POMEROY — Veterans are being reminded that the deadline to apply for the Ohio Veterans Bonus for the Persian Gulf era is Dec. 31, 2013.
That deadline for applications for the bonus applies to veterans who served either in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations or anywhere else in the world from Aug. 2, 1990 to March 3, 1991.
Meigs County veterans who qualify for that bonus but need assistance in preparing the application are invited to visit the Meigs County Veterans Service Office, located in the Courthouse Annex next to Holzer Clinic on Mulberry Heights, where George Hoffman, the retiring local service officer, along with the newly named officer, John Hill of Middleport, are available to give assistance.
The Ohio Veterans Bonus program is open to veterans not only of the Persian Gulf War era but also the eras of the war in Iraq, although the deadline to apply for that bonus is Dec. 31, 2014. No filing deadline date has yet been announced for the Afghanistan War.
The amount of a bonus is determined by where the veteran served. It is higher for those who served directly in the war zones. It is also open to the next of kin for those who were killed in action or died of a disease as a result of in-theater service.
In Meigs County as of September 20, 2013, 131 applicants have submitted and received payment since the program began for a total of $106,055.87. As for the state the Ohio Department of Veterans Services reports that a total of 60,593 Ohio veterans and family members have received payments from the Ohio Veterans Bonus program totaling $50,893,704. The bonuses are not subject to federal or state taxes and can be used for any purpose.
The law implementing the Bonus program for veterans of the Persian Gulf War , Iraq War, and Afghanistan War eras was passed by the citizens of Ohio in November 2009.
The specific criteria for award of the Ohio Veterans Bonus is service in the armed forces of more than 90 days active duty, not for training, during the period of the Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the veterans have been Ohio residents at the time of their entry into the service, and are currently Ohio residents.
The bonus pays $100 a month to veterans who served in the Persian Gulf , or in Afghanistan or Iraq, up to a maximum of $1,000. For those who served elsewhere, the payment is $50 a month up to a $500 maximum. 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.
Applications can be completed on line at www.veteransbonus.ohio.gov or can be completed at any Veterans Service Office.
“Remember, we’re here to help, not only with filing an application for a bonus, but for other services as they relate to veterans,” said Hill who is a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, was injured, and awarded the Purple Heart. He has been working several weeks with Hoffman who will be retiring on Dec. 20.
Both reminded Persian Gulf veterans of the Dec. 31 deadline to file for a bonus, and stressed that they are there to assist them or to help with any other problems relating to their military service.