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WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense has made yet more items reimbursable for servicemembers who purchased them for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The new items eligible for reimbursement are:

Bed insect nettingInsect repellantReflective vestsThese items are added to a list that already reimbursed troops for:

Complete ballistic vestsMost component parts of ballistic vests, including side-plate body armorHelmetsBallistic eye protectionHydration systemsGlovesKnee padsElbow padsPentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said the changes were prompted by requests from the services. The new policy updates the payback rules outlined by the department in October, which covered only body armor and related items.

The Associated Press reported Jan. 24 that just 29 soldiers had sought reimbursement between Oct. 1 and that date for body armor and other equipment they bought to protect themselves on the front lines. The requests totaled just $21,000 at the time.

To be eligible, servicemembers must not have been issued equivalent equipment by their service before they engaged in hostile-fire operations. The rules also cover servicemembers participating in Operation Noble Eagle, if they meet those guidelines.

Troops have until Oct. 3 to file their claims. The new order covers any of the authorized gear purchased between Sept. 11, 2001, through April 1, 2006.

Under the previous rules, after reimbursement the equipment would officially become Defense Department property, and would have to be turned over to military officials unless the items are “destroyed in combat or are otherwise no longer available for good reason.”

The payback limit for any single item remains at $1,100 under the new guidance. However, Krenke said that troops must provide receipts proving the costs of the items or receive a standardized payout for the items.

The rules state the equipment can be purchased by a servicemember or on their behalf, and that the reimbursement can cover shipping costs if a receipt is provided.

How to be reimbursed

Get a claim form:Download the DD-2902 form in PDF format or request it from commanding officers.

Get your receipts: Troops can be reimbursed for purchase and shipping costs if they saved their receipts. Otherwise, reimbursement will be limited to the department’s estimated costs.

Submit the forms: For current servicemembers, that means handing the paperwork to a field-grade commander in a unit. For those who have already separated, each service will designate an authorizing official.

Do it now: Troops only have until Oct. 3, 2006, to claim their reimbursement.

— Leo Shane

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