USA — Legislation Extends Special Stop-Loss Pay Deadline

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma signed leg­is­la­tion yes­ter­day extend­ing the Retroac­tive Stop-Loss Spe­cial Pay dead­line through Decem­ber 3, DOD offi­cials said today.

Offi­cials esti­mate about 80,000 eli­gi­ble ser­vice mem­bers, vet­er­ans and ben­e­fi­cia­ries have yet to apply for the spe­cial stop-loss pay.

“It’s impor­tant that all those eli­gi­ble for this ben­e­fit take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to apply for what they’ve earned,” said Lernes Hebert, the Defense Department’s act­ing direc­tor of offi­cer and enlist­ed per­son­nel man­age­ment. “We encour­age those eli­gi­ble to apply as soon as pos­si­ble, to avoid the last-minute rush, which can increase pro­cess­ing time.”

The pro­gram was due to run out Oct. 21, 2010. The exten­sion is part of the con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion that funds fed­er­al gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions. Con­gress has not yet passed autho­riza­tion or appro­pri­a­tions bills for fis­cal 2011.

The pro­gram affects mil­i­tary mem­bers whose ser­vice was invol­un­tar­i­ly extend­ed under stop-loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eli­gi­ble mem­bers or their ben­e­fi­cia­ries are required to sub­mit a claim to their respec­tive mil­i­tary ser­vice in order to receive the ben­e­fit of $500 for each full or par­tial month served in a stop-loss sta­tus. The orig­i­nal dead­line for claims was Oct. 21, 2010.

Stop-loss allows the mil­i­tary to extend ser­vice­mem­bers beyond their end-of-term of ser­vice dates. The pro­gram has been used exten­sive­ly since 9–11 to main­tain per­son­nel strength in deploy­ing units. The pro­gram allows the mil­i­tary to extend ser­vice­mem­bers whose end-of-term of ser­vice, retire­ment or end-of-ser­vice oblig­a­tion date falls dur­ing a deploy­ment. They may be invol­un­tar­i­ly extend­ed until the end of their unit’s deploy­ment. The Army and Marine Corps used the pol­i­cy the most.

The spe­cial pay is meant to remu­ner­ate the ser­vice­mem­bers for their sac­ri­fices. When the pro­gram began last year, the ser­vices esti­mat­ed 145,000 ser­vice mem­bers, vet­er­ans and ben­e­fi­cia­ries were eli­gi­ble. Most had already sep­a­rat­ed from the ser­vices.

The ser­vices have sent direct mail to those eli­gi­ble under the pro­gram. The mil­i­tary has engaged with mil­i­tary and vet­er­an ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions. The ser­vices also here reached out via social net­works and media out­lets.

Last month Pres­i­dent Oba­ma reached out to vet­er­ans in a video post­ed to the White House Web site encour­ag­ing those who are eli­gi­ble to apply for the ben­e­fit.

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

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