DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Hundreds of Iowa National Guard soldiers have been told they were overpaid after a year-long deployment to the Middle East and that they must make plans to repay the money.
The 248th Aviation Support Battalion held a homecoming ceremony on Nov. 2 to celebrate returning from Kuwait and Iraq. The next day, about 366 of the battalion’s 400 soldiers were informed of the money issue, The Quad-City Times reported .
The overpayments range from $2 to $4,500, according to Lt. Col. Michael Wunn, a spokesman for the Iowa National Guard. The amounts vary based on a soldier’s rank, years of service, entitlements and the duration of the payment error.
The problem seems to have originated from an issue at the demobilization station at Fort Hood in Texas, Wunn said. Some battalion members continued receiving active-duty pay or entitlements after their active duty ended, he said.
Officials are giving soldiers multiple options to repay the funds, and many have already taken steps to do so, Wunn said.
Soldiers can write a check to repay their debts, have the Army keep all of their monthly checks until they’re paid off, or have monthly or weekly payments deducted from their pay.
“We understand this creates a hardship for those affected,” Wunn said, noting that soldiers don’t have to repay the full amount by the end of the year.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack said it’s unacceptable that a payroll error could cause soldiers financial hardship.
“The Army must work with each individual soldier to ensure that they do not face any financial harm or difficulty,” he said. “I encourage any service member in Iowa who was affected by this failure at the Department of Defense to reach out to my office if you are in need of assistance.”
Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com