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US Troops Leave Millions in Unclaimed Back Pay

The U.S. military is having trouble giving bonus payments to troops who were involuntarily kept on duty after September 11, 2001.

The Defense Department say an estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries are entitled to the retroactive pay of $500 for each month of involuntary service beyond original discharge dates - a policy known as "stop-loss."

Those eligible to receive the payments must apply by October 21. The Defense Department says the average payout is between $3,000 to $4,000.

The Washington Post says the military is trying to reach some 90,000 veterans and active duty troops to have them apply for the money. A Pentagon official told the newspaper that many veterans ignored the letters sent to them, forgotten about filing paperwork, or believe the offer is just a gimmick.

The newspaper reports that by the end of last month, the military had approved $210 million in back pay. It says $324 million has been left unclaimed.

The application is online at