Paycheck Chronicles

From Social Media: Government Shutdown Questions

With the lack of a federal spending plan, and Navy Federal's announcement that they'll offer interest-free loans if military pay is disrupted, people are starting to take notice of the fact that we are potentially facing a government shutdown come Friday evening.  As always, it's likely that Congress will pass some sort of short-term continuing resolution to fund operations a few weeks or months, but that doesn't mean that we should all just ignore what's going on.

On that note, here are some of the questions and statements that I'm seeing asked frequently on social media:

They Say This Every Year.  It Never Happens.

If you're younger, it probably does seem like this happens every year.  It's been a pretty frequent event lately.  But the government does shut down.  It shut down for 16 days 2013, and 21 days in 1995 to 1996, and a bunch of different times before that. It's kind of silly to say that it never happens. Again, I'm not saying to freak out or be totally worried. I'm saying that you need to be informed, understand the issues, be aware of what could happen, and be financially prepared.

The Military Contract Guarantees That They'll Be Paid

Unfortunately, no.

Per the the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS,) "In case of a potential government shutdown, the Department of Defense has no legal authority to pay any personnel - military or civilian - for the days during which the government is shut down."

What typically happens is that the shutdown is short, and occurs between pay periods, so pay isn't impacted. But just because that is how it "typically" happens doesn't mean that is how it will happen this time, or the next time, or six times from now.

But They Passed A Bill That The Military Must Get Paid

The Pay Our Military Act (POMA) passed on 30 September 2013 applied ONLY to the federal governments 2014 fiscal year, which ran from 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014.  There is not currently any such law.  Congress could vote to pass a similar law if we have another shutdown, but there are reasons why they may choose not to do that.  There is no guarantee that such as law would be passed.

What Happens If You Live In Housing

Probably nothing.  In theory, the Public-Private Venture (PPV) housing companies could kick everyone out, but that's not going to happen.  I suspect the housing companies will just wait until the situation is resolved, and get paid then.

I know there are more questions, I'm just not sure what's most important to people. If you have a question about the shutdown, put it in the comments and I'll hopefully be able to find some answers

For more information on this subject, you might enjoy:

Government Shutdown? What Military Families Need to Know

Government Shutdown: Which Pay Is Threatened By Which Issue?

Military Pay Not Safe Forever (Nor Retired, nor Disability, nor ...)

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