Deadline approaching for 'stop-loss' military benefits
The Washington Post
The deadline for service members, veterans and beneficiaries to apply for retroactive "stop-loss" pay for post-Sept. 11 military service is fast approaching.
The special pay under the 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act applies to those whose service was involuntarily extended under stop-loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009.
Those who meet the criteria must submit an application by Oct. 21.
The retroactive payment amounts to $500 for each month of extension, with an average benefit of $3,700, the Defense Department said.
Information on the special pay and links to the application are available at www.defense.gov/stoploss.
According to the Pentagon, officials with the military services have tried to contact those eligible through mail, the Department of Veterans Affairs, veteran and military service organizations, social networks and media outreach.
"But there is still money left to be claimed, and the deadline is approaching," the Defense Department said in a statement.
As of last month, about 58,000 of 145,000 eligible claims have been paid and $219 million of the appropriated $534 million distributed, the Pentagon said.
President Barack Obama issued a video statement last month urging those eligible to apply for the pay.
"I know there's been some confusion and skepticism out there," he said. "Some veterans think this is some sort of gimmick or scam, or that it's a way for the government to call you back to service. Nothing could be further from the truth."
"You worked hard. You earned this money," Obama said. "It doesn't matter whether you were active or reserve, whether you're a veteran who experienced 'stop loss' or the survivor of a service member who did. If your service was extended, you're eligible."