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      Vets could pay more to live at Illinois Veterans Homes

      Illinois residents living in state run veteran homes may see a cost of living increase come 2013.

      A recommendation given by the Illinois Veterans Advisory Council (IVAC) to Governor Pat Quinn Wednesday suggests changes to maintenance fees scheduled to take place within the next five years.The recommendation comes after a state law was passed requiring increased everyday care for Vets.Some of those changes include a yearly increase on maintenance fees for current residents.

      The first increased year will add $150 onto the vets already in place $929 living cost. Then an additional $100 every year after until 2017 when the increased is caped at $1429. However, future residents who enter a veteran's home in 2013 will automatically pay the $1429.

      IVAC also suggested looking at how much a veteran and spouse make combined prior to taking money for maintenance fees. "This way a spouse is never left destitute" said Louis G. Pukelis, Communications Director for Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.Finally the council recommended to make annual increases to the maintenance fee cap starting the 2017 fiscal year.

      The increase will be equal to that year's Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment, minus 1 percent.

      Other recommendations include an additional hundred dollars to the veterans monthly deductible, often used by Vets as spending money or to purchase personal items.

      Last week officials set up a forum at the Veterans home in Quincy seeking feedback from residents and their families on possible fee increases. Many opposed the idea."The Advisory council is made up of all veterans," said Pukelis. "This is important to them and they have considered all comments and burdens."Veterans living in Illinois state run homes are charged 15 percent of what the actual cost of living is. The current maintenance fees have been in place for the past 32 years.If this recommendation is accepted, the increase will start at the beginning of the 2013 fiscal year. However, despite the new cost of living no Veteran is ever denied admission because of an inability to pay.

      Governor Pat Quinn and Erica Borggren, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs are reviewing the recommendation.

      Click here to view the IVAC recommendation letter.

      What do you think? Are you a veteran that wants to weigh in? Post your comments below and on our Facebook page here.