Stop-lossed vets now eligible for retroactive pay

The Department of Defense released instructions this week for veterans who were locked into service after their active-duty enlistment contracts ended to recover $500 each month they were “stop-lossed.”

The retroactive payments are available to veterans who were stop-lossed after Sept. 11, 2001, to September 2009.

They have until October 2010 to file their claims.

There are nuances for veterans from different services, but at a minimum, veterans will need to present documentation of their discharges — Form DD 214 — or, for career service members and officers, memorandums showing their approved discharges or retirements were suspended. Enlisted troops also will need to present their enlistment contracts.

Further details can be found online. Air Force veterans who qualify can file their claims at the Air Force Personnel Center Web site,, and follow a link on the right-hand side of the screen labeled “Retroactive Stop Loss.”

The directions instruct veterans to mail the relevant documents to Randolph Air Force Base in Texas.

The Pentagon estimates that about 185,000 veterans, including 39,000 Air Force veterans, are eligible for the payments.

“Getting the word out is our No. 1 challenge,” said Sam Retherford, the Pentagon’s personnel management director, according to a news release Wednesday.

“Many (veterans) have no obligation to the military anymore and are scattered around the globe right now.”

In summer 2008, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., offered a bill titled the “Stop Loss Compensation Act of 2008.”

The initial version of Lautenberg’s proposal would have compensated the veterans with $1,500 a month.

In the end, Lautenberg was able to attach $534 million to a supplemental appropriations bill last year to fund the program.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said the Pentagon plans on discontinuing the stop loss program by 2011.

To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.