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Posted at 12:26 PM ET, 12/ 6/2010

Troops have until Dec. 18 to apply for back pay

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 3:47 p.m. ET
Hundreds of thousands of troops are passing up thousands of dollars in retroactive stop-loss pay, but still have until Dec. 18 to recoup it, according to the Defense Department.

Congress extended the deadline last week for about 145,000 eligible troops, veterans or their surviving spouses to apply for $500 per month served on stop-loss status.

The special pay was established in Oct. 2009 to compensate troops whose tours of duty were involuntarily extended under stop-loss orders issued since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Applications continue to roll in, but only $256 million of the $534.4 million set aside for the program had been claimed by the end of November, according to the Defense Department.

The Pentagon has struggled to convince troops that they're eligible for back pay and is actively pushing for eligible people to apply for the funds. President Obama even made a personal appeal to troops in September.

Applying online is a faster, more efficient way to get funds, the Pentagon said. Eligible troops and beneficiaries may visit for more information and application forms.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 6, 2010; 12:26 PM ET
Categories:  Military  
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The nature of most servicemen and women is to serve. Unfortunately their service is often greeted by long waits for benefits, red tape for pay and denial of disability benefits upon retirement. Those who had reached a point in their career where separation or retirement was an option and were forced to remain in service have already seen how we treat our military. I don’t doubt that there is an underlying understanding that although such a benefit has been advertised, it is just another headline that they won’t qualify for. I can’t help but to wonder if you know that people qualify, why can’t you find notify them and pay them? That would be an appropriate way to show service to those in service.

Posted by: Ksuccess | December 6, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

they should just be paid...
having them apply for it makes the goverment look crooked...
shame on the goverment...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 7, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Why does this have to be claimed? Don't they have direct deposit?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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