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Where to Turn if Shutdown Happens

4/8/2011 UPDATE: In the event of a government shutdown, Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) and Marine Federal Credit Union (MFCU) have both offered to cover any gap in their member's military pay on April 15. This means that although the DoD will only pay members for April 1-8, these credit unions will cover the second week of the pay period for their members who are currently on direct deposite.

The Original Post Begins Here - News of a DoD document outlining plans to deal with the possible government shutdown hit the web causing concern for military servicemembers and their families. The specific concern is the DoD plan to deal with military pay.

The 13-page draft plan prepared for the services and defense agencies says “All military personnel will continue in normal duty status regardless of their affiliation with exempt or non-exempt activities. Military personnel will serve without pay until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service.”

Since my original blog post on the subject, congress passed a fifth continuing resolution that extended the deadline to April 8. This means that the April 15 payday could be impacted. There are two things to keep in mind if the government shutdown occurs.

First, the longest government shut down in the last 20 years occurred in late 1995 and lasted 21 days. In the worst case scenario a shutdown would result in a delay in military pay, but servicemembers will eventually get paid.

Second, if the Fed does shutdown there are branch specific financial relief resources military servicemembers can turn to for temporary financial assistance. 

Under no circumstances should servicemembers turn to commercial sources for financial assistance with dealing with any pay issues. This is the kind of situation where servicemembers can get easily sucked into a payday loan and get themselves in financial quicksand. If the Fed shuts down, your first steps should be to contact your landlord, creditors, and utility companies to explain the situation and then contact your service branch’s relief organization. They can offer short-term loans to help bridge the gap without causing more financial hardship.

Click here for a complete list of Aid and Charity Organizations.

Take a moment to let Congress and our government officials know how you feel about the budget impasse.

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