Illinois' Veterans will have to pay more - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois' Veterans will have to pay more

ANNA, IL (KFVS) - The cost of serving their country is going up for Illinois' Veterans. Their monthly home rates will jump $150 starting July 1.

The rate increase is the first one the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs has passed onto Veterans since 1979.

"Just the salaries of staff and the increased staffing hours required to take care of the residents," said Administrator Steve Emling at the Illinois Veterans' Home in Anna.

"The electrical, the maintenance just all the costs that go with the day to day running of a nursing home."

Then over the next fours years Veterans will also see an increase of $100 a month. They currently pay a monthly maintenance fee of $929. After the increases that rate will jump to $1,429 a month.

"I don't like it much. When you go overseas you put your life on the line. And you're there for several months," said WW II U.S. Army Veteran William West. " And I never want anything for free. But I think the time we served, what we did is worth something. I got other bills to pay besides this. It's going to put a strain on us."

The Anna Veterans' Home does offer the former soldiers a lot. They all have free cable in every room, a well stocked video and virtual library.

There's even a smoking room for those who still want to have one while they relax.

And for many of the Veterans they say they'll stay put and pay the higher monthly rate.

"Well to my idea it wasn't that much of a raise," said WW II U.S. Navy Veteran Louie Cerney. "I believe in we all work together we'll make a better place to live."

"And you ask one of them to do something they'll do it. Anytime you need them they're there," said West. " Everybody does a job and a good job. And I'm proud to be here really."

Compared to what it would cost them to live in other nursing homes the higher rate is still well below the market average.

"We realize that really doesn't cover the cost of services. But we needed to increase the fees," said Emling. " We also realize the care we provide in that price would cost you probably two to three times that amount on the private side."

The new monthly rates will affect all of the Veterans in Illinois at all four state facilities.

Then starting in 2017, the monthly cost will be increased in line with inflation.

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