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.


 
 

 

VA expands Fry Scholarship to surviving spouses of service members who died on active duty

The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin accepting applications by mail Nov. 3, 2014, for the Fry Scholarship under newly expanded eligibility criteria to include surviving spouses. The expanded criteria for the Fry Scholarship is the latest in a series of VA actions to implement provisions of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Ryan Hallock

The long road home: Lewis-McChord honors Vietnam veterans

Army photograph by Sgt. Cody Quinn Former and current service members gather together during Vietnam Veterans Salute Day, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Oct. 9, 2014. The event was held to honor Vietnam veterans by giving ...
 
 

VA processes more than 1.3 million veteransí claims in fiscal 2014

More than 1.3 million Veterans received decisions on their Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation and pension claims in fiscal year 2014 ñ the highest number in VA’s history, surpassing last year’s record-breaking production by more than 150,000 claims. This second year of record-breaking production comes as VA continues to transform the way it provides...
 

 

Obama: Move heaven and earth to care for disabled vets

With the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, the nation commemorates for the first time the two battles disabled veterans have fought – the battle over there and the battle at home – the battle to recover, President Barack Obama said Oct. 5 during the dedication ceremony. Congress approved the building of the memorial with...
 
 

VA wards contract for independent assessment of health care

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Oct. 1 that the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit company that operates multiple federally funded research and development centers, has been awarded a contract to support the Independent Assessment of VA health care processes, as required by the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. MITRE Corporation will serve...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger

82nd Airborne helps commemorate 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden

Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger A paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, reflects near the grave of a British paratrooper at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Sept. 14, 2014, in the Netherlands. The...
 




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>