Gates Urges Servicemembers to Claim Stop-Loss Pay

WASHINGTON — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates urged ser­vice­mem­bers whose mil­i­tary ser­vice was invol­un­tar­i­ly extend­ed between 2001 and 2009 under the so-called “Stop Loss” pro­gram to claim the spe­cial pay to which they’re enti­tled before the Dec. 3 dead­line.

As sec­re­tary of defense, one of my respon­si­bil­i­ties is to make sure mem­bers of the armed forces receive the ben­e­fits they have earned,” Gates said in a mes­sage aired on the Pen­ta­gon Chan­nel.

More than 145,000 peo­ple are eli­gi­ble for the spe­cial pay, but few­er than half have sub­mit­ted claims, defense offi­cials said. Ser­vice­mem­bers and vet­er­ans are enti­tled to $500 for each month or par­tial month they served in Stop Loss sta­tus.

Gates’ mes­sage is the department’s lat­est attempt to reach eli­gi­ble ser­vice­mem­bers, vet­er­ans and ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Since Octo­ber 2009 — when the War Sup­ple­men­tal Appro­pri­a­tions Act estab­lished the retroac­tive spe­cial pay — the ser­vices have used direct mail, vet­er­an ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions, the media and the Inter­net to reach those who are eli­gi­ble.

On Sept. 15, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma record­ed a video mes­sage that is post­ed on the White House blog page, and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, post­ed a blog entry on the top­ic on the Defense Department’s web­site.

If you were affect­ed by Stop Loss, … I would encour­age you to go to to learn more,” Gates said. “The aver­age pay­ment has been about $3,800. But don’t wait too long. The dead­line to sub­mit a claim is Dec. 3, 2010.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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