After years of trying to collect reenlistment bonuses from California National Guard members and mounting pressure from the VFW, Congress and other VSOs, the Department of Defense (DOD) suspended its collection efforts in October of 2016. VFW National Commander Brian Duffy said at the time that he “welcomes the defense secretary’s decision to suspend the collections efforts, but that the decision doesn’t go deep enough. A comprehensive program needs to be immediately created to help make these Guard members whole again. They signed and fulfilled a contract, and whether they were authorized to receive a bonus is the fault of a system, not of any recipient. Aside from stopping collection, the government should also restore those monies already collected.” Earlier this week, DOD Secretary Ash Carter ordered the repayment of those bonuses that had been collected. DOD is also tasked with exploring ways to assist those veterans who may have gone into debt or lost their homes because of the recoupment of their bonuses.
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