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Referral Bonus Pilot Program

What is it?
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2006 (implemented in January 2006) approved a referral bonus pilot program which permitted a bonus payment of $1,000 to eligible Soldiers who refer a non-prior service (NPS) applicant. The NDAA of 2007 (implemented in November 2006) increased the amount to $2,000.

The applicant must enlist either in the Active Component (AC) or one of the Reserve Components (RC). The person making the referral will receive $1,000 upon commencement of basic training by the person referred and then paid additional $1,000 when the person referred completes advanced individual training. The NDAA of 2008 further expanded the program to permit recruitment of health professional officers.

What has the Army done?
The program is open to Soldiers in the both the Active and Reserve Components as well as Active Guard or Reserve Soldiers on active duty. Army retirees (Active and Reserve Components) and Soldiers performing duty in the Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program, Special Recruiter Assistance Program, active duty special work, members of the Future Soldiers Training Program, and Army Civilians are also eligible.

The referrals may be made to any component of the Army (Active or Reserve) and do not have to be in the same component as the Soldier doing the referring. Active Component and US Army Reserve (USAR) referrals are made to Headquarters, United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC). Referrals to the Army National Guard will be made to the Headquarters, Army National Guard.

What continued efforts does Army have planned for the future?

Some restrictions apply. For example, one cannot refer the following: spouse, parent (including step-parent), child (natural, adopted, or step-child), or siblings. Also, referrals must occur before the perspective enlistee first meets with a recruiter.

Participation is prohibited for administrators and instructors of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program and any member of the active U.S. Army Reserve, or USAR, or Army National Guard personnel serving in a recruiting or retention assignment; receiving special duty assignment pay (at any level) for recruiting or retention duties; or assigned to duties for which eligibility for a bonus could be perceived as creating a conflict of interest, as determined by the Secretary of the Army.

For AC and USAR, the referring Soldier must either submit the referral through a process via the Sergeant Major of the Army Recruiting Team link at: or by phone at 1-800-223-3735 extension 6-0473. To receive a bonus, the sponsor (person making the referral) must provide the name, address, social security number, and contact phone number of the applicant. The person who is making the referral will be required to submit their social security number to facilitate payment by the Defense Finance and Accounting System.

The Army referral bonus program will be reviewed during the pilot period to determine its effectiveness. Eligible personnel may receive a bonus under this program through December 31, 2009.

Why is this important to the Army?
As of September 15, 2008, this program has generated 118,002 referrals, resulting in 25,317 enlistments across the Active and Reserve Components of the Army.

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