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A total of 60,593 Ohio veterans and family members have received payments from the Ohio Veterans Bonus totaling nearly $51 million, and other eligible veterans are urged to take advantage of this special thank you for their service from Ohio voters.
Action is particularly critical for two groups of veterans -- those from the Persian Gulf War and Iraq War veterans.
The deadline to apply for Persian Gulf veterans is Dec. 31, 2013. Iraq War veterans face a deadline of Dec. 31, 2014, to apply.
The citizens of Ohio overwhelmingly approved the Ohio Veterans Bonus in November 2009 for veterans of the Persian Gulf War, Iraq War and Afghanistan War eras. The law implementing the Bonus set a deadline for Persian Gulf War veterans to apply of Dec. 31, 2013. The same law set the deadline for Iraq War veterans as the third year following a date determined by the President as the end of the conflict. Tentatively, this date is the termination date of the Iraq Campaign Medal, which was Dec. 31, 2011, making the deadline for bonus applications for service in Iraq Dec. 31, 2014. No deadline has yet been announced for the Afghanistan War.
Specific criteria for award of the Ohio Veterans Bonus is service in the Armed Forces of more than 90 days active duty, not for training, during the periods of the Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
For the Persian Gulf, the eligible period is from Aug. 2, 1990, through March 3, 1991, for Afghanistan, from Oct. 7, 2001, through a date to be determined by the President, and for Iraq, from March 19, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2011.
Eligible veterans must have been Ohio residents at the time of their entry into the service, and must be Ohio residents currently.
Veterans needing more information or who want to apply can call toll-free to 1-877-OHIO VET (1-877-644-6838) -- visit any county service office; or see www.dvs.ohio.gov.
Sequestration Woes: No one knows better than veterans about the need to have adequate funds available to ensure that America's defense program is second to none.
The current problem of sequestration in Washington, D.C. threatens to cut defense spending to an unrealistic low in dollars. Therefore, the VFW National in its Washington Weekly, urges Congress to reach an agreement on sequestration before the January 2013 deadline. Automatic cuts will take affect if they do not work together and find common ground in a little over a month.
The VFW has sent letters to all members of Congress urging them to take immediate bipartisan action to undo the triggers and consequences of sequestration. The impact these automatic cuts will have on the Department of Defense puts our service members, their families and our national security at risk. Contact your legislators and tell them to do what's right for our country.
Take the Military Family Survey: The 2013 Military Family Lifestyle Survey is now available online to veterans, service members and their families. The survey is open through Dec. 3, and should take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete, depending on your responses. Go to the Blue Star Families website to participate.
Items for this column can be mailed to Ron Seman, 5811 Renwod Drive, Parma, 44129, or email: SemanRJ@aol.com.