Of all the comments and emails we’ve received here at SpouseBUZZ, the biggest government shutdown concern is pay. Obviously, the prospect of receiving half a paycheck, or no pay, is really not good. I’ve got good news and bad news, and I’ll try to hit all the major issues here.
- It is possible that after today, the military will be working without knowing when the pay for that work will arrive. The way military contracts are written, there is no guarantee when service members will be paid for their work. I’m still hearing that many commands are still telling their troops that this is not true. Either they are confused themselves, or they don’t want to worry people, but it is completely true that this could happen.
- If the government shuts down and remains shut down, all military members will receive pay through today, 8 April, when they would normal receive their mid-month pay on 15 April. This works out to approximately half a regular paycheck.
- If the government comes to an agreement today, or there is a brief shutdown (maybe just over the weekend), then there is the strong possibility that the 15 April pay will for the entire pay period.
- If a shutdown lasts for more than a few days, but is resolved before 15 April, that does not guarantee that the 15 April pay will include all that time. It takes time to process all that pay. They can’t decide to end the shutdown on 15 April and magically pay everyone that afternoon – it’s just not possible. The cut-off I have heard is mid-day Monday.
- If the military receives the entire amount of its pay on 15 April, it may come in two separate deposits. My sources tell me that they have already calculated the pay amounts through this evening and are setting up that payment information to be sent to the banking institutions. When a budget is passed and the rest of the pay becomes available, it will come in a second transaction.
- Allotments are a little confusing, but the most important part is this: as long as this thing is resolved by 1 May, this government shutdown will not affect your allotments.
- Several major banking institutions, including Navy Federal Credit Union and Service Credit Union, are planning to deposit the full amount of a regular, active duty paycheck on 15 April. This is a hugely great benefit and I know that many of us appreciate their concern and proactive solutions.
- There are many resources available if you need help paying your essential bills and basic living expenses. The military aid societies are prepared to assist service members, and many local and national charities are also ready to step up and help military families.
I’m sure that many of you have lots more questions, and I’d be glad to answer them if you leave them in the comments. I’ve been covering this issue for several weeks over at The Paycheck Chronicles, so you may also find more detailed answers there. Please, ask away – we want to help you feel less worried and more hopeful!