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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army is expanding its $1,000 recruiting referral bonus program to include retirees.

The referral bonus pilot program, which began Jan. 18, was originally open only to soldiers, regardless of component or rank.

Soldiers are asked to submit information about individuals with no prior military experience or contact with a recruiter.

The $1,000 bonus isn’t payable until a referral candidate not only enlists, but completes basic training and then graduates from Advanced Individual Training, the school soldiers attend after boot camp that teaches the skills needed for their chosen Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS.

The enlistment can be with either the active Army, Army National Guard or the Army Reserves.

Since the $1,000 referral bonus began in January, the Army has gotten about 5,000 referrals, which have led to 500 contracts, Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army personnel spokesman, told Stars and Stripes on Friday.

The program’s expansion to Army retirees works using the same rules as the original version, Hilferty said.

That means retirees can’t refer members of their immediate family, which the Army is defining as children (natural and stepchildren or adopted), spouses, brothers and sisters.

Cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews and other extended family are eligible.

So-called “gray area” Army retirees also are eligible for the bonus, Hilferty said.

These are National Guard and Army Reserve retirees who have served their 20 years in the military and retired, but are not eligible to actually begin receiving pensions until they reach the age of 60, he said.

But retired soldiers do not qualify for the bonus if they are serving in a recruiting or retention assignment or as a Junior ROTC instructor, Hilferty said.

The first 100 recruits from the $1,000 bonus program have begun their training, and one soldier, Pvt. Bartolomiej Rdes, recently completed his advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Okla., Hilferty said.

As a result of Rdes’ success, Army officials intend to present the first $1,000 bonus check in the program’s history on Thursday to Staff Sgt. Consuelo Spears at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Hilferty said.

For more information on the bonus, call 800-223-3735 extension 60473, or go to: www.usarec.army.mil/smart

Retirees also can call their local Army recruiting station or contact their local Retiree Services Office.

For referrals to the Army National Guard, referring retirees should call 800-464-8273 or go to: www.1800goguard.com/esar.

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