October 24, 2014

Medina
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Bonuses waiting for U.S. military veterans

MEDINA — More than 2,300 Medina County veterans, active-duty servicemen and women and their families may be eligible for a tax-free bonus from the state.

All veterans of the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars have to do is apply.

The Ohio Veterans Bonus ranges between $150 and $6,500, depending on the circumstances of deployment, according to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

For deceased veterans, their families may be eligible.

“If someone served on active duty for at least 90 days — whether you were in a combat zone or not — you’re eligible for this bonus,” department spokesman Mike McKinney said.

Statewide, more than 140,000 veterans may be entitled. About 60,500 already have received their bonuses, which average $840.

McKinney urged anyone to apply who thinks he or she might be eligible. Applicants must have entered service as an Ohio resident and still must be a resident.

Only 30 veterans have applied in person at the Medina County Veterans Services Office. But more may have applied directly to the state at veteransbonus.ohio.gov.

Veterans are awarded a bonus for each month they were on active duty during the three wars, McKinney said. If they were deployed to the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan or Iraq during wartime, they will receive $100 per month, maxing out at $1,000. For anywhere else, they receive $50 a month, to a maximum of $500.

The two bonuses can stack, capping at $1,500.

Any veteran who was medically discharged due to combat injuries could receive an additional $1,000, and family members of those killed in action or who died from foreign disease could receive another $5,000.

Ohio voters approved the bonus in 2009. Voters passed similar bonuses for veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“We want all veterans to take advantage of this great ‘thank you’ from Ohio voters,” McKinney said.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible periods of active service:
• Persian Gulf War: Aug. 2, 1990, to March 3, 1991. Application deadline is Dec. 31, 2013.
• Afghanistan War: Oct. 7, 2001, to a date to be determined by President Barack Obama. Application deadline also to be determined.
• Iraq War: March 19, 2003, through Dec. 21, 2011. Application deadline is Dec. 31, 2014.

Contact Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.