WASHINGTON (Sept. 25, 2012) -- Soldiers, and veterans held under stop-loss authority between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2008, and their legally designated beneficiaries qualify for $500 for each month held in a stop-loss status. The last day to submit claims for the special pay is Oct. 21, 2012.

"We have completed actions to directly notify those we believe are eligible for the special pay," explained Maj. Roy Whitley, program manager. "In addition, we've worked directly with the Department of Veterans Affairs, veteran service organizations and leveraging traditional and social media to spread the word about stop-loss pay. We have claims from all 50 states and every U.S. territory. We have claims from over 12 foreign countries. The word has gotten out."

The Army conducted extensive outreach to reach the estimated 120,000 service members considered eligible. Outreach efforts included a direct mail campaign completed in March 2011.

Certified letters were sent to more than 25,000 individuals eligible for the pay. This was the second direct mailing conducted by the Army. More than 75,000 letters were sent during the Summer of 2010. Additionally, a mass mailing was sent by the Defense Manpower and Data Center prior to the program's original Oct. 21, 2010, deadline.

Notifications and reminders have also been included in service members' Leave and Earnings Statements.

In excess of 82,000 claims have been paid totaling $310 million.

The biggest challenge facing Soldiers filing claims has been understanding the difference between unit Stop Loss and individual Stop Loss. Legislation provides for payment when a Soldier is held involuntarily while on active duty beyond a contractual obligation.

Many units were alerted and mobilized under stop loss authority but not everyone in the unit was held beyond a contractual obligation. Many Soldiers have forgotten that they had signed contract extensions and are also unaware that promotions, education, and certain types of training can increase a service member's service obligation.

Additionally, Soldiers serving in a voluntary indefinite status must have taken steps to separate and the request must have been denied; substantiating such requests is often difficult. Over the past few years we have seen a number of claims that were determined to be ineligible because of voluntary actions that were taken by service members.

The majority of the 26,000 denied claims are the result of those actions.

With the deadline looming, the Army hopes all eligible for the special pay have applied. For more information or to file a claim, visit http://www.defense.gov/stoploss or https://www.stoplosspay.army.mil.