Let’s Talk About: WWI Veterans’ Compensation

Bet you’ve never heard of the World War I Veteran’s Compensation Fund for Washington state veterans of the “war to end all wars.”

These are now to be accessed in FamilySearch.org and are a Department of Veterans Affairs bonus record set. World War I veterans could apply for compensation from the state of Washington between 1921-1925. 

The World War Adjusted Compensation Act, or Bonus Act, was a U.S. federal law passed on 19 May 1924, that granted a benefit to veterans of American military service in World War I.  The value of each veteran’s “credit” was based on each recipient’s service between 5 Apr 1917 and 1 Jul 1919, with $1.00 awarded for each day served in the U.S. and $1.25 for each day served abroad. The maximum payment was set at $500.00. 

To search this collection (on FamilySearch), it is helpful to know the name of the soldier and the state where he enlisted.

I, too, have questions. Was this a U.S.-wide program? Which paid, the federal government or the state government? Apparently, Washington state did.

If you wish to know more, click to the FamilySearch WIKI and then Washington (state).  Also click to Wikipedia for the World War Adjusted Compensation Act. 

2 comments on “Let’s Talk About: WWI Veterans’ Compensation

  1. Miriam Robbins says:

    It was a Federal Act, so they were paid Federal funds, not state. The U.S. Department of Veterans is a Federal department. The 1936 diary of my then-10-year-old great-aunt mentions her father (my great-grandfather who served in the American-North Russian Expeditionary Forces during WWI) getting his Bonus money. I remember learning about the Bonus Army and Hoovervilles in high school history.

    • Charles Hansen says:

      Actually Washington State Also had a bonus, this is from the Washington State Digital Archives: In March 1920 the State of Washington passed the Veterans’ Equalized Compensation Act, or the “Veterans’ Bonus” as it was known. Under the act, every “bone fide resident of Washington” at the time of enlistment would be eligible for bonus payment for every month served overseas. In order to apply, the veteran supplied evidence of service such as discharge papers. The World War I Service Cards, made available from the U.S. Department of War in October 1920, were used to authenticate the claims.

      In addition to the World War I Service Cards, the Washington State Archives has all of the Veterans’ Bonus Applications which include an extensive application form, copies of the discharge papers, and significant other information about the veterans. These records are not included in this database, but can be obtained by contacting the Washington State Archives

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