Does government shutdown affect military pay? The answer to this question is complicated. While active-duty military personnel will continue to receive their pay during a government shutdown, other military members may not be so lucky.
For example, reserve and National Guard members may not receive their paychecks if the shutdown lasts for an extended period. Additionally, civilian employees of the military may not receive their paychecks during a government shutdown.
So, while the answer to this question is not a simple yes or no, it is clear that a government shutdown can have a major impact on the military community.
Why Does the Government Shut Down?
Let us begin with some context for the problem. The most typical cause for a government shutdown in the United States is a failure to enact an Appropriations Bill (essentially a budget). The second most prevalent cause is that the government has reached its Debt Ceiling, which limits its capacity to borrow money.
Every year, the US government is obligated to enact a spending bill. These appropriations legislation correspond to their budgets. However, the government must also approve an Authorization law to have the authorization to spend the monies.
The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, provides funding for the military. Congress has approved the 2021 NDAA, but the President must sign it into law.
Please remember that the Appropriations and Authorizations depend on the Fiscal Year.
The Federal Budget is extended for the Fiscal Year, which starts on October 1st and concludes on September 30th. The government will virtually shut down until a new budget package is passed. However, the government may approve a Continuing Resolution (CR), which authorizes the government to continue operating for a certain period.
Continuing resolutions are not automatically passed; they must be voted on and approved before they can be implemented. These CRs have expiry dates as well. They might endure from a few days to many months. To acquire additional time, continuing resolutions are often extended, or new continuing resolutions are approved.
Unless the NDAA is signed into law or another CR is enacted, the present continuing resolution will expire on December 18, 2020.
How a Government Shutdown Impacts Military Pay, Benefits
Although active duty soldiers, the National Guard, and reservists on active duty are required to report for duty during a shutdown, they are not paid until Congress approves a separate piece of legislation.
Drill days planned for the Guard and Reserve during the closure were to be canceled, and those on the drill when the shutdown began were likely to be ordered home. Guardsmen and Reserves were told to contact their units for additional information.
Retiree Pay and SBP Payments
In the event of a shutdown in January 2018, military retirees and those receiving Survivor’s Benefit Plan (SBP) payments would continue to receive their monthly pension cheques.
This is because the monies were paid from a separate account not affected by the yearly appropriations bill that Congress had yet enacted.
Medical Care on Base
While military hospitals and on-base dental clinics were to remain open for emergencies, inpatient treatment, and acute care, all other forms of care, including elective operations and primary-care visits, were to be canceled until the shutdown ended.
Families were directed to call their clinic or hospital to learn more about their upcoming treatment.
Medical Care off Base
According to the directive, does government shutdown affect va disability on the off-base medical treatment provided by Tricare?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated. The government shutdown does not affect the payments for disability benefits that are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, it may affect the availability of off-base medical treatment that Tricare provides. Tricare is a health insurance program run by the Department of Defense (DoD). During a government shutdown, the DoD is not funded, and Tricare may not be able to provide coverage for off-base medical treatment.
On-Base Child Care
Military child care facilities on base were to remain open on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether they were deemed “vital.” Users were directed to their local Child Development Center (CDC) for further information.
Schools run by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) were supposed to remain open throughout the shutdown. The directive, however, said that all extracurricular activities, such as athletic events would be canceled.
A shutdown did not affect on-base schools run by local education authorities.
Troops Killed in Action
During the January 2018 government shutdown, newly bereaved family members could not receive the Pentagon’s $100,000 death payment or military-funded travel to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, or elsewhere for the dignified transfer, military funeral, or monument.
On the other hand, servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) payments would remain unaffected.
VA Disability Pay & GI Bill Benefits
Like retiree pay, VA disability pay, and GI Bill payments were supported by legislation that was not in danger on Capitol Hill during the January 2018 closure. As a result, such tests would not be impacted.
During the 2013 shutdown, VA officials cautioned that if the government lasted more than a few weeks, disability payments to more than 5.1 million veterans would be uncertain. Will government shutdown affect veterans disability checks?
Military Moves and Travel
Military families arranging for a permanent change of station (PCS) transfer or personnel preparing for temporary travel (TDY) could not travel until after the January 2018 closure.
Those who had already left on military relocation orders were instructed to finish their journey. Those on TDY returned to their duty station according to the instructions.
Commissaries, Exchanges, and MWR
Because of the way they are financed, military exchanges were to continue operating during a shutdown in January 2018.
