By Staff Sgt. Maria Diaz, USMC
SNCOIC, Stop Loss Program Office
I work in the Marine Corps’ Stop Loss Program Office which has been open for business since October 2009, when the DoD program began to provide retroactive payments for servicemembers affected by stop loss.
Each day, I search through submitted claims to help former/current Marines, who are entitled to some extra money, get paid. Each Thursday, after I’ve approved claim after claim, I look at my numbers for the week with a bittersweet feeling of accomplishment — very little time left yet potentially many more who rate the payments.
My day used to consist of settling numerous amounts of claims. I remember having to settle 60 to 70 claims a day without being able to take a break! That number is starting to dwindle.
Much of my time has been spent handling claims that were submitted without source documents (primarly a DD214) — which slows down the process. I’m positive that eligible members would like to see their money sooner rather than later. I would.
Every Friday I see that the total dollar amount paid to approved claims has grown. That number started at zero and has now reached more than six million dollars. That’s a lot of money and I know that the median amount of money each claimant [Marine] receives is around 2,000 dollars. I ask myself, “How great it would be if more people took the time to submit their claims?”
There is a deadline for submissions, and in accordance with the law our office cannot accept any claims submitted after midnight on Oct. 21, 2012.
I’m sure many of you may be questioning if you even rate compensation. I’m here to tell you to submit your claim with any supporting documentation you may have. We’ll review your claim and let you know if you need to submit any additional documents. If you are eligible, that’s $500 for any portion of a month extra in your pocket. The worst we can say is that you are not eligible. You’ve got nothing to lose.