Congress has extended the deadline for retroactive stop-loss pay once again, this time until April 8. Of the roughly 145,000 current and former servicemembers or their surviving spouses who are eligible for the money, 87,390 have been paid so far, according to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
This is the fifth time Congress has extended the program, which targets troops who were stop-lossed between September 2001 and September 2008. Those eligible can receive $500 for every month a servicemember was kept beyond their initial separation date.
Of those eligible, about 120,000 are soldiers or surviving spouses. The Army has received about 110,000 claims so far, of which 75,000 have been approved, 14,000 denied and 15,000 are pending, Maj. Roy Whitley, who runs the Army’s compensation program, said in an e-mail.
The Army is still working through a mountain of claims filed late last year after a mailing went out to people the Army believed were stop-lossed but had not yet applied. Many of the claims filed in the ensuing avalanche did not have the necessary documentation.
Whitley did not know how long it would take for the Army to get through the backlog. Case managers can process up to 1,200 claims per week, but those claims filed by mail or fax take longer, and the thousands of e-mails and phone calls his people are getting slow things considerably.
Of the remainder of those eligible, 7,186 airmen, 4,448 Marines have been paid along with 340 sailors, according to DFAS.
To apply online, go here.