Army working to ease process for claiming stop-loss pay
ARLINGTON, Va. — Nearly 100,000 soldiers eligible for retroactive stop-loss pay have yet to formally request payment, according to the Army.
By late this month, the Army will begin mailing letters to about half of those soldiers with instructions for filing their claims online. Soldiers who were held on stop loss between 2001 and 2008 — and surviving family members of deceased soldiers — are eligible $500 for every month soldiers were kept beyond their initial end of service.
The mailings will have passwords that allow the recipients to access a Web site showing how long the Army believes they were held under stop loss.
“Hopefully it’s accurate” said Maj. Roy Whitley, who is leading the effort. “It may not be precise.”
Recipients can click “accept” and “submit” and their claims will be processed on a expedited basis, or they will be directed to another Web site if they feel the Army’s information about them is inaccurate, he said.
“It should be a much more elegant way of doing that if they accept the number we have for them.” Whitley said.
Whitley added that the Army plans to send letters to the remaining 50,000 soldiers once it’s satisfied that the new Web-based claims system and the current online and mail-based system are able to handle the volume of claims.
He said the Army didn’t send out mailings to those on the list when the program was rolled out in October because it didn’t know how many claims would come in or how difficult it would be to handle individual claims.
For many applicants, the process has been painfully slow and frustrating with several people complaining on the Stars and Stripes Web site about long waits and conflicting or no information about their claims.
One person sent 27 e-mails regarding his claim, Whitley said, and another person has 34 claims on 14 different claim numbers.
“We never thought people were going to be doing that,” Whitley said. “And we didn’t think people would believe that they eligible for stop-loss for six, eight, 10 years, but we have thousands of those.”
So far, more than 10,000 claims have been forwarded to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service for payment, he said. Another 1,400 people were deemed ineligible because they received a re-enlistment or retention bonus while under stop loss.
Soldiers can currently apply for retroactive stop-loss pay by visiting this site or mailing the servicemember’s DD-214 form, a copy of their contract, and proof that the soldier was stop-lossed to:
Retro Stop-Loss Special Pay5109 Leesburg Pike Suite 302Falls Church, VA 22041