Nearly 13,000 personnel, including nearly 4,000 who have already left the service without receiving the bonuses they were promised at recruitment, are still waiting to be paid their enlistment bonuses by the National Guard.
Every year, thousands of Americans join the National Guard after hearing that they can receive bonuses of up to $20,000, as Fox News reported.
However, the National Guard is delayed in paying bonuses to around 6% of those service members promised the incentive, a National Guard official acknowledged to Fox News Digital.
The source stated that some 9,000 service members who were slated to sign-up incentives have yet to receive the money.
The Results of The Delinquency
Due to the pervasive nature of the issue, 3,900 veterans who have left the military without receiving their bonus have also not been compensated.
The official did say that the "majority" of those people "appear to have been ineligible due to an associated adverse action that was not lifted upon their separation."
"If a soldier is flagged for an adverse action — being overweight, discipline action, etc. — the bonus is put on hold until he/she meets all qualifying standards (that were all part of the bonus contract.) and sometimes they simply don't do that," the official said.
As reported initially by Military.com and later confirmed by Fox News Digital, the problem has aggravated many service members.
"I was really relying on this money to help with moving into a new place with my wife," one soldier told Military.com, noting he was supposed to receive half of his $20,000 enlistment bonus a year ago.
"I did my end of things, and this is a really bad introduction to the Army, not taking care of people."
What Happens Next
If it has been more than 30 days since a member finished initial entry training, but he or she has not yet received a bonus, the National Guard will consider the payment late.
However, the insider told Fox News Digital that there is no official protocol outlining when payments must be made, leaving military members with few options when payments become overdue.
"While there is no explicit policy that requires soldiers are paid their bonus within 30 days of eligibility, it is the ARNG G1's targeted goal to achieve this. Right now, the current timeline for processing is around six months," the official said.
The official stated that "nearly 94% of our soldiers eligible to receive an enlistment bonus have received it."
"We are working very hard to reconcile the remaining 6% because we hold ourselves to higher standards and believe one overdue payment to an otherwise eligible soldier is one too many," the official said.