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NATIONAL GUARD WAIVES ALMOST ALL BONUS DEBTS


National Guard Waives Almost All Bonus Debts


August 11, 2017


MOAA previously reported thousands of National Guard soldiers were being pursued by debt collectors for bonuses they were paid. Some soldiers suffered serious financial distress from the collection activities. The National Guard claimed the bonuses had been paid in error or the soldiers had not fulfilled their obligations to entitle them to the bonuses. This was dubbed the bonus “clawback.”


The House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing in December 2016 and in January 2017 then-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter publicly announced all the debts would be reviewed for validity by July 2017.


Earlier this week, DoD released an update on its progress. As of July 31, a vast majority of the debts - 17,092 of the 17,485 bonuses reviewed - had been dismissed or waived by the DoD unilaterally. The others did not have enough evidence to support a waiver or dismissal and proceeded through the appeals process. Of those 393 cases, two ultimately were waived or dismissed, 191 are still in the appeals process, and another 200 soldiers have been notified of their right to appear before an appeals board but have failed to respond.


“MOAA is happy to hear DoD has completed their initial review by the July 2017 deadline it proposed. We are certain this has made a difference in the lives of the over 17,000 soldiers whose lives were affected,” says Lt. Col. Aniela Szymanski, USMCR, MOAA's director of Government Relations for Reserve and National Guard affairs. As the remaining soldiers further appeal the determinations made in their cases, MOAA will continue to seek updates from DoD to ensure no soldier is pursued for an unjust debt.


If you have a concern regarding a National Guard matter, email MOAA at legis@moaa.org.

California Council of MOAA
California Council of MOAA