National Guard Bonus Repayment Assistance
Many of you have read news stories regarding Army National Guard enlistment bonuses and other monetary incentives that soldiers have been ordered to repay.
There is a federal investigation into the repayment issues as well as active federal consideration of possible remedies; both of these developments are positive. The Department of Defense has suspended repayments while the investigation is ongoing. It is my understanding that the ultimate authority to waive these repayments lies at the federal level; however, the California Military Department has created the Soldier Incentives Assistance Center (SIAC) to help address this issue and support affected soldiers.
Currently, 4,800 soldiers have yet to settle their incentive cases. Many of them served honorably and then got out of the Guard or have not yet contacted the SAIC for other reasons. Former Guard soldiers are especially hard to find and get word to.
If you or someone you know received an incentive repayment notice from the Guard, it is urgent that you or the soldier contact SIAC. Affected soldiers should contact the SIAC even if they already repaid, received an Exception to Policy, or otherwise concluded the repayment matter. It has been strongly suggested by the Assembly, and others, that any potential solutions and remedies should include those soldiers who have already diligently paid back bonuses.
Even if you have doubts about your eligibility, I urge you to call the SIAC at (855) 751-4087 or visit the SIAC website as soon as possible.
The SIAC offers legal and administrative help to affected soldiers and, to date, has assisted 1,200 soldiers submit requests for Exceptions to Policy (ETP) to the National Guard Bureau that would allow their debt to be forgiven. The SIAC will almost certainly be the point of contact for any solution that Congress or the Department of Defense may establish.