Over the last decade, 145,000 members of the military had their periods of service involuntarily extended.
This "stop loss" policy meant that thousands of troops were coming out of retirement or returning to fight after they thought their days of service were over. Legislation signed into law last year authorized the retroactive bonus payment for service members whose duty was extended due to stop loss between Sept. 11, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2009. Stop Lossed troops are eligible for an additional $500 for each month their service was extended.
"For you and your families, stop loss meant even more sacrifice," President Obama said in an announcement to troops.
Now, with an Oct. 21 deadline fast approaching, and with 87,000 military members who haven't made claims, President Obama signed legislation last week to extend the deadline to Dec. 3. With an average payout of $4,000 to each service member, Admiral Mike Mullen tried to assure service members that this wasn't a scam.
"And it's not a joke," he said in a blog posting. "It's YOUR money, so come get it."
The Department of Defense is encouraging eligible service members to stop procrastinating.
"It's important that all those eligible for this benefit take the opportunity to apply for what they've earned," said Lernes Hebert, the DOD's acting director of officer and enlisted personnel management. "We encourage those eligible to apply as soon as possible, to avoid the last-minute rush, which can increase processing time."
To receive your stop loss pay, log onto your service's website for stop loss:
• For the Army, visit https://www.stoplosspay.army.mil/ or call 877-736-5554
• For the U.S. Marines, https://www.manpower.usmc.mil/stoploss or call 877-242-2830
• For the Air Force, http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/stoploss/ or call 800-525-0102
• For the Navy, http://www.npc.navy.mil/ReferenceLibrary/MILPERSMAN/7000FinancialMgmt/7220_410.htm or call 901-874-4427.
Eligible members can print, complete and sign Department of Defense Form 2944, Claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Payment. They must then select the appropriate method for submitting their claim form based upon their service requirements. For more information about stop loss and the retroactive pay, visit www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0710_stoploss/.