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Obama: Apply now for retroactive stop-loss pay

Fewer than half of the people eligible for retroactive stop-loss compensation have been paid, prompting President Barack Obama to urge eligible veterans, troops and surviving family members to apply for their money before the program ends on Oct. 21.

“Some veterans think this is some sort of gimmick or scam, or it’s some way for the government to call you back to service,” Obama said in a video message released on Wednesday. “Nothing could be further from the truth. As your commander in chief, I am here to tell you that this is no gimmick or trick. You worked hard; you earned this money.”

About 145,000 people are eligible for the money, but only about 58,000 claims have been paid so far because the services have run into problems reaching them despite efforts to get the word out through veterans groups, the media, bloggers roundtables, and direct mailings.

“We were very happy to see the president use the clout of his office to put out a message like this, to set the record straight on the benefit and in a concerted effort to make sure veterans know about it and have the resources to take advantage of it,” said Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for AMVETS.

The compensation program offers $500 for every month servicemembers were held beyond their initial separation date. The average payout so far has been between $3,000 and $4,000.

“You served with honor,” Obama said. “You did your duty. And when you’re country called on you again, you did your duty again. Now it’s time to collect that special pay that you deserve.”

To apply online, go to:

http://www.defense.gov/stoploss

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