Thousands of California National Guard soldiers have been by asked by the Pentagon to pay back improperly paid reenlistment bonuses from nearly a decade ago.
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During an interview on the FOX Business Network, one former soldier affected by the payment error said she first received the notification to return the money, which totaled more than $15,000, in 2012.
“I’m paying it back. They took money out of my paycheck while I was still in the military. And now that I’m retired they're asking me to pay $650 dollars a month which is about a quarter of our income,” former U.S. Army Master Sergeant Susan Haley explained.
She said the ordeal has been “excruciatingly painful” on both her and her family, and explained why she feels the military has treated her so poorly after all the sacrifices she made for the country.
“[It’s like] they turned their backs on me, and said thank you for your time and all those years away from your family and multiple separations, but hey the money is more important to us. Even though it's not your fault that these mistakes were made, you still have to pay this money back. I even asked for a reduction in payments and they haven't allowed that,” Haley said.
Going forward, Haley wants to see California take some of the blame for the improperly paid bonuses, instead of placing it all on the soldiers.
“They’ve taken no responsibility,” she said. “They want the money back, and they've taken no responsibility for their mistakes. And this is happening to so many other soldiers. It breaks my heart to see anyone have to suffer like this.”