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A plan to compensate overseas workers for six years’ worth of unpaid post allowances was posted Thursday on a Defense Department Web site, opening the door to tens of millions of dollars worth of claims against five military nonappropriated fund organizations.

Roughly 2,850 current NAF employees and an unknown number of former workers are expected to be eligible for at least some compensation under the plan. Early estimates by the DOD suggested the plan could cost employers roughly $68 million.

But the exact price tag isn’t known, mainly because payments won’t be made automatically.

Instead, the plan requires employees to file claims for unpaid allowances. Workers have to prove their eligibility for back pay by providing documentation, primarily official personnel action forms that include their name, citizenship, employment category, dates of employment and whom they work for, according to a document posted on the Web site for the DOD’s Civilian Personnel Management Service.

Other documentation may also be acceptable, such as payroll records, W-2s, timecards and pay statements. A list of the acceptable documents and back pay information can be found on the Web at: www.cpms.osd.mil/nafppo/postallowance.aspx.

The claims procedures come nearly five months after the department ordered NAF employers to pay post allowances to all qualifying employees. By April 24, all eligible employees began getting the allowance, according to documents posted on the CPMS Web site.

For more than a dozen years before that, five NAF employers — the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and the Navy Exchange Service Command — had been in at least partial violation of a DOD rule requiring post allowance be paid to all American citizens working regular full-time jobs overseas.

The claims procedures allow "current and former NAF employees to file claims for Post Allowance payments not paid for the period from December 1, 2001 to April 24, 2008," according to a message on the site.

A six-year statute of limitations for claims against the government prevents employees from claiming unpaid post allowances prior to Dec. 1, 2001, according to the document.

Information on submitting claims is provided in two documents, but specific instructions and forms needed to file claims are supposed to be available on NAF employer Web sites.

As of Friday afternoon, those instructions and forms — which are specific to each employer — were not available.

The official word about the back pay procedures also had not made its way to workers through NAF employers by Friday afternoon.

"We haven’t heard anything," said Michael Dean, operations manager for Spangdahlem Lodging at Spangdahlem Air Base, who has followed the issue closely for at least eight months. "Everyone’s still anxious and waiting."


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