The National Guard is facing delays in paying enlistment bonuses to nearly 13,000 troops, including 4,000 who have already left the service without receiving their promised bonuses.
Around 9,000 service members who were promised bonuses have yet to receive them, and an additional 3,900 who completed their service have also not been paid.
The delays are attributed to various factors, including eligibility issues and a flawed system for processing payments.
The federal government owes thousands of National Guard soldiers enlistment bonuses, with some of the payments now being years late. #AmericaFirst
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“If a soldier is flagged for an adverse action — being overweight, discipline action, etc. — the bonus is put on hold until he/she meets all qualifying standards (that were all part of the bonus contract.) and sometimes they simply don’t do that,” an official stated.
“While there is no explicit policy that requires soldiers are paid their bonus within 30 days of eligibility, it is the ARNG G1’s targeted goal to achieve this. Right now, the current timeline for processing is around six months,” the official said.
He added that “nearly 94% of our soldiers eligible to receive an enlistment bonus have received it.”
“We are working very hard to reconcile the remaining 6% because we hold ourselves to higher standards and believe one overdue payment to an otherwise eligible soldier is one too many.”
Thousands of National Guard troops have not received promised enlistment bonuses https://t.co/AlEou9xJkF
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“Soldiers who are still in their unit who are fully qualified and have not received their bonus can alert their first-line leader and personnel service section to the issue so they can take action to get it resolved.”
“GIMS functionality has significantly improved over the last two years, evident by the number of transactions processed year over year,” the official stated.
The National Guard acknowledged the problem and is claimed they are working to resolve it, but frustrations among affected service members persist.
“I was really relying on this money to help with moving into a new place with my wife,” one soldier expressed. “I did my end of things, and this is a really bad introduction to the Army, not taking care of people.”
“There is frankly a lot of misinformation on the [unit] level. It isn’t their fault, and it’s something I’m trying to fix,” an adjutant general said. “The soldiers are frustrated. Of course … why would they stick around? Sometimes people have been lazy too. The soldier shouldn’t be coming to us … for their money. We should just pay our bills on time.”
“The ARNG G1 incentives oversight team conducts monthly calls with all 54 state incentive managers and conduct state assistance visits, which help states with best practices as well as provide targeted action to help reduce their backlog,” an official pressed.