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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Troops have 10 more days to get stop loss benefits

By Ed O'Keefe



Eye Opener

Veterans and service members who had tours of duty extended between Sept. 2001 and Sept. 2009 have 10 more days to apply for one-time hardship pay.

Veterans and their beneficiaries may apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay until March 18, the Pentagon announced last week. Congress extended the program as part of the two-week continuing resolution.

Eligible service members may submit a claim to their military service and receive $500 for each full or partial month served in Stop Loss status, or the involuntary extension of a tour of duty.

Pentagon officials estimate about 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries are eligible to receive the payments, but only about 78,000 have done so thus far.

Interested, eligible individuals should visit http://www.defense.gov/stoploss for more information.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Week Ahead: Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry is expected to outline changes to the government's student pathways program on Monday. Experts are expected to learn more on Tuesday about the Obama administration's plans to reorganize the government from gather at the National Academy of Public Administration to hear from Lisa Brown, co-chair of the White House's reorganization team. On Wednesday, conservative policy analysts, Berry and National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley are set to testify before a House panel on the federal pay and benefits system.

Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama is willing to cut the budget further. On Saturday he had his 60th golf outing as president. Democrats giving up on Don Berwick as head of Center for Medicare Services.

CIA:
Covert pairings: Stories from a clandestine couple: Robert Baer, whose CIA exploits and exasperations in the Middle East were immortalized in the 2005 George Clooney thriller "Syriana", has a new role: conjugal co-author.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
U.S. commandos capture 4 suspected pirates in raid: They've captured four suspected pirates who boarded a Japanese-owned oil tanker off the coast of Oman.

In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing: Military jailers are forcing him to strip naked in his cell at night and sleep without clothing, a requirement his attorney says was imposed after Manning made a "sarcastic quip" about his confinement.

Amputations and genital injuries increase sharply among soldiers in Afghanistan: Twice as many U.S. soldiers wounded in battle last year required limb amputations than in either of the two previous years.

EADS will not protest Air Force tanker contract: Company officials said the interests of their shareholders and of taxpayers would not be served by a protest.

GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE:
GAO may be getting another union: Accountants, librarians, information technology specialists and other professional support staffers at the Government Accountability Office took the first step Friday toward forming a union.

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT:
Interior appeals oil drilling ruling: The appeal is the latest salvo in the ongoing fight over the speed with which Interior is - or isn't - letting oil drillers get back to work after last year's BP oil spill.

NASA:
NASA scientist claims evidence of alien life on a meteorite: The findings reveal fossil evidence of bacterial life within meteorites, the remains of living organisms from their parent bodies -- comets, moons and other astral bodies.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION:
Report portrays SSA contract security guards as Keystone Kops: Private security guards spent their shifts watching television, engaged in hourlong phone conversations and chatting with their co-workers when they should have been on patrol, according to a report released in early March by the agency's inspector general.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
U.S. contractor awaits verdict after two-day trial in Cuba: A statement by the Cuban government Saturday night said that during the trial, Alan Gross accepted some responsibility, adding that he had been "used" and blamed the company that sent him to the island.

VETERANS AFFAIRS:
Daughter: WWI vet should lie in Capitol Rotunda: Leaders in Washington have been divided over how to best honor Buckles and the 4.7 million other Americans who served during World War I.

For first time in decades, Arlington National Cemetery must bury multiple 'unknowns': Criminal investigators looking into how eight sets of cremated remains ended up crowding a single grave have concluded that three of them are unidentifiable - not because of the brutality of combat, but because of actions at the cemetery.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 7, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Military  
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