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About 45,000 veterans are still owed thousands of dollars in retroactive stop-loss pay, and Pentagon officials say Oct. 21 will be the final deadline to apply.
The program gives veterans $500 for every month that they were held beyond their initial separation or retirement dates under the stop-loss policy between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009.
The back pay was approved in 2009 and the deadline was extended several times by lawmakers on Capitol Hill in an effort to allow more eligible veterans to apply. But Congress has declined to extend it again and it will expire in three weeks, official say.
The Defense Department initially estimated that 145,000 former service members were eligible, but only about 100,000 have claimed the benefit, which averaged payments of about $3,600.
Additional information, including application procedures, is http://www.defense.gov/stoploss">online.