Let’s get the word out! Tens of thousands veterans whose service in Iraq or Afghanistan was involuntarily extended or retirement was suspended due to ‘stop loss’ are not applying for retroactive pay to which they are entitled, and the deadline is October 21! 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.
If you were affected by stop-loss during your time serving our Nation in the Military or if you know someone that may have, please get them to www.defense.gov/stoploss for more information, or to submit a claim. Over the past several months, the Department of Defense has been reaching out to service members, veterans and beneficiaries through direct mail, veteran service organizations, and the media. The deadline is fast approaching and no one should be missed. President Obama, the Defense Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Congress know you have earned this pay but the initiative to claim what amounts to an average of $3,700 starts with you.
As a team committed to improving the lives of veterans, military families, the wounded, and families of the fallen, we are intensifying our efforts to remind all who meet eligibility requirements to submit a claim for the benefit available to them. Today, President Obama’s video address will be distributed across America to leave no stone unturned and no service member or their family unaware.
This back pay is just one way this administration is keeping its promise to our service members, veterans and their families:
- President Obama has provided one of the largest funding increases in decades to help create a 21st century VA that provides our veterans better health care, better services, and better support, including in rural communities.
- We’ve eliminated inpatient, outpatient and prescription co-pays for the catastrophically disabled, which today account for historically large percentage of our veterans coming home from war.
- We’re breaking the back of benefit claims backlog so vets don’t have to wait years for the benefits they need, and are continuing to work to improve and modernize VA’s delivery of services.
- We’re helping our veterans transition back to civilian life by helping them get jobs and sending our veterans to college through the post-9/11 GI Bill, which has already helped more than 300,000 veterans or a member of their family pursue their dream of a college education.
- And, we’re providing unprecedented resources to treat the wounds of today’s wars -- traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder – and to provide additional resources to help family members and caregivers who put their own lives on hold to care for their loved one.
- Finally, the Administration is making it easier for those suffering from PTSD to qualify for VA benefits. A veteran can now establish a claim based on his or her own testimony of events that caused PTSD without the requirement of corroborating evidence -- no matter what war you served in.
As you read this blog or watch the President’s video, realize that you are part of the solution, you can help ensure our All Volunteer Force understands they are a national treasure, you can tell a veteran thank you for their service, and now you may even help them find an unexpected treasure of retroactive stop-loss special pay.
Michael Harasimowicz, Director for Personnel and Readiness, National Security Staff