Veterans

June 17, 2013

Deadline looms for Ohio veterans to claim bonuses from state

Lisa Cornwell
Associated Press

Time is running out for eligible military veterans to claim Ohio bonuses of up to $1,500, and officials are worried that thousands of veterans may miss out by not applying.

Navy veteran Robert Erb III describes his bonus for service in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan war eras as a ìreal blessing for him and his family.
You don’t join for the benefits, but they can really help when you come back home,î said Erb, 41, of northeast Ohioís Fairport Harbor.

Ohio voters in 2009 approved a $200 million bond issue to fund bonuses for veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq war eras, and the Persian Gulf-era application deadline is Dec. 31.

While over $55.7 million has been paid to more than 66,000 veterans or family members for all three bonus periods since August 2010, there could be as many as 90,000 who havenít applied, including probably several thousand from the Persian Gulf era, according to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
ìOur Persian Gulf-era veterans need to take action right away,î department Director Tom Moe said.

While about 10,000 veterans from that era have received bonuses, officials canít say how many still need to apply, department spokesman Michael McKinney said.

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs estimates just over 100,000 Ohioans served during the Persian Gulf era. But the VA looks at a longer time period than the bonus period, and state and county officials say they donít get general information from the Defense Department on returning veterans and when they served.

The VA estimates that 75,000 to 80,000 Ohioans have served since 9/11.

State officials and county veterans commissions that help with the applications have worked to provide bonus information through traditional media ads, social media, veterans events and other means. The state last week approved a direct mailing to Ohioans with birthdays from 1950 or later who identify themselves as veterans on driverís license renewals, McKinney said.

But officials know they havenít reached everyone.

The executive director of the Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission in northeast Ohio says veterans tend to put more weight on ìwhat they hear from fellow veterans.

ìDespite all we do to get the word out, most tell us: ëMy buddy told me, Robert Schloendorn said.

The executive director of the Butler County Veterans Service Commission in southwest Ohio believes some may be reluctant because ìthey think it’s a handout.

ìItís not a handout,î Executive Director Curtis McPherson said. ìItís a thank you they earned for serving their country.

Eligible veterans must have been Ohio residents when entering the service and when applying for bonuses. They also must have served at least 90 days of active duty, excluding training, in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Ohio National Guard or the reserves.

Persian Gulf-era bonuses require service sometime from Aug. 2, 1990, through March 3, 1991. The Iraq-era time is March 19, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2011, with a Dec. 31, 2014, application deadline. The Afghanistan eligibility period covers Oct. 7, 2001, to an end time yet to be determined until the conflictís official conclusion.

Bonuses are open to all eligible Ohio veterans for the compensated periods, regardless of where they served, though those serving in specified war zones would receive higher ones. Family members of those killed in action or who died from injuries or disease resulting from service in specified war zones could receive up to $6,500.

Army veteran Matt Jones, 31, of Hamilton, Butler County, says his bonus for serving in Iraq was a big help in paying bills and wants other veterans to know it can only help.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Joseph Scanlon

Cannon Cockers mark 10-Year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Joseph Scanlon Danny Acosta, a retired first sergeant who served with 11th Marine Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom and a native of Valencia, Calif., poses with his family for a pictu...
 
 
palmdale-army1

Top ten percent

Col. Omar Jones, commander, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division presents a certificate of achievement to Spec. Uritze Snelling, a native of Palmdale, Calif., 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. D...
 
 
Photograph by Linda KC Reynolds

OATH leads to new home for Veteran Jerral Hancock

Photograph by Linda KC Reynolds Kaelynn Edwards, Nicole Skinner and Army Spec. Jerral Hancock have a laugh via Skype with Gary Sinise of the Lt. Dan Band during a conference at Lancaster High School. History teacher Jamie Go...
 

 

Hagel orders overhaul of POW/MIA identification agencies

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced March 31 that he’s ordered an overhaul of the Pentagon agencies responsible for recovering and identifying the remains of America’s war dead. The reorganization seeks to consolidate the mission, improve efficiency and increase the number of remains identified by the two key agencies charged with POW-MIA accounting efforts — the...
 
 

Half of vets on G.I. Bill graduate, report estimates

A little more than half of the veterans who got college money under the GI Bill since 2009 eventually graduated, though many took longer to do it, a new study estimates. The report released March 214 estimated that 51.7 percent of student veterans earned a degree or certificate for some kind of higher education. That’s...
 
 

Veterans unemployment rate dropped in 2013

The unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans dropped in 2013, according to Labor Department statistics announced March 20. The unemployment rate fell to 9 percent last year for veterans who served on active duty since September 2001. The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down to 6.6 percent. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>