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Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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February 28, 2023

New Law Allows Attorney General’s Office to Enforce Violations of the Military Veterans Assistance Act

Chicago  — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today highlighted changes to the Military Veterans Assistance Act (MVAA) that improve oversight of county veterans assistance commissions and allow the Attorney General’s office to enforce the act.

The MVAA was amended and passed by the Illinois General Assembly in May 2022 and established minimum funding requirements for county veterans assistance commissions (VACs) that are located throughout Illinois. However, the law lacked mechanisms for oversight and accountability for the expenditure of those funds. The Attorney General’s office advocated for changes to clarify the authority and obligations of those governed by the act, which were signed into law in February. As a result, the Attorney General’s office will be able to investigate and prosecute violations of the MVAA that have, in past years, resulted in multiple lawsuits and expenditures of monies that could have been better used providing assistance to veterans and their families.

“Updates to Military Veterans Assistance Act ensure veterans and their families across the state all consistently receive the same benefits,” Raoul said. “It is my priority veterans and their families receive the benefits and assistance they have earned through their military service. I commend my Military and Veterans Rights Bureau for working diligently in passing a law that will best serve the veteran community.“

In addition to giving the Attorney General’s office authority to take enforcement action against individuals who violate the MVAA, the new law further clarifies the MVAA as follows:

  • Veteran service organizations that are eligible to provide representatives to county VACs are defined as those formed by and for veterans, having a paid membership of at least 15 individuals, and providing responsible aid, assistance or services to the veteran community.
  • County VAC delegates and alternates are bound by the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.
  • All undertakings of, or actions taken by, county VACs shall require a vote from a majority of the full VAC membership. No committee or subgroup of delegates or alternates may be granted the power or authority to act in place of, or on behalf of, the full commission.
  • Each county VAC shall establish by-laws that conform to state law.
  • Each county VAC shall adopt applicable county policies, adapt them to fit their own organizational structure, and then implement and adhere to them.
  • Each county superintendent is an at-will employee and may be removed from office by a majority vote of the full commission.
  • Home rule powers are restricted, which means VACs and counties in and around Chicago cannot be exempt from statutory requirements of the act.

Those who believe that there has been a violation of the MVAA can file a complaint with the Attorney General office’s Military and Veterans Rights Bureau on the Attorney General’s website, or by calling the Military and Veterans Rights Helpline at 1-800-382-3000. Raoul’s Military and Veterans Rights Bureau offers in-person or virtual presentations on service member employment rights, as well as fraud and scams that target veterans and their benefits.