years of trying to collect reenlistment bonuses from California
National Guard members and mounting pressure from the VFW, Congress and
other VSOs, the Department of Defense (DOD) suspended its collection
efforts in October of 2016. VFW National Commander Brian Duffy said at
the time that he "welcomes the defense secretary’s decision to suspend the collections efforts, but that the decision doesn't
go deep enough. A comprehensive program
needs to be immediately created to help make these Guard members whole
again. They signed and fulfilled a contract, and whether they were
authorized to receive a bonus is the fault of a
system, not of any recipient. Aside from stopping collection, the
government should also restore those monies already collected.” Earlier
this week, DOD Secretary Ash Carter ordered the repayment of those
bonuses that had been collected. DOD is also tasked with exploring ways
to assist those veterans who may have gone into debt or lost their homes
because of the recoupment of their bonuses.
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