How to Claim Stop Loss Pay for Military Personnel

by Kevin on August 16, 2010

Do you or someone you know serve in the United States military between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009?

If so, heads up. The government is paying out millions of dollars in stop loss pay to certain military personnel. There is a deadline to apply fast approaching, so pay attention!

What is Stop Loss?

Between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009 the military was given the ability to delay personnel from retiring or leaving the military. This was a combination of the United States being involved in two wars overseas and lower than expected levels of recruits coming into the military.

The military was stretched thin and if these soldiers, airmen, and sailors had been allowed to leave the service there would not have been enough new recruits available to fill the gaps. Thus calling the tactic “stop loss” to stop the loss of military personnel from military service.

If you were scheduled to retire on January 1, 2007 the military was allowed to prevent that from happening and keep you in the service. You were “stop lossed”. If you were then allowed to leave the service in June 2007 then you would have 6 months of being stop lossed. (From what I’ve read the average length of being stop lossed was about 6 months.)

What is Stop Loss Pay?

Stop loss pay is compensation being paid to those members of the military service who were not allowed to leave the service on time. This pay is on top of all other pay provided to the soldiers. It is specific compensation for not being able to leave the service.

The government is paying $500 for every month that a soldier was stop lossed.

If the average stop loss length of time is 6 months that’s $3,000 due to every single one of those soldiers (on average). That’s a significant amount of money in my eyes. Enough money to propel your savings goals forward. Enough money to fund 60% of an IRA this year.

How to Claim Stop Loss Pay

Each branch of the military has set up their own website or e-mail address to work with personnel to claim their stop loss pay. The links are available at the Department of Defense website.

I was able to get the Air Force and Army websites to pull up. The Marine Corps site didn’t work for me, and the Navy only has an e-mail address available. (The Marine Corps also has an e-mail address for personnel to contact.)

I’m sure each branch will have slightly different forms that are required to be filled out to claim your stop loss pay. Essentially you must prove that you were in the military, you had a scheduled time to not be in the military, and you were not allowed to leave the military until a later time because of the stop loss policy.

Act Quickly to Claim Stop Loss Pay

If you or someone you know were in the military during this time and are due stop loss pay you must act by October 21, 2010. That is the deadline for personnel to get their stop loss pay claims into their respective branch in the government.

On a sad side note: the family members of those personnel that were killed in action while being stop lossed may also submit a claim for them.

A recent article in the Army Times noted that there are about 145,000 eligible service members that could claim stop loss pay. Of that number, only about 25,000 (17%) have applied!

Please get the word out to your family, friends, and co-workers. These soldier, sailors, and airmen served our country. The least we can do is insure that they get 100% of the payment that is due to them.

In my next article we’ll look at some ideas of where to apply that stop loss pay to make your financial situation better. Stay tuned via RSS or e-mail updates.

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