Bonuses paid between 2004 and 2010
Last year, we blogged about California trying to force National Guard members to repay enlistment bonuses that had been paid to them in error. The Pentagon quickly reacted to the pushback and stopped collection of these erroneously distributed bonuses, pending further review.
The review is complete, and the Pentagon has announced that it will not require the repayment of enlistment bonuses.
More than 17,000 California National Guard soldiers won’t have to payback more than $190 million in enlistment bonuses and other payments that had been handed out in error between 2004 and 2010, the Pentagon said.
The decision comes several years after an audit revealed the Guard was overpaying bonuses as it faced pressure to hit enlistment goals during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
California lawmakers in Congress successfully pushed for the Pentagon to waive any repayments unless it could provide evidence a solider knew or should’ve known they weren’t eligible for the money.
“I am pleased that an overwhelming majority of the service members affected by the California National Guard’s bonus clawback will be able to get their bonuses back,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement. “These enlistment bonuses and other benefits were accepted in good faith and were given in exchange for serving the nation.”
A report by the Pentagon found that a vast majority of the 17,485 soldiers that got bonuses or loan aid won’t have to repay it or will be refunded if they already did. The report, given to the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees on July 31, was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
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