Paycheck Chronicles

Five Government Shutdown Questions


Well, we still don't know if a government shutdown will happen, but you know that I like to be prepared.  Several questions keep coming up over and over again, so I thought that would address them here:

When Might Military Pay Be Delayed?

Updated 1 October 2013:  Bill protecting military pay is signed into law.  It only covers budget issues, not debt ceiling issues.

This is a tricky question.  If we don't get a budget, or a continuing resolution, the 15 October 2013 paycheck could be affected.

However, if we are dealing with a debt ceiling issue, the details become less clear.  There are a variety of scenarios about how the Treasury could choose to pay its bills, and a date for pay delay depends on which plan the Treasury chooses to use.  At this time, if a budget or continuing resolution is passed, and we are dealing with a debt ceiling issue alone, it is looking like it would be at least the 1 November 2013 paycheck before any possible delay might take place.

Will The Commissaries Close?

Updated 28 September 2013:  The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) has announced that commissary stores in the US will close in the event of a government shutdown.  Stores would be open on 1 October 2013 to sell off perishable goods.  All overseas stores will remain open.

Big question, small answer:  Maybe.  Or even probably.  Officials at my local Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) store tell me that they have no information.  The DeCA website doesn't mention a potential government shutdown at all.  However, this is pretty typical.  

Will My Allotments Still Be Paid?

Allotments can be so confusing.  It helps a lot to understand how allotments work if you keep in mind that the military works on a monthly pay schedule.  Everything is calculated monthly:  pay, allowances, taxes, deductions.  The mid-month pay is just an advance of half the estimate for the entire month.  As a result, 1 October 2013 allotments are definitely safe.  1 November 2013 allotments would only be jeopardized if pay were stopped sometime in October and not restarted before 1 November.  Same for November, and so on.

If, at any point, pay is delayed, the allotment would get caught up when back pay was issued.  Therefore, you'll only have a problem if pay stop and remains stopped over the 1st of a month.  Does that make sense?

What About DoDEA Schools?

Updated 30 September 2013:  The Department of Defense Educational Activity has announced that schools will continue to operate as usual.  Employees who work at headquarters and area offices may be furloughed.

As usual, DoDEA is being super-quiet.  If the 2011 shutdown scare is an indication, DoDEA schools would probably be deemed essential and continue to function.

What About Scheduled Bank Debits?

Lots of us pay our bills via electronic funds transfer (EFT).  For example, my car insurance is automatically deducted from our paycheck once each month.  If military pay is delayed for any reason, you either need to make sure that you have enough money to pay the schedule bills OR you need to cancel those debits.  I recommend you contact your banks now to learn how early you would need to cancel a debit order.  Most banks need a few days to process a change like that.  You will be much happier if you know the procedure and rules now, rather than wait until you are in a pinch.

Keep your questions coming, and I'll answer them (to the best of my ability) in a future post.

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