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Last October, Dems approved retroactive/back pay for US soldiers who had been subject to stop loss (a program by which servicepeople were involuntarily made to serve past original discharge dates, created by the Bush administration and which is now being phased out).  The affected servicepeople are eligible for $500 per month for each month of forced service beyond their original discharge dates.

The problem?  People think it's too good to be true, lol, and are not filling in applications to claim this money.  The deadline for this program is approaching (October 21), and it's crucial to get the word out to any military family or friends who are potentially eligible for this benefit.

As the Washington Post explained two weeks ago:

U.S. troops have left $324 million in back pay unclaimed

By Craig Whitlock

Uncle Sam wants to give free, no-strings-attached money to about 145,000 troops who were involuntarily kept on duty after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but is having trouble persuading them that it's not a gimmick.

Last October, Congress approved retroactive bonus pay for military personnel who were forced to remain on duty beyond their original discharge date, a controversial policy known as "stop-loss." Lawmakers approved back pay of $500 for each month of involuntary service; the average lump-sum due is between $3,500 and $3,800.

To get the cash, an application must be submitted by Oct. 21; only about a third of those eligible have handed in paperwork. With just six weeks remaining before the deadline, the Department of Defense is scrambling to track down about 90,000 veterans, as well as some active-duty troops, to ask them to apply for their back pay.

Yesterday, the WH blog posted the following message in order to encourage more participation:

President Obama's Message to Veterans on Retroactive Pay Due to 'Stop Loss'

Let’s get the word out!  Tens of thousands veterans whose service in Iraq or Afghanistan was involuntarily extended or retirement was suspended due to ‘stop loss’ are not applying for retroactive pay to which they are entitled, and the deadline is October 21! Under legislation President Obama signed into law last year, servicemen and women whose service was extended due to ‘stop loss’ are eligible for $500 per month in retroactive pay for each month their service was extended.

If you were affected by stop-loss during your time serving our Nation in the Military or if you know someone that may have, please get them to www.defense.gov/stoploss for more information, or to submit a claim.  Over the past several months, the Department of Defense has been reaching out to service members, veterans and beneficiaries through direct mail, veteran service organizations, and the media.   The deadline is fast approaching and no one should be missed.  President Obama, the Defense Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Congress know you have earned this pay but the initiative to claim what amounts to an average of $3,700 starts with you.

As a team committed to improving the lives of veterans, military families, the wounded, and families of the fallen, we are intensifying our efforts to remind all who meet eligibility requirements to submit a claim for the benefit available to them.  Today, President Obama’s video address will be distributed across America to leave no stone unturned and no service member or their family unaware.

This is not a hugely substantive diary, but if it helps a few people realize that they are eligible for an unexpected couple of thousand dollars, I think it's worth the space.  

UPDATE
Thank you very much to ranger995, contact information for the army's retroactive stop loss bonus pay program:

RetroStopLossPay@conus.army.mil

Snail mail

U.S. Army
Retro Stop Loss Pay
Suite 302
5109 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

and here is the link
https://www.stoplosspay.army.mil/

UPDATE II
Again h/t ranger995, here is a link to ranger's diary written last year regarding Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's (IAVA) successful efforts to convince congress to pass the legislation which resulted in this bonus money:
http://www.dailykos.com/...

UPDATE III
Great donation suggestion from ranger:

If anyone wants to give some love to IAVA, they have been working hard for veterans. They are also the force behind the improved GI Bill.

http://iava.org/...

Originally posted to GN1927 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 02:56 PM PDT.

Poll

Do you know someone who is potentially eligible for this program?

32%24 votes
68%51 votes

| 75 votes | Vote | Results

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