How to Apply for the Ohio Veterans Bonus
In 2010, citizens of Ohio voted to thank the veterans of the state through an Ohio Veterans Bonus program. The program pays $50 per month, not to exceed $500, for service anywhere in the world during the compensable time periods, or $100 per month, not to exceed $1,000, for service in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan or Iraq during the compensable periods. The maximum bonus is $1,500 combined.
To apply for this bonus veterans must meet specific criteria, provide proof of service with a DD-214, Member Copy 2 or 4 showing home of record (must be somewhere in Ohio), dates of service and service locations, and character of service at discharge (must be under Honorable conditions). The Ohio Veterans Bonus Program Web Site provides an online eligibility tool to help veterans determine if they qualify. The following will provide a few tips on what veterans should consider when submitting an application.
Applying for the Ohio Veterans Bonus
Step 1: Before entering the Ohio Veterans Bonus eligibility tool locate your DD-214. This is the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Copies called Member-1 and Member-4 are given to you when you leave the service. The form shows your service dates, locations, rank, and other important service information. Member-4 contains more information than Member-1, hence the reason you need Member-4 for the application process for the Ohio Veterans Bonus program.
Step 2: If you do not have the DD-214 Member-4 form you can request a Service Copy-2 from the National Personnel Records Center’s online military personnel records system. The DD-214 Service-2 shows the same information as Member-4 and can be used during the application process for the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program.
NOTE: The Ohio Veterans Bonus Program refers to the DD-214 Copy 2 as a member copy. This is the Service Copy. Service-2 will be located on the bottom right hand side of the form.
Step 3: You will need to show proof of current Ohio residency. This is basically showing where you currently live as an address in Ohio.
NOTE: Requirements to receive the bonus include being a resident at the time of entry and a resident of Ohio currently. Your DD-214 Member-2 or Service-4 will show your Home of Record at Time of Entry in block 7b. If this block does not indicate you were a resident of Ohio then you are not eligible for the bonus.
Step 4: Log on to the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program site and run the eligibility tool. You will be asked several questions including:
- Are you a veteran, active Service member, or family member/legal guardian of an incompetent veteran?
- Are you currently a resident of Ohio?
- Were you a resident of Ohio at the time you entered active duty?
- Did you serve in active duty during at least one of these bonus qualifying periods? Persian Gulf 8/2/1990 through 3/3/1991, Afghanistan 10/7/2001 through TBD, or Iraq 3/19/2003 through TBD.
- Were you honorably discharged or discharged under honorable conditions?
- Have you received a similar bonus from another state?
NOTE: If you are applying for a deceased military member you will need to show additional proof including a death certificate of the member, marriage license if you are a spouse of the member, and/or your birth certificate or adoption papers indicating it is your parent that was eligible for the bonus.
Step 5: One you have determined you are eligible to receive the bonus then you can fill out the online application on the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program Web site. Use the information directly from your DD-214 to fill in the information.
NOTE: The web site says the application will be processed within 8 weeks. This is only an estimation of time. The actual processing time may take longer based on the number of applications received.
NOTE: Do not reapply once you receive a claim number. If you apply more than one time this will make the processing of your claim very difficult and will drastically slow down the process. If you loose your initial claim number you need to contact the Ohio Veterans Bonus Processing (VBP) center for assistance (1-877-OHIO VET (1-877-644-6838)).
NOTE: Be prepared to print your application after you finish entering your information. Print two copies–one to mail to the VBP and one for your records. If you cannot print then you can opt to have a copy of the form mailed to you using the USPS.
NOTE: Do not sign the application until you are with the notary or at the office of the clerk of courts of common pleas. The notary must witness your signature on the application.
Step 6: Once you have finished the application, printed it, signed it in front of the notary, then you will need to mail it along with the required documentation to:
Ohio Department of Veterans Services
Veterans Bonus Program
Post Office Box 373
Sandusky, OH 44871
NOTE: You may want to send the package as registered mail since it contains personal information about you to include your social security number.
NOTE: The Ohio Veterans Bonus Program web site says the documents must be mailed using the United States Postal Service.
NOTE: Do not send your original documents. Send only copies of your DD-214, birth/death certificates, and/or marriage licenses as needed.
NOTE: The deadline for applications is three years following the end of the conflict as established by the President of the United States. Persian Gulf Veterans have until December 31, 2013 to apply for the bonus. The end dates for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts have not been determined. Once determined all other eligible veterans will have three years to complete the application process to receive the bonus.
Taking the time to fill out the required information may seem like a hassle to some, but receiving the bonus as a veteran of the State of Ohio is a deserving Thank You for your service to our great nation!
Please let us know if you have any questions or tips on filling out the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program application. If you are not a resident of Ohio you may be eligible for a bonus program from your state. Check with your local VA department to find out if your state provides any compensation to thank veterans for their service or check with The Military Wallet and search your state’s name with “Veterans Bonus” (i.e. West Virginia Veterans Bonus).