National Guard $5,000 Payouts!

Wednesday - 5/12/2010, 4:00am EDT

The Army is looking for thousands of current and former National Guard soldiers who are due special payments averaging around $5,000 each. And you may be one of them, or know or work with someone who is due the money.

Many of the people due the payments for serving long overseas deployments are current or former civilian feds. In many parts of the country, federal and postal workers make up a large percentage of Guard combat (infantry, armor, artillery and engineer) units.

During my National Guard days, two of the units I served with were made up of young (and some cases not so young) federal and postal workers. They ranged from Capitol Hill staffers to letter carriers.

Many National Guard units have been deployed, overseas in combat areas, two and three times. Under normal procedures the units were supposed to be stateside for 5 years between deployments. But at least 14,000 Guard personnel had actual tours of duty which exceeded those so-called "established dwell ratios."

The National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law last year, included a laundry list of new benefits for federal and postal workers. In one of them, overlooked by the general media, Congress authorized payments at a rate of up to $200 per day (PDMRA) for eligible current and former Guard personnel. PDMRA stands for Post Deployment Mobilization Respite Absence.

The trick now is finding those men and women.

Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill, and Sgt 1st Class Jon Soucy explained it like this:

    "Typically, a Guard soldier who serves longer than 12 months during the most recent 72 months gets one PDMRA day for each additional month or fraction of a month... The number of PDMRA days awarded increases after 18 months, and again after 24 months served."

On average, those who are eligible receive credit for about 28 days, which translates into more than $5,000, according to Col. Dennis Chapman.

If this seems complicated, that's because it is complicated.

Chapman said "a soldier cannot figure this out themselves...all they can figure out is that they MIGHT be due (the payments)." If you think this means you or a friend, neighbor or coworker, tell them to check with the military pay officer in their state before the Oct. 28 deadline.

When the Guard asked for help to reach out to the PDMRA's I was more than glad to help. Army (and Air Force) Guard units do good work, all the time, both at home and in combat zones. And while many of them are hometown heroes, their role is not very well known outside the military community or in large cities. And that's too bad.

As to the Guard offer to return to duty, at my old rank, I must decline. First, I've got this bad back. Secondly I checked out the pay rate for a Spec 4 and, well...

So while I can't put my bod on the line this time around, please feel free to use me, in an advisory capacity, anytime.

Dependent Health Care

In January FEHBP plans will be required to provide coverage (under a family plan) for dependents up to age 26. Currently the cutoff is 22. But what about dependents who turned 22 this year? Will they have to wait until 2011 for FEHPB coverage. Congress is working on legislation that would advance the coverage date to this year. So what would it do and what are its chances. Listen to our Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show today at 10 a.m.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

Unlike any of the approximately 3,000 other jellyfish species known to science, the jellyfish "medeopolis" have gonads on the outsides of their bodies, reports NationalGeographic. Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a zoologist who discovered the city-of-gonads jellyfish eight years ago, says she has "no idea" why they're built so very differently than all the others.

And as for yesterday's NUF about the "shortest river in the world," Chuck from USBR explained patiently to us that the D River in Lincoln City, Oregon was listed by Guinness as the shortest at 440 feet until 1989 when the title went to the Roe. Then the D was re-measured at high tide to be 120 feet long. Then, says Wikipedia, "Starting in 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records did not list a category for shortest river." So we're on our own.