BELLAIRE Time is running down for active-duty Ohio military personnel and veterans to claim up to $1,500 in bonus money from the state.
The deadline to have your application submitted is Dec. 31.
Back in 2009, Ohio voters approved a bond issue worth $200M to fund bonuses for veterans of the Persian Gulf war, along with the Afghanistan and Iraq war eras.
More than $50M has been paid out already but many veterans have yet to claim their benefits.
Applications are available online or veterans can stop by their local veterans service office to fill out an application.
Christy Taylor from the Belmont County Veterans Service Office in Bellaire invites all local veterans to stop down her office in Bellaire to get the process started.
"A decent amount have came through, but it's really slowed off since its inception," Taylor said. "When it first came out, a lot of people came in.
"We've had a couple more this week than more. I think people are seeing that it's almost time for the deadline."
Taylor estimated her office has processed between 150-200 bonuses thus far.
She noted in order for veterans to receive their bonus, they must bring the No. 4 copy of their DD214, proof of current Ohio residency and Ohio residency at the start of service and military records showing dates and locations served.
Those who served in the Persian Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan are eligible for $100 per month bonus for every month served in-country for up to $1,000.
Those who served elsewhere are eligible for $50 per month, up to $500.
In-country compensation is limited to those who served during certain time periods:
For the Persian Gulf War, from Aug. 2, 1990 through March 3, 1991.
For the Afghanistan War from Oct. 7, 2001 through a date yet to be determined by the President of the United States.
Iraq War, from March 19, 2003 through a date to be determined by the President.
This is for active-duty personnel, veterans receiving honorable discharge, medical discharge or medically retired because of combat-sustained disabilities.
For active-duty members, they must have served more than 90 days to be eligible for compensation and all eligible veterans, active or otherwise, must be current Ohio residents and have been Ohio residents at the time of their service.
Veterans can apply online by visiting veteransbonus.ohio.gov. In addition, they will still need to mail in their supporting documentation and a notarized signature page.
Taylor encourages veterans to apply through her office as the staff has notaries on-site and that all needed paperwork can be filed at the same time.
The Belmont County Veterans Service Office in Bellaire is located at 3326 Belmont St. in Bellaire and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
A satellite office in Barnesville at 113 W. Main St. is also able to process bonus claims. It is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Taylor reminded the claim must be submitted before the deadline. It does not have to be fully processed by Dec. 31.
For more information, call 877-OHIO-VET or locally at the BCVSO at (740) 325-1042.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org