Less Help for McDonough County Vets

Macomb, IL – McDonough County veterans won't receive as much financial help from the county as they have in the past.

Veterans Assistance Commission superintendent Ric Smart says veterans are ordinarily eligible for up to $600 a month to put toward rent and utilities. That number has been cut in half. The money comes from the county-wide veterans assistance commission tax, which every county is allowed to levy under state statute.

Smart says a dwindling tax base and a rough winter are partially to blame for the reduction.

"It's basically utilities," says Smart. "The rate increases finally caught up. If we didn't watch our budget, we were going to go over budget and totally run out of money. So instead of running out of budget, we reduced the amount so we could help everybody a little bit."

Smart says the commission waited to lower the amount of assistance until Spring, when utility rates traditionally decrease.

Smart says up to ten veterans in the county seek financial assistance every month. That number sometimes increases because some veterans seek help in emergency situations.

He's confident funding levels will return to normal by the end of the year.