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Minnesota veterans and families could see up to $2,000 bonus checks under state program

Minnesota lawmakers earlier this month approved $25 million to send out the bonus payments to veterans who served during the Global War on Terrorism.

File: West Duluth Memorial Day Parade
The Duluth Honor Guard leads the way in the West Duluth Memorial Day Parade on May 31, 2021. (Steve Kuchera / File / News Tribune)
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota veterans who served in the United States armed forces during the "Global War on Terrorism" are set to receive bonus payments from the state under a program signed into law earlier this month.

Gov. Tim Walz and state veterans affairs leaders on Tuesday, May 31, touted the plan during a ceremonial bill signing event and encouraged Minnesota veterans and their families to apply for the benefits starting in July.

"This is a thank you and this truly is one of those where the following through to say thank you for the services rendered since 9/11," Walz said. "It's a small way of saying, 'thank you,' but for those who are willing to serve this nation, once these conflicts came to a conclusion, we, as a state came together to offer up these bonuses."

Lawmakers passed the bill earlier this month and Walz signed it into law. Under the plan, the state set aside $25 million for military bonuses for veterans who served on active duty between Sept. 11, 2001, and Aug. 31, 2021.

Veterans Affairs leaders said about 40,000 Minnesotans could be eligible for the payments, along with about 100 families of veterans who have died. The payments range from $600 to $2,000 depending on a veteran's service and military honors.

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Applications for the bonus payments are set to open on July 7 and Minnesotans can access more information about the application process at minnesotaveteran.org .

Veterans advocacy groups thanked lawmakers for approving the funding and said expanding bonus payments to those who'd served after Sept. 11, 2001, would show a sign of respect and appreciation.

"This bill is a small part of maintaining the sacred covenant we share with our veterans by ensuring that they have a pair of benefits that they deserve," Disabled American Veterans National Commander Stephen "Butch" Whitehead said. "And as citizens, we must all work to lift each other up in a manner that is worthy to those who lay down their lives to protect the land and freedoms."

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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