Military personnel have until Sunday to apply for special pay

United States Air Force

Military personnel whose service was extended involuntarily after the 2001 terrorist attacks have until Oct. 21 to file a claim for special pay.

The 2009 supplemental war appropriations law authorized retroactive stop-loss special pay of up to $500 for every full or partial month that military members served on stop-loss status, with an average benefit of $3,700. Veterans and beneficiaries of military members also are eligible for the special pay, designed to compensate those whose service was involuntarily extended between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009. The term stop-loss refers to the 1984 presidential authority to keep military members on active duty beyond their service separation date to maintain defense operations and unit cohesion.

Those eligible should go to their specific service’s website and submit an online application by Sunday. Applicants without access to the Internet can complete a hard copy (Defense Department Form 2944) and submit that along with supporting documents. Click here for more information on how to file a claim.

Congress set aside $534.4 million in the fiscal 2009 defense supplemental act to pay such claims, and the deadline for filing them has been extended more than once. Defense and the Veterans Affairs Department have reached out to find and inform active-duty service members, veterans and their families who might be eligible for the money. The outreach has included mail and media campaigns, as well as contact through organizations.

President Obama in a 2010 news release urged service members to take advantage of the benefit, emphasizing that they’d earned it. “I know there's been some confusion and skepticism out there,” he said. “Some veterans think this is some sort of gimmick or scam, or that it's a way for the government to call you back to service. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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