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More time to apply for retroactive stop-loss pay

You can still apply for retroactive stop-loss pay through the end of Tuesday. Congress has once again extended the deadline as part of a short-term measure to keep funding the government.

This is the third time Congress has extended the program, which is meant to compensate troops who were stop-lossed between September 2001 and September 2008. Troops or their surviving spouses can receive $500 for each month that a servicemember was kept beyond his or her initial separation date.

Of the 145,000 people eligible for the program, about 71,000 -- fewer than half -- have been paid, according to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Many people have not yet applied, in part because the services have run into difficulties tracking down troops once they have left the military. Most of those eligible are soldiers or surviving spouses.

Both the Army and the Defense Department sent mailings earlier this year to people believed to be eligible for the program. That led to a surge in applications in the last few months of the year.

Now the Army has a backlog of about 16,000 claims that will take months to resolve. The backup also means that the time it takes to process an individual claim was rocketed from a few days to up to 90 days.

To apply online, go to:

http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0710_stoploss/

Having problems filing a claim? E-mail Jeff Schogol at:

jeffrey.schogol@stripes.osd.mil

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