California soldiers ordered to repay enlistment bonuses

messed up
From SF Gate: Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, a newspaper reported Saturday.
The Pentagon demanded the money back after audits revealed overpayments by the California Guard under pressure to fill ranks and hit enlistment goals. If soldiers refuse, they could face interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens, the Los Angeles Times said.
Faced with a shortage of troops at the height of the two wars, California Guard officials offered bonuses of $15,000 or more for soldiers to reenlist.
A federal investigation in 2010 found thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were improperly doled out to California Guard soldiers. About 9,700 current and retired soldiers received notices to repay some or all of their bonuses with more than $22 million recovered so far.
Soldiers said they feel betrayed at having to repay the money. “These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart. “People like me just got screwed.”
Van Meter said he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the military says was improperly given to him.
The California Guard said it has to follow the law and collect the money.
“At the end of the day, the soldiers ended up paying the largest price,” Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy commander of the California Guard told the Times. “We’d be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts. We just can’t do it. We’d be breaking the law.”
The Pentagon agency that oversees state Guard groups has said that bonus overpayments occurred in every state, but more so in California, which has 17,000 soldiers.
California Guard officials said they are helping soldiers and veterans file appeals with agencies that can erase the debts. But soldiers said it’s a long process, and there’s no guarantee they’ll win.
Retired Army major and Iraq veteran Robert D’Andrea said he was told to repay his $20,000 because auditors could not find a copy of the contract he says he signed. D’Andrea appealed and is running out of options. “Everything takes months of work, and there is no way to get your day in court,” he said. “Some benefit of the doubt has to be given to the soldier.”
tired soldier
DCG

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weezy
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weezy

The gov’t can break laws but we can’t. The gov’t makes mistakes and we have to pay for them. A bunch of crap! These people who enlisted earned every penny they got. While in the military their pay is chicken scratch.

True George
Guest

This is messed up just because of a few corrupted officers lots of National Guardsmen have to repay their bonuses. This is a reason why I never take any money from gov’t if I know I don’t qualify. Many pf those who took the money knew they didn’t qualify to get it……

vistabee1
Guest

What a crock of you-know-what!! Let’s hope and pray this gets turned around for those affected. Something else for a President Trump to address. 😡

MomOfIV
Guest
MomOfIV

how dare they get those poor people to re-enlist with “bonuses” and then orders them to pay back overpayments! what a scam! that money should come out of the government’s super-deep and inept pockets.
you don’t pay back bonuses.
since the military wants money returned with possible interest then they should call it what it is: a loan. The military will give you a loan for risking your time and life.
I wonder how many widows received those notices?

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

I am outraged by this travesty. The fact that our government pays up the kazoo for illegal children, and families to stay here in this country; many times in better circumstances than what native born people live in . . . and then they demand repayment of monies that THEY ISSUED as an enticement to stay in the military! All this after our military personnel have been put in harm’s way to serve this nation. Some friggin’ heads should roll, for coming up with this scam. Every American should be outraged by this kind of treatment of our vets at… Read more »

stevor
Guest

it looks like time for a class-action FRAUD lawsuit!

bookooball
Guest

“We just can’t, we’d be breaking the law”
Does this asshat even realize what a tool he sounds like?

Mr Graves
Guest
Mr Graves

So bailing out mega-rich liberal corporations that fund tyrants and run our country into the ground is okay, but giving a bonus to the people that defend said tyrants now means our defenders should be punished, and not the bureaucrats actually responsible? When I was young, I wanted to serve my country. When I actually came of age, trash politicians like the ones responsible for this were the only things left to fight for. I’d never lay my life on the line for someone that would screw over a person that risks death for so-called “freedom.” The only thing left… Read more »

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Dr. Eowyn
Admin

Ditto to all the outraged sentiments expressed by commenters above me.
Question: What’s the “government agency” that made the mistake in overpaying the bonuses, and why aren’t the people who made the mistakes held accountable?

jones4842
Guest

If this is the way its gonna be , then by GOD demand that the Hag Hillary State Department pay back the $6,000,000,000 [ Billion ] she “LOST” without a trace !!!!!!

Glenn47
Guest
Glenn47

A deal is a deal and they offered no proof these were over payments. Is this more of the money they are taking from the military and giving to all the refugees?
I highly doubt over payment was involved, this is a very closely watched program. They have even reneged on promising bonuses, then withholding them.
I think this is another attack and a thumb in the eye to our military.
Until they reimburse Social Security the trillions,they have taken from it and the six billion Clinton “lost” leave our soldiers alone.

youknowwho.
Guest
youknowwho.

Shouldn’t have been paid in the first place. They ougth to make enough out of the starting gate. Also, it speaks to ho screwed up the military is. They’ve dumbd it down, put sisies in charge, jammed ridiculous rules down the soldiers throats, queered the whole thing up, put women and men together in combat, ignored studies that said it wouldn’t work and endangered the live of both genders by doing so.
The way to prevent fraud in government programs? Don’t have government programs.

c chan
Guest
c chan

i believe this is treacherous…the govt made the mistake not the guard members…take it from the ones who made the errors..

Glenn47
Guest
Glenn47

The thing is, the government offered a reenlistment bonus and and many reupped. They signed the deal and went back to war, many went back several times.
It would seem the only one breaking the law is the government. The soldiers fulfilled their part of the deal. And to come back so many years later.
Seems to me, this is another attack on President Bush and his admin.
BO is breaking the contract, not the soldiers.
I would fight this and tie it up for years and pray that Trump is elected, because,he wouldn’t let this happen.

JS
Guest
JS

If America as a society is going to allow a presidential candidate to get away with unspeakable crimes against the people she is pledged to serve (which Hillary Clinton has inverted to mean people serve her), it will become pick-and-choose as to what laws are enforced on which people. The rule of law will disappear as TPTB will continue to prosecute their enemies and to persecute their defenders. The treatment of veterans compared to illegal aliens is sickening and laughable; veterans are being forced to pay thousands of dollars so that people who are not even American citizens can receive… Read more »

Dr. Eowyn
Admin

Good news! Because of political fallout from news of its outrageous demand that soldiers repay their reenlistment bonuses, the Pentagon has backed off. This action follows a letter from Congressman Vern Buchanan saying it was “obscene” to force thousands of veterans to repay enlistment bonuses issued a decade ago when the Pentagon needed troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Buchanan said it was no fault of the soldiers if the government later realized it made a mistake in calculating eligibility for bonuses and other incentives. “Forcing innocent soldiers and veterans to repay these funds 10 years after they… Read more »