CHICAGO - State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-5th Senate) is helping the United States Department of Education spread the word about the launching of the "Second Chance Pell Grant Pilot Project". This program is designed to help individuals who are incarcerated get post-secondary education to help reduce recidivism.

Studies have shown that education is a key to helping those who are incarcerated get good paying employment after release, which in turn helps support families and keeps people out of trouble.

For more information, please view the US Department of Education release here.

Listed below are a list of helpful resouces for common constituent inquiries.

If you are experiencing difficulties in dealing with any municipal, state, or federal issue, please call our office and we will try and assist you. For a listing of state agencies, click here.



I have a child attending college next year and I have been told I need to fill out a FASFA form for financial aid. What is this form and how do I obtain it?

In January of your child’s senior year, both parents will need to fill out the FASFA form for all financial aid. This downloadable form is available at, where you can fill the form out on-line to submit your financial information. Your individual information will then be analyzed and you will be informed of the federal and state resources available to you and your family. Once you have completed the FAFSA form, contact your child’s school financial aid office for additional resources.


Can I receive a tax deduction for assisted living or nursing home services?

Yes. Within certain guidelines, assisted living and nursing home service fees can be tax deductible. Be sure and consult with your tax advisor to see if your situation applies under IRS Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses. If you still need assistance, please call our office.


DHS is not responding to my application and I need food stamps for my family. I have called my caseworker many times and no one will return my calls. What can I do?

The Illinois Department of Human Services has many resources available for constituents in the 5th District. The main office for our area is located at 3910 West Ogden Avenue, Chicago, IL 60623. Their phone number is (773) 522-8370. Application forms are available at their website at


I got laid off from my job and I can’t afford the COBRA payment. I can’t afford to lose the insurance because I have pre-existing health problems that could by used by insurance companies to deny me coverage in the future. What should I do?

There are resources available. If your COBRA premiums are too high, if you qualify, you may join the National Association of the Self-Employed (

I have some insurance but I can’t afford the co-pay for my prescriptions. I need the medicine, but I can’t afford to buy it.

Several prominent pharmacies are offering special programs where many generic prescriptions are offered at a reduced rate. If you have health insurance, your co-pay may be higher priced and override the discount. Call ahead to your pharmacy and see if they offer a special co-pay for generic prescriptions for the underinsured or the uninsured.

Since I have retired, I cannot afford to carry dental insurance. I can’t afford to maintain my teeth. What resources are available?

The University of Illinois Dental School offers several dental programs. Work performed by supervised students is offered at a reduced rate. For services, call the following numbers:

  • Endodontics: 312-996-8229
  • Orthodontics: 312-996-7505
  • Pediatric Dentistry: 312-996-7530
  • Periodontics: 312-996-7374
  • Prosthodontics: 312-996-9223
  • Comprehensive Care Appointments: 312-996-7555


I just received my property tax bill and my taxes have increased 37%. What can I do?

To check if you are eligible for any tax rebates, visit the Cook County Tax Assessor’s Website at At the website, you will find the eligibility requirements to see if you qualify for a Senior Exemption, a Senior Tax Freeze or a Homestead Exemption.


I lost my job recently and I am finding it hard to find a position in the area where I am skilled to work. I can’t afford retraining or to go back to school. What can I do? Do you have any suggestions?

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has a program called Workforce Development. This program offers re-training in a field where there is a strong need for skilled workers. There are criteria that you will need to meet in order to qualify. This is a scholarship-based program and is based on financial need. Please call the department of IL Employment Security for more information and to see if you qualify.

You may also contact the following community colleges that have Illinois state employment and training facilities on their campuses. Please contact the following schools: Harper College in Palatine and Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.


I’m a disabled Veteran but I have never applied for Veteran’s Benefits. What do I need to do to apply and where do I go?

Visit the Veteran’s Administration Website at The application to apply for benefits is on-line. You may also call your local Veteran’s Affairs office. If you have having difficulties locating phone numbers of their office locations, please call our office for additional help.

I’m a veteran and I need to find a job. What resources are available for me?

Visit the Veteran’s Administration at You may also call a local Veteran’s Affairs office in the area where you live, or contact an Employment Counselor at the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

I have received Veteran’s Benefits in the past, but recently they have stopped. What can I do to reinstate them?

Please contact the Veteran’s Administration’s Veteran Affairs office closest to where you live. Visit their website at If you encounter difficulties, please contact our office for help.

Navy20Pier20-20no20creditChicago Mayor Rahm Emanual and Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Comissioner Evelyn Diaz have announced that the City of Chicago will facilitate more then 18,000 job opportunities for young adults 18-24. To learn more about these job opportunities click here.


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Office Info

Springfield Office:
Stratton Office Building
Section C, Room P
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-6252

District Office:
1016 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-9191
(312) 277-3716 FAX