The U.S. Army is mulling over whether to give Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl $300,000 worth of back pay and other benefits that he accrued while in captivity with the Taliban.
Bergdahl, 31, had been captured by the Taliban after he walked off his base in Afghanistan, and pleaded guilty to desertion charges. A military judge ruled that Bergdahl be dishonorably discharged and demoted in rank from sergeant to private for his sentence, but that he serve no prison time.
But after Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion charges, the Army is weighing whether the private could still be considered a prisoner of war, according to Fox News.
Prisoners of war and other soldiers in captivity are entitled to exclusive benefits, such as $150,000 worth of special compensation. They are also eligible for hostile-fire pay and basic pay for their usual duties while in captivity.
One Army official said that it is likely Bergdahl would only receive basic pay for the five years he spent in captivity.
“My understanding is there has to be an administrative determination of his duty status at each point, from the time he was captured until now,” an army official told the Army Times. “In order to figure out what he’s owed, you’re basically going to have to start from that point of captivity.”
It is also possible that Bergdahl may not be eligible for the back pay and may even owe money to the military because of the trial’s results.
The official who spoke with the Times said the military might determine that Bergdahl pleading guilty to desertion means that he should not be eligible to receive payment for the time he spent in captivity.
He added that the military might also determine that he had been overpaid since he came back to the U.S.
“Based upon the results of trial, the Army is reviewing Sgt. Bergdahl’s pay and allowances,” Lt. Col. Randy Taylor told the Times. “His final pay and allowances will be determined in accordance with DoD policy and Army regulation.”