Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Veteran Benefits Program Ending

Military members whose service was involuntarily extended, or whose retirement was suspended between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009, due to stop loss are entitled to retroactive payments of $500 for each month they were extended, according to Department of Defense officials. But the deadline to receive those benefits is rapidly drawing to a close. The deadline to apply for the benefits is October 21, 2010.

Only about 58,000 of the 145,000 eligible claims have been paid, leaving more than $300 million available to eligible veterans. The average payout for each veteran is close to $4,000.

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established the Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay and throughout the past year the services have been reaching out to eligible veterans, service members and their families through direct mail, veteran service organizations and the media. But by law there is no authorization to make payments on claims submitted after October 21, 2010.

Eligible members should 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. The information can be found on their service�s stop loss web site, accessible from, or call: Army: (877) 736-5554; Navy: (901) 874-4427; Marine Corps: (877) 242-2830 and Air Force: (800) 525-0102.

Update: Shortly after the original story was released focusing on the deadline for a stop loss benefit for veterans, Congress approved an extension. Now, eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries now have until December 3, 2010 to apply for retroactive stop loss special pay following an extension in the continuing resolution signed by the president Sept. 30.

The new Dec. 3 deadline extends the original Oct. 21 cutoff for applications and allows eligible recipients more time to apply for the benefit.

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