Approximately 90,000 U.S. servicemembers who were kept on duty past their original discharge following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have yet to claim the retroactive bonus pay they're entitled to, and the deadline to claim the bonus is quickly approaching.
Last October, Congress approved retroactive bonus pay for military personnel who were forced to participate in the controversial policy known as "stop-loss." Lawmakers approved back pay of $500 for each month of involuntary service; the average lump-sum due is between $3,500 and $3,800.
Applications for the payments are due by Oct. 21, and so far, approximately one third of those eligible have submitted applications. Eighty percent of those are Army veterans.
To get the cash, an application must be submitted by Oct. 21; only about a third of those eligible have handed in paperwork. The Department of Defense currently is trying to track down the remaining servicemembers to inform them of the benefit, mailing out letters and launching a publicity campaign.
Applications can be submitted online here. By law, only those who apply can receive the payments.
The following service-specific sites provide more information on the claims process.
• Army: (877) 736-5554, online, e-mail • Navy: (901) 874-4427, online, e-mail • Marine Corps: (877) 242-2830, online, e-mail • Air Force: (800) 525-0102, Online, e-mail (active), e-mail (Guard/Reserve)