Secretary of Defense suspends enlistment bonus repayment efforts

Secretary of Defense suspends enlistment bonus repayment efforts

"We must pass a law that removes the repayment obligation for those National Guard members who, through no fault of their own, are caught in a bureaucratic nightmare", he said.

In a statement, Carter said he had ordered the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon agency responsible for collecting the repayments, to "suspend all efforts to collect reimbursements from affected California National Guard members, effective as soon as it is practical".

"While some soldiers knew or should have known they were ineligible for benefits they were claiming, many others did not".

In Minnesota, KSTP.com is reporting that a National Guard spokesman told the news outlet that Minnesota soldiers will not have to pay back bonuses, nor has there been "widespread issues to cause concerns with the bonuses or contracts awarded to Minnesota soldiers".

"While this will help some families sleep a bit easier at night, much more needs to be done, starting with Congressional legislation to waive these debts and to provide relief to soldiers who have already repaid some or all of the bonuses they accepted in good faith". Carter said he has ordered the department to set up a streamlined process by January 1 to help troops get relief from the repayment obligation, because the current program has moved too slowly. "We promised service members a bonus and through no fault of their own they demand their money back".

"This process has dragged on too long, for too many service members", he said.

Some California soldiers say they took the money in good faith, not realizing they were in fact ineligible and now can not afford to pay back the Defense Department.

According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon has confirmed that up to 10,000 California National Guard soldiers may have been affected.

Velis said that he is also disgusted by members in the California legislature, since they knew about the collections that were happening two years prior to the story being leaked out to the press. "Secretary Carter's intervention today is a positive step forward but does not solve the underlying problem that put these Guardsmen in a precarious situation", Garamendi said in the statement.

A defense official told reporters that this more of a "California issue", adding that there are just dozens of similar cases in other states. The deadline for resolving the cases would be July 1, 2017, Carter added. "Americans are appalled by this disrespectful demand on veterans who served our country during a time of great need". Many had wages garnished and racked up penalties and other debt trying to pay back the bonuses. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, said on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" this week that he had no idea what was going on.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform launched an investigation Monday and requested all documents associated with the California cases in a letter to General Joseph Lengyel, the senior officer for the National Guard Bureau, and Maj.

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