CHICAGO - Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced today that veteran service organizations can now apply for a state charter through his office. As part of the Veteran Service Organizations State Charter Act that goes into effect Jan. 1, the Attorney General’s office will approve veteran service organizations’ (VSOs) applications for state charters.

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The Attorney General’s office assisted with the drafting of the act, which was sponsored by Rep. Stephanie A. Kifowit and passed earlier this year by the General Assembly as House Bill 925. The law establishes requirements that a VSO must meet before being eligible to obtain a state charter in order to ensure that veterans throughout the state are being connected to the support and services they need. Prior to the passage of HB 925, the Military Veterans Assistance Act provided that VSOs could be congressionally or state chartered, but statute did not outline a process for VSOs to become state chartered. HB 925 brings clarity to the law and establishes a process, overseen by the Attorney General’s office, for VSOs to become state chartered.

“I encourage veteran service organizations to apply for state charter status to ensure veterans have access to reliable resources that are available in their community,” Raoul said. “It is my priority to ensure veterans and their families receive the benefits and assistance they have earned through their military service. The experts in my Military and Veterans Rights Bureau are committed to serving the veteran community, and I encourage organizations with questions to contact my office.”

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“I am incredibly proud to see the application process for the Veteran Service Organizations State Charter Act now published on the Attorney General's website. The passage of HB 0925 was a significant step in enhancing accountability and ensuring that state-chartered veterans service organizations meet specific criteria, including a strong representation of veterans on their boards. This voluntary process not only sets clear standards but also addresses the loophole that previously allowed entities to claim state-chartering without meeting necessary qualifications,” Kifowit said. “Our veterans deserve the best support, and this new mechanism will prevent misuse and exploitation of the state-chartering status. I commend the Attorney General's office for their diligence in implementing this process, and I encourage all veterans organizations to apply right away.”

A state charter allows a VSO to become part of a county veterans assistance commission where VSOs support veterans countywide by connecting them to the much-needed and well-deserved resources they have earned.

For a VSO’s state charter application to be approved by the Attorney General’s office, the Veteran Service Organizations State Charter Act requires VSOs to meet and provide supporting documentation that the VSO:

  • Was formed by veterans and for veterans.
  • Board is comprised by a majority of members who are veterans.
  • Demonstrates the majority of the organization’s expenses show how it supports veterans.
  • Has at least 15 paid members.
  • Is a congressionally-chartered organization.
  • Has a certificate of good standing from the Illinois Secretary of State.

Veteran service organizations can apply for state charter on the Attorney General’s website. Upon approval of the application, Raoul’s office will issue a letter to the veteran service organization granting the state charter status, which is valid for three years before the organization is required to reapply.

For questions or more information on service members’ and veterans’ rights, visit the Attorney General’s website or call the Military and Veterans Rights Helpline at 1-800-382-3000 to speak with a member of the bureau. The Military and Veterans Rights Bureau offers in-person or virtual presentations on service member employment rights, the Military and Veterans Assistance Act (MVAA), as well as fraud and scams that target veterans and their benefits. Information about future training opportunities can be obtained by emailing mvrb@ilag.gov.

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