Only 'a few hundred' Calif. National Guardsmen will be required to repay bonuses
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon will require only “a few hundred” California National Guardsmen to repay bonuses that they wrongly received as part of an incentive program at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a top Defense Department official said Tuesday.
Peter Levine, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said the vast majority of some 17,500 California soldiers who were facing recoupment of enlistment and student loan bonuses paid out before 2011 will be allowed to keep the money or be reimbursed if it was already collected from them.
“If the servicemembers fulfilled their service commitment and there’s no obvious reason to believe that they knew or should have known that it was an erroneous payment, then we don’t need further review to get rid of that case,” said Levine, who in October was tapped by Defense Secretary Ash Carter to conduct a review of the issue.
The soldiers will be notified within the next month by the Pentagon that their cases have been dismissed, he said. As part of the program, the Defense Department will notify credit bureaus of their errors and attempt to help any servicemembers whose credit was adversely impacted.
The remaining cases will be reviewed by the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records to determine whether bonus money should be recouped. Levine said he expected “less than 1,000” such cases.
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