The US National Guard owes more than 13,000 people pensions
The US National Guard stands guard near the congressional building in Washington, DC in January 2021. Photo: USNG

More than 13,000 US National Guard members are owed benefits, including nearly 4,000 who have left the force without receiving this money.

In a letter to the commander of the US National Guard, General Daniel Hokanson on April 30, congressmen Ruben Gallego, Mike Waltz and Trent Kelly questioned why this force made errors in paying allowances to more than 13,000 people. soldiers. The letter was sent after American media reported on this issue.

Nearly 4,000 of the more than 13,000 soldiers mentioned above completed their contracts to serve in the National Guard, usually lasting 4-6 years, then left the force without receiving the allowances as initially promised. This can be up to 20,000 USD per person.

To receive the missing money, former members of the US National Guard must go through a process that is considered “bureaucratic and time-consuming”, including obtaining military documents that are difficult for them to obtain. Yes, according to Military, a news site for US soldiers and veterans.

“People should not have to go through a months-long payment request process just to receive an allowance,” the group of senators wrote in a letter to General Hokanson. “It is disappointing that the National Guard believes it can delay payments to members.”

The group of US lawmakers questioned whether the US National Guard has a grievance process for former members who are denied allowance payments.

“In addition to seriously affecting recruitment and retention of members, the issue also shows the force’s lack of respect for them,” the parliamentary group wrote in the letter.

US National Guard soldiers participate in training in Louisiana in May 2018. Photo: USNG

US National Guard soldiers participate in training in Louisiana in May 2018. Photo: USNG

US National Guard members usually receive allowances in two installments, once after completing initial training and after halfway through the contract term.

The US National Guard usually pays allowances within 30 days after the above-mentioned times but has not codified this into policy. On average, it takes US National Guard soldiers up to half a year to receive the above allowance if the payment process goes smoothly.

The problem of delay in payment of allowances in the US National Guard has been going on for many years due to many factors. Some US National Guard officers say some states use weak staff to handle benefits. Many employees track allowance payments using pieces of paper or erasable boards, leading to errors.

The situation was especially serious during two outages of the US Army National Guard’s Pay Management System (GIMS) that lasted up to 10 months. One occurred in 2018 when a Pentagon server caught fire and the other in 2021 due to another incident.