Many Ohioans are looking ahead this month to Christmas, but veterans of the Armed Forces who served during the time of the Persian Gulf War have a very important deadline falling just after the holiday – applications for the Ohio Veterans Bonus for Persian Gulf era veterans must be submitted no later than December 31, 2013.
Veterans eligible to receive the Persian Gulf War portion of the Ohio Veterans Bonus can have served anywhere in the world for at least 90 days active duty, not for training, between Aug. 2, 1990 and March 3, 1991. The amount of the bonus is higher for service in the Persian Gulf theater. Eligible veterans must have been a resident of Ohio when they entered the military, and must be a resident at the time they apply.
The Ohio Veterans Bonus was overwhelmingly approved by Ohio voters in November 2009 as a "thank-you" to those Ohioans who served in the military during the time of the Persian Gulf War, as well as during the time of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The bonus continues past Dec. 31 for veterans of the Iraq War, who have until Dec. 31, 2014 to apply. It also continues for veterans of the Afghanistan War and all veterans who served after October 7, 2001. No deadline has been announced for these veterans.
“This is a time of year when our minds are understandably focused on our families and the holidays – but the Oho Veterans Bonus is a great benefit for those who’ve served, as well as their families,” Ohio Department of Veterans Services Director Tim Gorrell said. “If you think you may be eligible, take the time to check into and apply, you owe it to yourself and your family to find out. If you know someone who you think may be eligible, please reach out and let them know. We don’t want anyone to miss out.”
The Ohio Veterans Bonus is open to veterans who served anywhere in the world during the Persian Gulf War era as well as the eras of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The amount of the Bonus is higher for service in the war zones. The Bonus 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 Ohio Veterans Bonus is not subject to federal or state taxes, and can be used for any purpose.
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 and deadlines for all eras of service are below:
· Military service of more than 90 days active duty, not for training, anywhere in the world during the following periods:
o Aug. 2, 1990 through March 3, 1991 – Persian Gulf; deadline to apply is Dec. 31, 2013
o Oct. 7, 2001 through a date to be determined by the President – Afghanistan
o March 19, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2011 – Iraq; deadline to apply is Dec. 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.
To date, almost $60 million has been paid to nearly 72,000 veterans and family members.
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.
The Ohio Veterans Bonus continues a tradition of bonuses to reward Ohio veterans that dates back to the Civil War. Those other war bonuses are now closed.