On the other hand, stateside commissaries were to shutter three days after the shutdown began, but those outside the United States and in certain rural areas were to stay open since they are deemed “vital.”
There were two Guam shops, one in Puerto Rico, and commissaries at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport and Fort Irwin in California, the Coast Guard Station Kodiak and Fort Greely in Alaska, and the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.
Because of how those programs are paid, MWR operations were to be temporarily halted on a case-by-case basis.
Keep Up With Military Pay Updates
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Will Military Members Get Paid During a Government Shutdown?
Members of the Department of Defense (DoD) did not miss a payment during the most recent government shutdown in 2018-2019. This implies that all military personnel, military retirees, military annuitants (survival benefit beneficiaries), and DoD civilian workers were paid as usual.
On the other hand, other Uniformed Services members not part of the DoD were not paid by those federal budget legislation. Members of the government shutdown will military get paid until the government shutdown ends:
- The United States Coast Guard (USCG), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security,
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is part of the Department of Commerce in the United States, and
- The US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps is a section of the Department of Health and Human Services dealing with public health.
- On the other hand, military personnel has missed paychecks in prior government shutdowns.
Lessons Learned from the Last Government Shutdown
The last government shutdown touched almost everyone in some manner. And it was terrifying for many of us. Would we be compensated? If the government shuts down will disabled veterans get paid?
The responses varied according to the day of the week. No one would be compensated unless the laws were amended. Although Congress subsequently approved legislation ensuring that active duty military troops were paid, many non-military government workers were furloughed without pay.
There were further issues:
- Many Guard and Reserve members had their exercises canceled, decreasing their points for the year and leaving them without their drill money.
- Several base activities and amenities were temporarily terminated or discontinued. There was no access to the commissary, base exchange, child care, or other base services.
- It was a nightmare for most military personnel and government workers. The saddest thing is that it may, and most likely, happen again.
- As it has done in the past when dealing with the debt limit, the administration applied a band-aid to the wound. They did not implement a long-term solution. This has been going on for two years and will continue until the government adopts a lasting solution.
- Meanwhile, it is up to each of us to do all we can to regain control of our lives. Here is some financial advice we can all utilize to be on a better financial foundation so that the next time anything like this occurs, it will be an inconvenience but hopefully not disastrous.
We Need to Take Control of Our Finances
When you’re in the military, it isn’t easy to maintain control. You go where they tell you to go, and you get paid. When does the military get paid in a government shutdown, and so on? I understand. But there are things we can all do to have better control over our financial life.
It begins with our daily and weekly activities. Living paycheck to paycheck is difficult, but it is a reality for many people. But we must all strive to stay ahead of the paycheck game. (I understand that living on enlisted pay is difficult, but tens of thousands of military families do it daily.)
Breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle: There are no hidden agendas here. To break free from the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you must spend less than you make (or earn more than you spend). It’s not going to happen any other way. Here are some pointers to get you started:
Build an emergency fund
An emergency fund is a savings account for a rainy day. You don’t touch it until necessary. There is no magic figure for how much money you need in your emergency fund, but $1,000 is a good place to start (you don’t have to stop there; just set it as a goal to get started). That’s a lot of money, but you don’t have to invest it all at once.
Begin saving $25 weekly, $50 per paycheck, or whatever you can afford. Your emergency fund will assist you in dealing with any unforeseen expenditures, such as a trip home, a vehicle accident, or a government shutdown. In an emergency, your emergency fund will save you from having to depend on credit cards or other loans.
Reduce your debt
Debt is nothing more than a stumbling block to your financial success. It is difficult to reduce your expenditure when a substantial percentage of your money is locked up in monthly payments. Every dollar you save today is less money you have to spend before it reaches your bank account, making it easier to weather the storm of a government shutdown or other catastrophe that restricts your financial flow.
Increasing your income is an excellent method to boost your savings or shorten the time it takes to get out of debt. You are working a part-time job while in the military is not for everyone (and most service personnel should not). However, alternative methods exist to make additional money, such as establishing a side company or a profitable pastime.
Spouses may also be allowed to work part-time at home or elsewhere. Any extra revenue may help to alleviate cash flow issues.
The government shutdown was not a one-time occurrence. There was news about it in the weeks leading up to it, and there was a steady stream of news throughout the closure. Because there was no permanent remedy, this may happen again. If this happens, be prepared.
