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Sep 21 2010

Help a Veteran, Spread the Word

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Previously posted at Daily Kos as Six Degrees of Separation

Soldier Shares Story:

I was sent an email by a friend early in the year that the Army was going to retroactively pay me for the approximately one year I was “stop-lossed” while I was deployed to Iraq. My initial reaction was one born of experience: “This is not going to be easy, I’m never going to see this money.”

But he did…

This soldier was stop lossed during the Bush Administration. Then,

Under legislation President Obama signed into law last year, servicemen and women… whose service was extended due to ‘stop loss’ are eligible for $500 per month in retroactive pay for each month their service was extended.

Unfortunately, according to Admiral Mike McMullen, there is a lot of unclaimed money:

The Congress generously set aside $534.4 million to pay out those funds, but as of the end of last month only $219 million in claims have been paid.

You’ve all heard about the six degrees of separation.  You may not think you know a veteran who was stop lossed, but maybe your friend or your cousin or your sister does.

Help a veteran, spread the word.

The soldier who thought he would never see his money is Mr. Thomas Breslin. He served in Iraq as a fire support officer in the 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division from 2006-2007 and is now separated from the military. His story is posted on the DoD blog, DoD Live.

He said the process was only as hard as any other military paperwork.  That means it wasn’t easy, but he certainly thinks it was worth the 30 minutes of his time that it took to file.

The website stated that I would need a memo stating my retirement was denied, I simply skipped it and provided the information I thought would be needed to prove I was stop lossed and crossed my fingers.

In the meantime I was sent a link to a Facebook page set up to handle stop-loss pay.

I was impressed – it seemed that someone was following up on folks’ issues and giving them helpful info. Reading through the page the stop loss folks were more than upfront about the issues they were dealing with and the best way to get your claim processed.

Two months later I received an email that my claim had been found to be valid and shortly after, my stop loss funds appeared in my account. Grand total, it took about 30 minutes of my time to submit my info. Beside the expected wait the process was easy.

We’ve had two great diaries at DKos about Stop Loss: Military: Stop lossed? You May Be Eligible for Retroactive Pay by GN1927 made the wreck list and Really Supporting the Troops by DaNang65 was rescued.  With each diary, a couple of more people learn about the issue and spread the word. So I’ve decided to give this another try so that a few more veterans can get the money they’ve earned. And, I thought I would add more info. As much as I could find so that we could answer questions as well.

I’ve seen a lot of comments from folks in these two diaries about how poor it is that the miitary just didn’t give the money directly in the first place. I was concerned myself. But what I’ve learned helps me understand the difficulties faced by the government on this one. These payments are retroactive. Most of those who are eliglible to make these claims left the military before President Obama even came into office. The the military has sent letters, contacted Veteran’s groups, and is spreading the word through videos and blogs. Letters get sent to the last known address but, as years pass and people move, there are veterans who have not gotten the word. There are also those that don’t believe the money will ever come through. They’re used to dealing with a system that is slow to respond to the needs of military members.

That’s one reason President Obama himself published this video last week:

If video is not showing, you can always see it here.

The Army is especially working hard. They’ve set up their own Facebook page to spread the word. This page deals specifically with Stop Loss Payments. Visit it yourself and share it with your friends.  Then ask them to share it… we may get those soldiers who have slipped through the cracks.

Just in case the veterans you know don’t trust President Obama (sigh, I know some of them exist), you may want to share these words from Admiral Mike Mullen instead:

http://www.defense.gov/home/fe…

Time is running out for those who qualify to receive their Stop Loss Special Pay. The deadline to claim it is Oct. 21st, but less than half of the more than 145,000 people eligible have submitted claims.

It’s not a scam. And it’s not a joke. It’s YOUR money, so come get it.

Just in case you had forgotten, the 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act authorized retroactive stop loss special pay of $500 for every month/partial month served in stop loss status.

Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of service members who were involuntarily extended under stop loss between 9/11 and September 30th 2009 are eligible.

The Congress generously set aside $534.4 million to pay out those funds, but as of the end of last month only $219 million in claims have been paid.

We’ve used all kinds of different ways to reach out to people and let them know, including letters to homes and help from Veteran/Military Service Organizations. But there are still those who have yet to apply.

So, with the deadline fast approaching, I’m asking everyone who reads this blog to pass it on to anyone else you think needs to see it. Qualifying individuals have served — or are still serving — their country nobly and deserve to be paid the money they’ve earned.

The application process is simple and straightforward. No strings attached. But once the deadline passes, we cannot by law extend it. So jump online and check it out at: www.defense.gov/stoploss.

It’s your money.

–Admiral Mike Mullen

So, here’s the skinny directly from the DoD website:

Individuals who meet eligibility criteria may submit an application between Oct. 21, 2009 and Oct., 21 2010. By law, there is no authorization to make payments on claims that are submitted after Oct. 21, 2010.

Eligible members should print, complete and sign Department of Defense Form 2944, Claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Payment.

Next, choose the appropriate method for submitting the claim form and available supporting documents based on your service specifications. This information can be found on your service’s stop loss Web site.

Here are the Source Documents that will help when submitting the claim. I don’t believe anyone needs all of these… but as with anything in the military, multiple forms never hurt.

Source Documents

DD 214 (8-09), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and/or DD 215 (8-09), Correction to DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.

Personnel record or enlistment or reenlistment document recording original expiration of service date.

Approved retirement/transfer to the Fleet Reserve memorandum or orders establishing retirement prior to actual date of retirement as stipulated in DD 214 or DD 215.

Approved resignation memorandum or transition orders establishing a separation date prior to actual date of separation as stipulated on DD 214 or DD 215.

Signed documentation or affidavit from knowledgeable officials from the individual’s chain of command acknowledging separation/deployment, etc.

Revocation of retirement or separation orders.

And, here is the service specific contact information:


Army

877-736-5554

Web Site

E-mail

Marine Corps

877-242-2830

Web Site

E-mail

Navy

901-874-4427

Web Site

E-mail

Air Force

800-525-0102

Web Site

E-mail (active)

E-mail (guard/reserve)

This is all about six degrees of separation… you may not know a veteran who was stop lossed.  But your best friend might.  Or his friend may know someone who knows someone. How will they learn unless you spread the word?

There are a few ways to do this.  Share this diary, or the other two great diaries that have already been written. Post it on Facebook and share it by Twitter.

Visit the Army’s Facebook page for Stop Loss and “Like It.” Then share it with your friends and ask them to do the same thing.

Share President Obama’s video and send the links to the Department of Defense and all branches of service.

Write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper, especially if you live in an area with a large number of military retirees and veterans.

Do any one of these things and one more veteran may end up with a few thousand dollars in his or her pocket. Consider it a stop-loss economic stimulus package. That’s no small change in this economy.

And, in advance of your help, thank you for your service.

1 comment

  1. angelajean

    Thanks for the warm welcome to the site, TheMomCat!

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