Are you calling me a liar?

We had been waiting for a paycheck from Uncle Sam.

A large travel expense paycheck.

Let me remind you, we are in the suburbs.  We are a National Guard Family.  We are in a suburbs.  There might be 3 other NG families in town. 

This has led to all sorts of interesting conversations last  week! 

Well my oldest had to start kindergarten this year.  And he is a special child, so we opted for a private school.  A school that is actually sponsored by our church. 

Here is where it gets funny. 

School started a few weeks ago.

School also costs $.

This check was supposed to be here 3 weeks ago. 


I went and spoke with the lady that keeps books for the school, and told her "hey, we have your money, it is just not here yet."  The first couple of times I had that conversation with her, I think she believed me.  The third time I had the conversation with her.  Yea, I am pretty sure she thought I was playing her, lost my money gambling, or I was nuts.  I tried to explain to her that the Army was late paying us.  I got the look again.   The look on her face said…"The Army CANNOT BE LATE, NO WAY!"

In typical "army pay fashion", the check came last Friday AFTER SCHOOL, better late than never. 

I t was nice paying the tuition in full, FINALLY. 

About the Author


Rachelle began her Military Spouse career when her future husband proposed to her in a letter during Desert Shield. Mail took over a month to arrive back then, and they only had three phone calls with each other in the ten months they were separated. They were married at a small ceremony a week after he returned home. Rachelle's husband moved her to Ft. Bragg, NC, all of their combined possessions filling her small, two-door car. In 1992, they left active duty and moved back to their home state where she went to nursing school and he joined the Army National Guard as a traditional Soldier as he went to school. In 1999, Rachelle's husband was offered a full-time National Guard position in Arkansas, where they lived for eight years.

In 2002, their son was born (MFO Deployment) and in 2003, their daughter was born (OIF2). In 2008, they moved back to their home state to live close to family. Rachelle has been an active contributor with SpouseBUZZ since 2005. She currently works full-time at a physician’s office, and is active with her church and school's PTO. Her son has recently been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a subject that she is exhaustingly studying and learning to work with day-by-day. In 2010, Rachelle's mother-in-law moved in with the family, and they added a German shorthaired pointer named "Poncho" to the tribe as well. Rachelle enjoys spending as much "down time" with her family as possible - usually something outdoors or movie nights. Her favorite foods are sushi, steak, chocolate, and coffee. Her special skills include being an awesome cook, identifying odd accents by state or country, having an incredible sense of smell (almost bloodhound-like), and watching people at airports during long, unexpected layovers.

  • oh, this is my nightmare. We are PCSing monday, doing a DITY move… and I hope we don’t have to wait a really long time to get our re-imbursement cheque…

  • I feel your pain. When my husband came back from being deployed he didn’t have a full-time job so he opted to return to guard drill immediately instead of waiting 90 days. Well, that confused the money man and we had to make due on my paycheck for almost 4 months before he recieved his drill pay.

  • Sly2017

    We just completed a DITY move. If we hadn’t taken a month’s advance pay, we wouldn’t have had the money to get the U-Haul due to the fact that as of the day we physically drove away from the base for the very last time, the Marine Corps still hadn’t paid us the TMO and DLA money. We did eventually get it — two days after turning the U-Haul back in. Oh, and they were kind enough to pay us TWICE….what fun. Now we get to wait for the payday when they discover that little accounting error and take it all back at once. I’m betting that will be December 15th….

  • The Navy has been really good at randomly giving us extra money, and then when we least expect it, taking it back. Before we got married, they messed up his pay so badly that he was paid nothing for an entire month while they fixed it.
    He got paid more on his mid-month LES than normal, but I have no idea why…guess I’ll find out soon!

  • Sarah

    My husband is taking tuition assistance from the Army to attend a college that’s not on post. They changed the system to where you have to pay out of pocket for the semester and get reimbursed. The real kicker is that you always have to pay the next semester’s fees BEFORE you’ve been reimbursed for the previous. Those are big chunks of change to hand out.

  • When Jack Bauer first left home to prepare his unit, his orders were done patch work. So pay was not regular, but he became close friends with all the right people to make sure that the newly appointed queen of house finances (um, that’s me) had a lot less to stress about. His unit finally mobilized and things became a little more regular, but we were still having problems with the Army Reserve pay system — which is apparently a completely different from the rest of the Army. Problems continued after he deployed too.
    We were concerned that when he changed units a few weeks ago that there would be more problems. And since I have been dissing on the pay system, I will say that there was not a single problem at all. Granted I have no idea how it all works, but I would have thought moving from a reserve unit to an active duty unit would have caused a major delay. Nope. It was perfect.

  • AWTM, I find this happens more to guard than active duty. My personal belief is that since the state has it’s hand in the pot, it always takes much longer than it should.
    BW, the active duty, reserve and national guard folks all come out of three separate pay systems. Sounds to me like you were lucky and had two pay systems on the ball at the same time.

  • I am frankly, glad we managed to get paid all at once.
    However, as a National Guard spouse, I found it odd trying to explain that sometimes the military is late, when paying.
    This is a problem, I never encountered as a civilian employee. So I am sure it was hard for them to understand.

  • since we are going from guard to active… I’m glad we have a good cushion to fall back on! they already are having a problem with that, the NG wants one form signed, the Big A says its not needed…. arrrrggghhhh.

  • Yeeeaahhhh . . . If I were to list all the pay delays and problems we’ve had, we’d be here all day. And my husband’s only been in the Guard four years, one of which was in training and another (and a half) in deployment. I guess that just means they had plenty of time to mess things up. :)
    And now we get to deal with the new Tricare Reserve Select insurance, which is a whole NEW pain, because we’re living in a Navy community, and they have NO idea what I’m talking about . . . *Sigh*

  • SeabeeSeniorWife

    My guy has been Navy Reserve for 17 years. He is now deployed and there was confusion with the switch over. For a while, they didn’t even have him covered on SGLI because they couldn’t seem to get the switch right. Thank goodness he has a friend at DFAS, because I don’t understand all the acronyms and what they stand for and what pay we are supposed to get since it has changed each month due to the two months of training pay and then to the in country pay, etc. Just very confusing and difficult to track. I keep asking him for my secret decoder ring to figure it all out but apparently the Navy has them on back order.

  • SSW – the Army has the same back order problem… so if you get yours could I borrow it?

  • AWTM, I agree with you about the general public not understanding the pay system. How can they when we don’t understand it either.
    We should get an expert to talk on SpouseBuzz Radio about this so that we can understand the differences in the systems, what the acronyms mean and when the most common ones take affect… etc. Whaddaya think?

  • After 14 years, I think that I may have the pay figured out. Maybe.
    The hard part for me is budgeting. Our pay has changed so many times this year and it is going to be changing again.
    I also feel like a terrible when we don’t get whatever money and I have to keep hounding my hubby to go and fix it. The Navy loves to hang on to its money.