USA — Official Reminds Troops, Vets to Submit ‘Stop Loss’ Claims

WASHINGTON — Defense Depart­ment offi­cials want to ensure that any­one whose mil­i­tary enlist­ment was invol­un­tar­i­ly extend­ed under the so-called “stop loss” pro­vi­sion applies to receive a stipend by the Oct. 21 dead­line.

An esti­mat­ed 145,000 ser­vice­mem­bers are eli­gi­ble to receive $500 for each full or par­tial month served in stop loss sta­tus.

Dur­ing a “DoD Live” blog­gers round­table yes­ter­day, Lernes J. Hebert, the department’s act­ing direc­tor of offi­cer and enlist­ed per­son­nel man­age­ment, said tens of thou­sands of appli­ca­tions have been processed, but the depart­ment is far from hav­ing received claims from every eli­gi­ble ser­vice­mem­ber. As a result, he said, offi­cials are try­ing to get the word out so eli­gi­ble peo­ple can apply by the dead­line.

One con­cern, Hebert said, is that some cur­rent or for­mer ser­vice­mem­bers assume they’re inel­i­gi­ble, or that they don’t want to spend time apply­ing for what may turn out to be no return at all. But turn­around is quick and the form takes very lit­tle time to com­plete for what could turn out to be a sig­nif­i­cant pay­off, he added.

“If there’s any ques­tion if you’re eli­gi­ble – go ahead and apply,” Hebert said. “Most of the indi­vid­u­als who have gone through the process say [the form] takes about a half hour to com­plete. The aver­age pay out is between $3,000 and $4,000, so that’s a pret­ty good return on your invest­ment.”

All ser­vice­mem­bers, vet­er­ans and ben­e­fi­cia­ries of ser­vice­mem­bers whose ser­vice was invol­un­tar­i­ly extend­ed between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, are eli­gi­ble for the spe­cial pay.

“This is to get the word out, so that nobody is left won­der­ing come Oct. 22,” Hebert said. “It’s a full-court press.”

Army Maj. Roy Whit­ley, the Army’s project man­ag­er for Retroac­tive Stop Loss Spe­cial Pay, also par­tic­i­pat­ed in the round­table. Whit­ley said the Army has processed about 44,000 claims, adding that he believes there are more troops are out there who don’t know to apply for their stop loss spe­cial pay. But with­out that appli­ca­tion on hand, he added, the Army can’t do any­thing for the sol­dier.

“We can always pay you,” Whit­ley said. “We have plen­ty of time to look at claims. We just need to get you in.”

Hebert said the Defense Department’s stop loss web­site at http://www.defense.gov/stoploss has all the infor­ma­tion about the spe­cial pay and includes the appli­ca­tion form. He empha­sized that ser­vice­mem­bers who aren’t cer­tain about eli­gi­bil­i­ty may qual­i­fy despite their mem­o­ry or knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion.

“Whether you think you’re eli­gi­ble or not, sub­mit the appli­ca­tion,” Hebert said.

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

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