Oct 2, 2010 11:07 PM by Ashley Korslien (KRTV Great Falls)
GREAT FALLS - Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester recently introduced legislation that would extend the deadline for military service members to claim pay raises they've earned after having their service involuntarily extended under military orders known as "stop loss".
Baucus and Tester helped secure an additional $500 per month for U.S. troops affected by stop loss last year, but fewer than half of eligible service members have submitted claims for the additional pay.
Under a law Tester and Baucus helped pass last year, service members whose service was extended under stop-loss orders between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009 are eligible for $500 per month spent in stop loss status.
The deadline to file a claim is currently October 21st.
Senator Baucus also sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs urging them to initiate a 'comprehensive and aggressive outreach campaign' to make sure every troop eligible for the bonus pay is notified about the special payment.
Stop loss is a practice where the military has the authority to involuntarily extend the service of troops deployed in conflict zones. As deployment schedules have stabilized for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense has announced plans to minimize its use of stop loss.
The Senators are also supporting a short-term extension until December 3, 2010 to ensure time does not run out for troops to collect the money they've earned. Click here to learn more about the legislation.