Post provided by the Military Officers Association of America -
Congress and the Pentagon scrambled this week to restart critical benefits and get civilian employees back to work.
Hours before the shutdown Congress passed the Pay our Military Act. The legislation allows DoD to pay members of the armed services serving on active duty or full time National Guard duty during the shutdown.
The legislation also gives the Secretary of Defense the authority pay civilian personnel who “contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of covered military members during the lapse of appropriations (shutdown).” On October 5, Secretary Hagel announced that the department would recall the majority of DoD civilian employees from furlough.
Then, the Pentagon acknowledged that it didn’t have the legal authority to pay death gratuity benefits to the families of fallen servicemembers during the shutdown. The families of five servicemembers killed in Afghanistan were initially unable to receive a $100,000 gratuity paid to help them in the immediate aftermath of a death.
In the interim the Fisher House Foundation – a non-profit charity – stepped in to pay these critical benefits. Legislators scrambled to pass legislation to restart the payments and rectify an intolerable situation. The legislation was signed into law on Thursday.
What benefits are available during the shutdown, and what’s curtailed? Here’s how it stands at the time of this newsletter.
- Military retired pay and survivor annuities
- Health care (including all TRICARE, mental health, behavioral health, and suicide prevention services)
- Transition assistance for members in active service
- Family support programs
- Commissaries and exchanges
- Training, maintenance, and supply associated with military readiness
- Death gratuity benefits
- Pay for servicemembers in the NOAA Corps and U.S. Public Health Service
- Education centers for family members and servicemembers
- New tuition assistance payments
- New MyCAA (military spouse career advancement accounts) payments