Start prepared as soon as you hear anything about it in the news. Reduce your spending, save what you can, urge your spouse to search for a part-time job if feasible, and so on. Examine your specific circumstances and make any required adjustments. Even a month’s worth of planning might help you relax.
Bank with Someone Who Understands
I suggest using a military, financial organization such as Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or United Services Automobile Association to do your banking (USAA).
These financial organizations are designed to serve their members first, rather than stockholders, as corporate banks are.
Because of these distinctions, these financial institutions may provide services to their members that other financial institutions cannot, such as low-interest or interest-free loans during a government shutdown.
They may also provide various sorts of aid to members having a tough time. These organizations may provide extra member advantages such as better customer service than most big commercial banks, better financial products, lower costs, and more during a PCS or deployment.
Take Control Where Possible
In the end, the government shutdown significantly annoyed many individuals. And this is regrettable since the shutdown has damaged the people the government intends to protect. For many of us, this is an eye-opening event. It underlined for me the need to seize as much control as possible.
What Happens if the Government Shuts Down?
Each government shutdown differs somewhat. The Office of Management and Budget decides which federal agencies will be affected by a shutdown.
In general, emergency and critical services continue to operate. This includes military troops, air traffic controllers, TSA agents, federal law enforcement officers, and federally sponsored medical workers.
It does not always cover the Department of Defense workforce, including regular Guard and Reserve personnel, dual-status technicians, and many more.
In certain cases, Congress enacted emergency financing legislation to keep specific government agencies running while other portions of the government were temporarily shut down. This emergency financing has included military salary and benefits in certain years but not others.
We can’t say for sure how any specific shutdown will affect government or military activities since every circumstance is different. However, we can provide some current instances.
Will Federal Employees Get Paid During a Government Shutdown?
As previously stated, certain vital and emergency government staff are immune from shutdowns. They may, however, have a significant influence on the federal employee population. During the 2018/2019 government shutdown, for example, nearly 25% of federal workers, or an estimated 800,000 people, went without pay.
To make matters worse, over half of the 800,000 unpaid workers were still forced to show up for work. The remaining members were furloughed, which means they are still employed but are not expected to go to work. And none of them got paid while on leave.
Some government personnel may be exempt from reporting to work.
Most federal workers will be temporarily furloughed if a funding measure is not enacted and will not be compelled to work until a spending law is passed. There are, however, exceptions, particularly for individuals whose job is necessary for national security, such as most military personnel.
Some military personnel was not compelled to report to work during past shutdowns. This military personnel will be divided into exempt and non-exempt groups. As a result, operations in conflict zones, humanitarian aid, and many personnel working in industries such as medicine, security, and transportation will continue.
Will Federal Employees Receive Back Pay?
Back pay has been allowed by Congress during prior government shutdowns. And there is every reason to believe that will be the case this time. That doesn’t help government workers who aren’t getting compensated for their job or are being forced to take time off.
Can Federal Employees Claim Unemployment Benefits During a Furlough?
Yes, most states enable furloughed government workers to file for unemployment benefits. Most states, however, will compel unemployment benefits claimants to reimburse the payments if they subsequently earn back pay from the government. As a result, if you incur debt to your state employment agency or bureau, this may not be the greatest alternative.
How does a government shutdown impact, non-DoD federal employees and military contractors?
Many other government civilians will not be paid during the shutdown, and numerous government and military support facilities will be shuttered. For a list of current closures, contact your base.
A government shutdown may also affect certain federal contracts if contractors do not have access to government facilities or cannot complete their contractual obligations.
Will the military get paid?
Military families have received regular wage gains in recent years, with yearly increases of at least 2.5 percent since 2018. The 2022 pay increase amounts to around $790 more per year for junior enlisted personnel, almost $1,400 more for senior enlisted and junior officers, and more than $2,600 more for senior officers.
What programs are affected by a government shutdown?
Nine federal agencies were impacted by the Trump Shutdown: Homeland Security, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Commerce, Transportation, and State.
How much do Navy Seals make?
Salary Ranges for Navy Seals
Navy Seal salaries in the United States vary from $15,929 to $424,998, with a typical income of $76,394. The middle 57% of Navy Seals earn between $76,394 and $192,310 per year, with the top 86 percent earning $424,998.
The government shutdown has had a major impact on military pay. Many service members have not been paid on time or in full, thanks to the shutdown. This has caused financial difficulties for many families. In addition, the shutdown has caused delays in important benefits, such as housing allowances and medical care.