The U.S. Department of Defense is considering providing back pay to former service members who were kicked out from the pentagon for failing to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Department of Defense to explore back payments for service members discharged for refusing the COVID jab https://t.co/cTa89BE522
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 14, 2023
A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to Fox News that the department is exploring back pay and “will provide its views on legislation of this nature at the appropriate time and through the appropriate process.”
“All Service members and Veterans may apply at any time to the appropriate Discharge Review Board or Board for Correction for Military/Naval Records if they believe that there is an error or injustice in their records-to include those that were separated by the vaccine mandate,” Marj Charlie Dietz told the outlet.
This comes after the coronavirus vaccine mandate was rescinded for troops last week. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo Jan. 10 to officially repeal the policy after it was included in the annual defense spending bill Congress passed in December.
About 8500 military troops were discharged for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Republican members of Congress are now pushing for those workers to get reinstated or, at least, get an honorable discharge.
Former Vice President Mike Pence told the Hill a day after Austin’s memo that he thinks the troops who got discharged for refusing the vaccine were unfairly treated as they were put in a tight position to decide between serving their country and complying with the mandate. Pence, who called the vaccine “unconscionable,” requested that the Biden administration not only reinstate but also provide full back pay to those discharged troops.
“I think now that Secretary Austin has implemented what Congress passed into law, lifting the vaccine mandate on members of our armed forces, now I’m calling on the Biden administration and the Pentagon to reinstate every man and woman that was discharged from our armed forces because they refused to take the vaccine, and give them 100 percent back pay for the time after they were discharged,” Pence said.
Austin’s memo had said that anyone who was kicked out of the military due to failure to comply with the mandate could request a change in the “characterization of their discharge” in their personnel records. It is, however, not clear what corrections the department intends to award.