WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 6, 2010) -- The Army's Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay Office is working to review and process thousands of claims after a spike in submissions during the program's third and fourth quarters.

Program Manager Maj. Roy Whitley said most claims submitted in September, October and November will require 90 days for processing. With the holiday season fast approaching, Whitley wants to set expectations.

"Prior to the most recent influx of claims, the office was processing claims averaging 34 days," Whitley said. "Now, our goal is to processes claims within 90 days of submission."

The increase in claims is largely attributed to the direct mail plan the Army conducted during the summer and a mass mailing reminder conducted by the Defense Manpower and Data Center prior to the Oct. 21 deadline.

"Multiple tactics have been used to alert those eligible," Whitley said. "Getting the claims in was the most important thing. Now we are working through them."

The Army has pledged to keep claimants informed as they wait for their claims to be reviewed. Claimants will begin receiving e-mail updates outlining where case managers are working based on claim submission dates. These updates will allow claimants to know, in general terms, what claims are being reviewed and when to expect their resolution.

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriation Act set aside $534.4 million for the retroactive stop loss special pay compensation authority to allow eligible current and former Soldiers or their legally designated beneficiaries to file a claim through Oct. 21.

A continuing resolution signed by the president Dec. 4 has extended the application period to Dec. 18. To date, the Army has received more than 85,000 complete claims and disbursed more than $230 million.

For more information or to file a claim, visit http://www.defense.gov/stoploss or https://www.stoplosspay.army.mil.