Veterans serving post-9/11 era eligible for bonus payment

(ABC 6 News) – For veterans serving post-9/11 era, Thursday is the first day to apply for a bonus payment from the MN Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The bill, which passed in May, is designed to award the sacrifices and courage Minnesotans take to defend our country.

The DVA predicts over 40,000 applicants.

"This is a thank you. This isn’t just a hand out," Gilmore, the Commander of the American Legion Post #92, said. "This is the state of Minnesota saying to us: thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifices, thank you for what you’ve done. We have not forgotten about you."

For many, it could not have come at a better time.

"Times are tough right now with inflation, coming off the tail-end of COVID. Anything helps right now," said Olmsted County Veterans Senior Officer, Ashley Laganiere. "We see a lot of financial need right now in Olmsted County, just from a wide range of veterans."

The MN Department of Veterans Affairs says it is time these veterans are thanked.

"The end of the conflict was last Aug. when we pulled all of our troops out. We identified that as perfect timing for us to now give a service bonus to those individuals who have joined and served after 9/11," said David Bellefeuille, the Director of Veteran Education and Employment Programs.

This application will be open through June 30, 2024, or until funds are exhausted.

There are three tiers of the Post-9/11 Veteran Service Bonus and applicants deemed eligible can receive anywhere between $600 and $2,000.

Click here for more information on eligibility and how to apply.

Laganiere is also a veteran herself, along with her husband, who both applied. She said the money will be an investment back into her own family.

"We have school tuition due for kiddos. We are in that back-to-school time where school supplies and school clothes are ready," Laganiere said. "We appreciate our state, honoring our service."

Another goal of the program is to connect younger veterans, with service providers, getting them in contact with benefits and resources..

There have already been over 1,000 applicants since it opened Thursday morning.

For those that have questions, you are encouraged to call your County Veterans Service Officer for assistance or call the MDVA call center at 888-LinkVet.