In 2009, President Obama signed the 2009 War Appropriations Act into law which provided $500 a month to any service member whose duty was extended due to stop-loss who served between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009. The government estimated that this benefit would apply to about 145,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. The program originally had a lifespan of a year, applicants had to submit their paperwork before October 21, 2010 to qualify for this benefit. Yet, there was an unanticipated problem. Since many of the service members eligible for this benefit had separated from the military, it became difficult to make them aware of it.
While the DoD engaged in outreach—direct mailing, email campaigns, and attempts at media-attention—the deadline to apply to this program was extended first by a year, then by six more months. Last spring, the deadline was extended again to October 21, 2012. According to an article on the Defense website, officials have confirmed that the deadline will not be extended, although some speculated that there would be more funding for this program in the latest continuing budget resolution recently passed in Congress.
Applying for the program is fairly simple. Each respective branch can apply through a specific website, which begins with a list of the documentation needed to apply. Along with the link to the website is a phone number that a service member can call for assistance, in case there are any computer problems. On the website there is a video message from the President which addresses concerns that this was some sort of trick to extend current service or an attempt to pull service members back into the military. In the video (and on the sidebar of the site), the President states, “As your commander in chief, I’m here to tell you that this is no gimmick or trick. You worked hard. You earned this money. 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.”
The bottom line is that if you are a service member or a survivor of a service member who was affected by the stop-loss policy, then you should apply for this money. In the latest press release, the DoD puts the average claim at $3,600. And the clock is running out to apply for these benefits. With the looming budget sequestration that was part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling, the DoD and the VA are preparing to tighten their budgets any way that they can. This program may be a casualty of this course of action. While a deal may be struck in the eleventh-hour that prevents the automatic defunding of many government programs, there is nothing that can be done in the next two weeks to extend this program, which was always supposed to be temporary anyway. If you are eligible or think you might be eligible, it can’t hurt to apply.
Link to Retroactive Stop-Loss Pay website. The phone numbers for the specific branches and links to their respective websites are found in the top right corner.
By Joshua M. Patton
If you liked that post, then try these…
Homeless Female Veterans by Lynn Goya on February 28th, 2013
The War within Himself: The Battle He Fought to Overcome PTSD by StaceyChil on May 6th, 2009
He is a compassionate man with a special place in his heart for suffering Veterans.
Women in Combat: Human Relationship Struggles by davidj872 on February 26th, 2012
By David JenkinsWomen have been in combat situations in the past.
Top Military News Headlines | May 27, 2010 by freedom on May 27th, 2010
Congress today is ready to vote on the repeal of ’don’t ask, don’t tell’.
Military News | Top Military Headlines by freedom on January 16th, 2012
Powered by Facebook Comments