WASHINGTON, March 2, 2011 — Service members, veterans and legally designated beneficiaries held on active duty under the Stop-Loss program between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, must apply by March 4 to receive $500 in special retroactive pay for each month their service was extended.
Although more than 100,000 unique claims have been initiated, many people eligible for the pay have yet to apply, officials said.
Army officials conducted an extensive outreach plan to notify those eligible for the pay. Recently, certified letters were sent to more than 25,000 individuals still eligible for the pay. This was the second direct mailing conducted by the Army, officials said.
More than 75,000 letters were sent in 2010. Additionally, a mass mailing reminder was sent by the Defense Manpower and Data Center prior to the program’s original Oct. 21, 2010, deadline. That earlier deadline subsequently was extended so that more eligible people could be notified.
“We have completed actions to directly notify those we believe are eligible for the special pay,” Army Maj. Roy Whitley, the program manager, said. “In addition, we’ve been actively working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, veteran service organizations and leveraging traditional and social media to spread the word about Stop-Loss pay.
The March 4 deadline marks the third time the deadline has been extended, Whitley noted. He added that the extensions have helped the Army use new ways to generate claims.
“We’ve been able to complete a certified mail plan and send e-mail notifications to everyone taking advantage of the GI Bill,” he said. Though the outreach has been extensive, he added, some may need a final reminder to start the application process.
“We have claims from all 50 states and every U.S. territory. We have claims from over 12 foreign countries. The word has gotten out,” Whitley said. “Now, we need those eligible to take action by the deadline.”
The Defense Department and the Army have websites where people can find more information or file a claim.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
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