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H.R. 7959, An Act to provide adjusted compensation for veterans of the World War . . . (Bonus Act), April 10, 1924

The Bonus Act awarded World War I veterans additional pay in various forms, with only limited payments available immediately. Veterans were given $1 for each day of service in the United States, and $1.25 for each day of service overseas. Bonuses totaling $50 or less were paid in cash, but bonuses over $50 were awarded as certificates payable in 20 years to limit government spending.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

H.R. 7959 - Image 1 H.R. 7959 - Image 2

The Soldiers Bonus Act

After World War I, veterans’ organizations lobbied Congress for extra pay to compensate returned soldiers for differences between military pay and the higher civilian pay during wartime. In 1924 Congress approved the World War Adjusted Compensation Act, known as the Bonus Act, to provide World War I veterans with bonuses. The legislation and the subsequent “Bonus March” on the Capitol in 1932 highlighted the Great Depression’s economic impact on veterans, and the act helped lay the foundation for the G.I. Bill of Rights in 1944.

I deem it is not necessary for me to tell of the splendid service of our soldiers in the World War. They did splendid work, displayed wonderful courage, and made great sacrifices. They won the admiration and applause of the civilized world. . . . I believe the World War veterans are fairly and justly entitled to the adjusted compensation given in the bill.

Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas, Speech to the U.S. Senate, April 19, 1924