POMEROY — While the deadline for filing for an Ohio veterans’ bonus is still a year away, George Hoffman, Meigs County’s veteran service officer, is encouraging veterans to apply now.
“If they need help in filling out the on-line application form, I’m here and I’m happy to help,” said Hoffman, who stressed the need to get the word out so that nobody is left behind … that the veterans who qualify for a bonus can get the benefit of the money now.
In 2009, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the state to sell $200 million worth of bonds to pay bonuses to the men and women who served or are currently serving in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. Giving a bonus to reward those who serve in the military is a tradition which dates back to the Civil War.
The latest figures from the Ohio Department of Veterans Service show that bonuses for Ohio veterans now total $45 million which is an indication that thousands of eligible Ohio veterans have not claimed their service benefit. Hoffman said that he is sure there are hundreds of veterans in Meigs County who had not applied and may not even realize they qualify or know how to apply, and it is those he wants to reach out to help them secure the benefit to which they are entitled.
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 from Aug. 2, 1990 through March 3, 1991, for Afghanistan from Oct. 7, 2001 through a date yet to be determined, and for Iraq from March 19, 2003.
Veterans may receive $100 for each month of active duty service in any of the locations up to a maximum $1000 bonus. Eligible veterans who were medically discharged or medically retired from service due to combat-related disabilities sustained during their service in those areas, can apply for a $1000 bonus, regardless of their length of service.
Veterans who received medical discharges, and the families of those who were killed in action or died of disease related to service to their country are eligible for bonuses of up to $6,500. For more information on the bonus program, or assistance in applying, just visit the Meigs County Veterans Service Office located in the Meigs County Courthouse Annex on Mulberry Heights in Pomeroy.
The deadline for veterans to apply for a bonus is Dec. 31, 2013.