Veterans of the Persian Gulf War era must have their applications in by December 31, 2013 to be able to receive the Ohio Veterans Bonus. Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved the Ohio Veterans Bonus in November 2009. Even though the date is more than 18 months away, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services is encouraging veterans of that era not to delay.
“December 2013 might seem like a long time away, but as the old saying goes, it will be here before you know it, so we want to spread the word now,” Ohio Department of Veterans Services Director Tom Moe said. “We know that the military services were a lot larger during the time of the Gulf War, and since service anywhere in the world during the eligible time qualifies, we believe we’ve got a lot more who should be getting the bonus. “If you’re a veteran of that era, take the time to apply, it’s a very simple process,” Director Moe continued. “We also ask that our veterans of other eras, and our families, let everyone they know who served in the Persian Gulf era to get busy and apply before it’s too late.”
Based on estimates from the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services believes roughly 75,000 Ohio-resident Persian Gulf War era are eligible. So far only about 8,200 of these veterans have received the bonus.
Veterans of the Persian Gulf War era as well as the eras of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are eligible, as well as the next of kin of those killed in action. The bonus is not subject to federal or state taxes, and can be used for any purpose.
The Ohio Veterans Bonus is available to veterans who served more than 90 days active duty, not for training, during the periods of the Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the Persian Gulf, the eligible period is from August 2, 1990 through March 3, 1991; for Afghanistan, from October 7, 2001 through a date to be determined by the President, and for Iraq, from March 19, 2003 and also through a to-be determined date. Payment can be received for active duty service anywhere in the world during these periods, but is higher for veterans who served in the Persian Gulf or in Afghanistan or Iraq. Eligible veterans must have been Ohio residents at the time of their entry into the service, and must be Ohio residents currently.
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.
Veterans needing more information or who want to apply can call toll-free to 1-877-OHIO VET (1-877-644-6838) option 2, or visit any county veterans service office. On the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program Web site there is an eligibilty tool to determine if a veteran is elegible. Veterans can also complete an application on-line and then mail the required supporting documents and signature page.