Surviving Spouse Abatement

    The Cook County Board of Commissioners and the Chicago City Council have passed ordinances to authorize a property tax abatement in their jurisdictions for the surviving spouses of Cook County’s fallen heroes. The program serves surviving spouses of a fallen police officer, soldier or rescue worker. This program will recognize and honor the ongoing impact of this sacrifice on these families.

    The surviving spouse of a fallen police officer, soldier, or rescue worker who has not remarried. 35 ILCS 200/18-178 defines a “Fallen police officer, soldier, or rescue worker” as an individual who dies: (1) as a result of or in the course of employment as a police officer; (2) while in the active service of a fire, rescue, or emergency medical service; or (3) while on active duty as a member of the United States Armed Services, including the National Guard, serving in Iraq or Afghanistan excluding any individual whose death was the result of that individual’s own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs.

    For abatement of City of Chicago property taxes, the fallen police officer, soldier or rescue worker must have had their primary residence in the City of Chicago at the time of his/her death.

    Qualifying properties are homes occupied by not more than 2 families, used as the principal residence by a surviving spouse, and are/were:

    1. owned by the fallen police officer, soldier, or rescue worker or surviving spouse at the time of the death;
    2. acquired by the surviving spouse within 2 years after the death if the surviving spouse lived in Illinois at the time of that death; or
    3. was acquired more than 2 years after the death if the surviving spouse qualified for an abatement for previous property located in Cook County.

    Please provide simple copies of the following documents:

    • Your current driver’s license or passport
    • Current utility bill
    • Marriage certificate
    • Death certificate
    • Deed to current residence
    • Application for Death Benefits Pursuant to Line of Duty Compensation Act

    (if available, you would have submitted this to the Illinois Court of Claims in Springfield)

    The Cook County Board of Review will administer the program.

    1. The Board of Review has applications in its offices at 118 N. Clark St., Room 601 or you may dowload a copy here.
    2. They are also available online:
    3. You may also call our offices: 312/603-5542

    Once recommended by the Board of Review, the City and/or County must then issue final approval.

    For qualified applicants, one hundred percent of the City of Chicago portion and up to one hundred percent of the Cook County portion of property taxes levied on each Qualified Property shall be abated.


    The abatement is in effect for the lifetime of a qualified Surviving Spouse. For abatement of Chicago taxes, applicants must reapply (I) on the schedule established by the Cook County Board of Review, or (ii) every three years, whichever is more frequent.