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Navy to Offer Free Child Care to Overcharged Parents

Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads Child Development Center hosts a Month of the Military Child parade (Navy Photo)
Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads Child Development Center hosts a Month of the Military Child parade (Navy Photo)

The Navy is giving two weeks of free, full-time child care to some parents during November and December as well as up to a $10,000 MWR grant to bases where customers were billed $5.5 million in duplicate charges late last month.

The child care and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) grant are meant as goodwill gestures for customers affected by the mistake at bases in Japan, Guam, South Korea and Singapore, as well as at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

The problem, caused during a software update at Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tennessee, impacted 133,000 transactions made at all MWR and youth programs at those bases, including child care centers, between Jan. 22 and June 23.

To access the Navy's free child care rebate, families must have been enrolled in full-time care during the timeframe affected by the error. Those families can request one free week of full-time care in November and again in December, officials said.

Additionally, the up to $10,000 per-base grant is meant for "customer appreciation events" and specials such as "free gear rental, meal specials, free fitness classes, and other MWR activities," the release said.

How the cash is used is up to base commanders, but "there is no intent by the Navy to provide these rebates to those who were not affected by the computer problem," officials said in the release.

Base officials will decide how much, if any, of the cash they want to accept, officials told Military.com, and funding for those payments will come from Navy nonappropriated fund accounts.

Since the Sept. 24 glitch, the Navy has worked with Bank of America, which processes the service's MWR payments, to reverse all of the duplicate charges. Customers who were hit with overdraft fees and other fines as a result of the mistake can file a claim form along with a bank or credit statement showing the fees.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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