Thousands of airmen who were overpaid while in South Korea will get to keep the cash, Air Force officials have decided.
About $2.3 million was overpaid to nearly 7,800 airmen because of an agency error, according to Air Force spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Deana Heitzman.
The Air Force Personnel Center Operating Location Indianapolis in December 2022 stopped hardship duty pay for 11 different locations in Republic of Korea, but that was backdated to March 1, 2022. That resulted in $2,337,437.28 being overpaid to service members, who were receiving the entitlement that had previously been authorized and were unaware that it was an overpayment. The amount each service member received varied, ranging from $1.67 to $501.67 each, according to Heitzman.
Sometimes the Department of Defense overpays service members because of administrative errors in processing pay and allowances or when calculating pay and leave. Individual services are responsible for recouping the overpayments. The Government Accountability Office issued a report in 2019 stating the DoD process for getting back that money is sometimes inconsistent and that the debts can end up at collection agencies.
The Air Force will not treat these overpayments as a debt owed, however.
“Due to no fault of the members, they accrued a debt,” Heitzman explained in a statement provided to Military Times. “The Air Force determined it was in the best interest of the service to remit the debts and not pursue collection actions.”
The overpayments were first reported by Military.com.