U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today urged service members, veterans, and beneficiaries to apply for retroactive "stop loss" bonuses before the October 21, 2012 deadline. Individuals affected by the military's "stop loss" policy since 2001 can apply for a $500 bonus for each month their service was involuntarily extended beyond their scheduled separation date. Application details from the U.S. Department of Defense are available here.
"With the deadline looming, it's important that eligible service members and veterans come forward and claim their stop loss bonuses," said Lautenberg, an Army veteran. "This program was designed to provide brave men and women affected by this unfair policy with the compensation they deserve for their sacrifices. Every veteran who thinks they may be eligible for these benefits should apply now before it's too late."
The military's "stop loss" policy was utilized during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to involuntarily extend the military service of soldiers whose units deployed within 90 days of the end of the soldier's commitment. In 2008, Senator Lautenberg wrote legislation to provide compensation to the men and women affected by the stop loss policy. In June 2009, President Obama signed into law a bill that included $534.4 million to pay retroactive bonuses for troops affected by the policy.
Senator Lautenberg worked to secure extensions for the retroactive stop loss bonuses to provide the military with the time needed to conduct additional outreach to eligible claimants. Congress successfully extended the application deadline two years past the original date, and the October 21, 2012, deadline is expected to be the final opportunity to apply. The Defense Department estimates that approximately 100,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries entitled to retroactive stop loss bonuses have already received their payments to date.