COLUMBUS – Ohio veterans who served during the time of the Persian Gulf War have until December 31, 2013 to apply for the Ohio Veterans Bonus and receive the thank you for their service awarded them by Ohio’s citizens.
The Ohio Veterans Bonus continues for veterans of the Iraq War, who have until December 31, 2014 to apply. No deadline has been announced for veterans of the Afghanistan War and all veterans who served after October 7, 2001.
“I personally urge any eligible veteran, particularly those who served during the Persian Gulf War, to apply for the Bonus immediately. It’s a very personal thanks to every one of our veterans who served during our recent wars from all the people of our great state,” Ohio Department of Veterans Services director Tim Gorrell said. “To everyone in our veterans’ community, please reach out to these veterans and make sure they’re aware. And if anyone has a friend or a family member who served, let them know.”
The Ohio Veterans Bonus is open to veterans of the Persian Gulf War era as well as the eras of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of where they served. However, the amount available is higher to those who served directly in the war zones. It is also open to the next of kin of those who were killed in action or died of disease as a result of in-theater service. The Bonus is not subject to federal or state taxes, and can be used for any purpose.
To date, almost $59 million has been paid to over 70,000 veterans and family members.
Ohio voters approved the Ohio Veterans Bonus by an overwhelming margin in November 2009, to be awarded to veterans of the Armed Forces and military service members who served during the periods of the Persian Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The specific criteria are below:
• Military service of more than 90 days active duty, not for training, anywhere in the world during the following periods:
– August 2, 1990 through March 3, 1991 – Persian Gulf; deadline to apply is December 31, 2013
– October 7, 2001 through a date to be determined by the President – Afghanistan
– March 19, 2003 through December 31, 2011 – Iraq; deadline to apply is December 31, 2014
• Eligible veterans and military service members must have been Ohio residents at the time of their entry into the military, and must be Ohio residents at the time they apply.
The bonus pays $100 a month to veterans who served in the Persian Gulf theater, or in the countries of Afghanistan or Iraq, up to a maximum of $1,000. For veterans who served elsewhere, the payment is $50 a month up to a $500 maximum. Veterans medically discharged due to injuries sustained in combat can receive $1,000, plus up to $500 for months of service elsewhere. Family members of those killed in action or who died from disease as a result of their in-theater service can receive a bonus of $5,000 plus whatever the service member was eligible for, up to a total of $6,500.
For more information or to apply:
• Call toll-free to 1-877-OHIO VET (1-877-644-6838) option 2
• Visit www.veteransbonus.ohio.gov
• Visit any county veteran service office (see www.ohiovet.gov for an interactive map of the county offices). These offices can also provide information about all federal and state veterans’ benefits, and assist veterans in the application process.
• The department also provides information about the Bonus through its social media and at veterans’ events, and has advertised the program in print and broadcast media, as well as in veterans’ publications and a mailing to veterans whose service likely occurred during the Persian Gulf era.