Ohio Veterans Bonus application deadline approaches

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Ohio veterans who served in Iraq now have less than a month to meet the Dec. 31, 2014 deadline to apply for the Ohio Veterans Bonus.

The deadline applies to Ohio-resident veterans and Ohio residents currently in the active duty military who served in the country of Iraq from March 19, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2011.

The Ohio Veterans Bonus will continue to be awarded to Ohio-resident veterans and active duty service members from Ohio who served in Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world, since Oct. 7, 2001. Eligibility for the Bonus will end when the President declares an end to the war in Afghanistan.

Through November 30, the Ohio Veterans Bonus program has approved 85,000 applications that in total made more than $68.8 million in direct payments to eligible Ohioans. Service in Iraq accounts for 24,249 of the applications paid to date. While some of these applications represent multiple periods of eligibility, payment to Iraq veterans represent the largest of any period of eligible service.

The Ohio Department of Veterans Services, the Ohio County Veterans Service Offices, and veterans service organizations ask all eligible veterans to apply immediately, and for veterans of all eras, family members and friends to ask any veteran they know who may be eligible to take the time and apply.

The Ohio Veterans Bonus is awarded to veterans and active service members who were residents of Ohio at their time of entry into the military, and are Ohio residents at the time they apply. Eligible veterans must have served more than 90 days active duty, not for training, during the specified periods of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Bonus pays $100 a month to veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 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-country can receive $1,000, plus up to $500 for months of service elsewhere. The Ohio Veterans Bonus is not subject to federal or state taxes.

Family members of those killed in action or who died from disease as a result of their in-country 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 to request an application can call toll-free to 1-877-OHIO VET (1-877-644-6838) option 2, visit www.veteransbonus.ohio.gov , or visit any county veterans service office (see www.ohiovet.gov for an interactive map of the county offices).

The Ohio Veterans Bonus continues a tradition of bonuses to reward Ohio veterans that dates back to the Civil War; however, these other war bonuses are now closed.

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