Soldiers who were paralyzed, suffered brain damage and lost limbs owe the government enlistment bonus money.
They must pay the money back because they didn’t fulfill their tour of duty.
Bob Truska, who was in the Navy, got an honorable discharge for what the Navy calls a personality disorder.
One year later, he got a bill for more than $3,000, part of his $7,000 enlistment bonus.
Bob said, “I didn’t know of anything I had to pay back after I got out of the military.”
The Navy said his honorable discharge “does not exempt him from recoupement of the unearned enlistment bonus, and his personality disorder is not a disability but could interfere with assignment or performance of duty.”
According to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, each month from October 2005 through October of 2006, at least 600 members of the military and as many as 1,100 have owed bonus debts totaling anywhere from $2.5 million dollars each month to $4 million.
The money comes from skyrocketing enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses being offered to lure recruits and keep experienced troops in uniform.
Just this past year, the Army doubled its top bonus from $20,000 to $40,000.