.
"We're excited about the new services that will be available, thanks
to the proceeds from Veterans Cash."
In addition to creating the Veterans Cash game as a new source of
support for Illinois veterans, the governor, working with the
lieutenant governor, also recently won legislative approval for a
landmark health insurance initiative called Veterans Care. Under the
first phase of Veterans Care, approximately 9,000 veterans who don't
have health insurance will have access to affordable coverage.
Veterans Care will provide comprehensive health care to them at
affordable rates, with average monthly premiums of $40. The program
will kick off Sept. 1.
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There are 70,000 uninsured veterans in Illinois. The federal
Veterans Health Administration covers veterans who have
service-related disabilities or who have recently returned from
active duty and then, space permitting, covers other veterans who do
not have health insurance and have an income below a threshold set
by the Veterans Health Administration each year. Veterans who have
no access to care and who regularly fall through the cracks are
those earning above the VHA threshold, which varies by county, based
on the local standard of living.
Veterans Care was unanimously approved by both the Illinois
Senate and House of Representatives earlier this month.
To be eligible for Veterans Care, a veteran must meet the
Be between the ages
of 19 and 64.
Have been uninsured
for the past six months.
Be ineligible for VHA
and other health care programs like FamilyCare.
Have a household
income up to 25 percent of the federal poverty level above the
VHA threshold at the beginning of the program and, if funds
permit after six months of operation, up to 50 percent of the
federal poverty level above the VHA threshold.
Not have been
dishonorably discharged from service.
Be willing to pay a
monthly premium of $40, plus co-payments for doctor visits and
In his 2005 State of the State address, Blagojevich committed to
providing $1.5 million in additional funding to increase the number
of veteran service officers by 50 percent in an effort to improve
outreach to the state's 1 million veterans and their families.
Thanks to the increase in staffing, the service officers have helped
more than 5,000 additional veterans apply for and receive
compensation and other benefits during the first quarter of 2006, in
comparison with the same time period in 2005.
The service officers help veterans cut through the red tape and
bureaucracy associated with applying and receiving compensation and
other benefits from the federal Veterans Administration. The
officers' primary job responsibility is assisting in applying for
nearly $400 million in federal money that goes unclaimed each year
by the 26.4 million veterans across the country. For example, at the
"Supermarket of Veterans' Benefits" hosted last July at Chicago's
Navy Pier, many veterans were unaware that they can access a variety
of services, including education and vocational training,
low-interest home loans, and counseling.
The state's 50
veteran service offices will also serve as a
sign-up location for the new health care initiative for Illinois
veterans, which will begin Sept. 1.
For more information on Veterans Cash, visit
For more information on Illinois programs and initiatives for
[News release from the governor's