Military Pay Safe! – For Now

Military pay, and that of some specific federal contractors and civilians, will continue to be paid even though our government has shutdown.  Late Monday evening, President Obama signed HR 3210, Pay Our Military Act.  Under this bill, military servicemembers will continue to be paid on schedule regardless of the status of a government shutdown.   Whoohoooo!

The federal contractors and civilians who are protected in the act are those “whom the Secretary concerned determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces”.  In this case, the Secretary refers to either the Secretary of Defense (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps) or the Secretary of Homeland Security (Coast Guard.)

Also on Monday, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to prevent the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) from running out of money to pay disability, survivor and educational benefits.  Many VA functions, including health care, are not affected by a shutdown, but some vital programs could eventually be impacted.  While VA payments are currently OK, an extended shutdown could mean that the VA does not have enough money to meet all its obligations.  This bill has a few hurdles and it’s chances of becoming law are not yet clear.  

While this bill does not solve all the issues, I know that many people will be delighted by this news!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • millie thomas

    This really messed me up, I can not pay my bills without my pay from the V.A. so all my utilities will end up being shut off.

  • Millie Thomas
  • Millie Thomas

    BFCU gave a phone number to call to get help, Did not say what kind of help they will give but here is the number. 1-800-647-2328

  • MaraF

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for posting this information . It’s a big relief !! Hope the goverment can solve their issues soon :-)

  • Millie Thomas

    BFCU just posted my check, I guess they are slow today. I will be praying all of you get your checks today too.

    • guest

      The threat to VA pay wouldn’t come until the paycheck on the 15th

      • KateKashman

        Guest, I am about 99% sure that VA benefits are paid monthly, so recipients are safe until the beginning of November. Readers, let me know if that is wrong.

        • iceturkee

          correct. i received my september va check. the oct 1 checks were mailed out before the shutdown.

        • Ozzie

          WRONG…..100.00 short in check today….no explanationh or mail about it.

        • William Streer
  • Smiity

    Just checked my bank and no deposit . Wonder if it’s going to be posted today or ?????
    Way to go Congress!!!!! Wonder how you would react if your pay is put on hold.

    • KateKashman

      Smiity, did your pay eventually get deposited? I\’d like to know. There is no Congressional reason why your pay would be put on hold.

  • Andrea

    MY FATHER WAS IN THE MILITARY FOR THIRTY YEARS AND HE AND MY MOTHER DEPEND ON HIS RETIREMENT CHECKS ALL HIS BILLS ARE PAID FROM HIS ACCOUNT AND NOW HE HAS TO WORRY BECAUSE OF THIS SHUTDOWN AND A POSSIBLE DEBT CEILING CRISIS..I BLAME NOT ONLY THE GOVERNMENT BUT THEIR ILLUSTRIOUS LEADER THE PRESIDENT WHO ONLY WILL NEGOTIATE IF IT IS UNDER HIS TERMS .HARRY REID SAID REPUBLICANS ARE DISRESPECTING THE PRESIDENT BY NOT NEGOTIATING .WHAT THEY SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT IS WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE .THEIR MONEY IS SAFE WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE PEOPLE .THE ONLY THING THE PRESIDENT HAS DONE SINCE HE HAS BEEN IN OFFICE IS DIVIDE A NATION AND WEAKEN A COUNTRY ..SO I GUESS WHEN HIS TIME IS UP WE CAN BLAME HIM LIKE HE BLAMED BUSH

  • Melissa

    Anyone know the status of SRB installments now that miltiary AD pay is protected?

    Sad we budgeted to rely on this (which we should be able to do) but I’m not seeing it and NFCU is not seeing it either. Anyone know the status?

    VA benefits… I was paid on Monday, but I worry about this coming month! Everything seems so unclear.

    • KateKashman

      Melissa, sorry for the delay in responding. I am swamped! SRB payments are supposed to be fine, but for some reason people aren’t receiving them. I’m hoping they’ll have it worked out soon!

  • Ozzie

    Wrong about the VA retirement checks being protected…went to bank to withdraw my retirement money to pay our rent and WOW….guess what….it is 100.00 short…no explanation…no letter….no comment…bank knows nothing….cannot get through on any phone lines…what a disgrace….is there anyone else out there who has discovered this today…my check is always in the bank on the 1st of every month so that money was deposited there before this happened.

    • KateKashman

      Ozzie, have you learned anything? I\’m guessing that it has nothing to do with the shutdown, but of course it will be difficult to get answers out of the VA right now. I hope that you are OK.

  • patty

    My husband is expecting severance pay this month( he reached his RCP) on, or around the 10th. I was wondering if anyone here has any knowledge on if he would still receive his payment, should the shutdown last past the 10th of October.

    • John

      I too am waiting for my severance pay. As I am past my BBA deadline date for the Heidelberg Army base closure. I cant remember what my boss said as to when I should receive it. But I am concerned at the moment. It’s a good little chunk of money for 5 years of Army & Family services. 0 deposit so far.. Apologies for not having an answer, just informing you I’m on the same boat. If you find any info before I, post here please? Thanks, John

  • capri5150

    Well According to my ex husband who stated to me in an email yesterday after I asked if he was going to be paying his child support. He said he didn’t get his VA pay and in turn cannot pay his child support until he gets it. He could be lying but who knows and now I am in a bind where like everyone else who depends on the money of having utilities turned off IF the money doesn’t come in by a certain time. It would be nice to know if the VA recipients received their money or not. It isn’t like the Child support enforcement office will do anything anyways but would be nice to know if I am being lied to.

    • DCXENA

      Yes, VA payments were made as scheduled on 1 October. 1 November may be another story, though. We shall see.

      • capri5150

        Thanks for the reply.

      • capri5150

        I sent my ex another email and he stated that he was told that not everyone has received their payments on the 1st and lol was told to mind my own business as well…that is nothing new with my ex. Thanks for the help though. I do hope the government decides soon on what to do because I know there is a lot of people depend on the VA benefits.

  • elaine10

    my husband is overseas an is not sending me hardly any money but around 100.00 or less a month. i am leaving with my daughter and can not work do to health problem that i have is there any one i can call or do to help me with this problem

    • DCXENA

      In the absence of any sort of legal separation agreement, I don’t think he is required to send you anything but the difference between with or without dependent rate BAH, and that comes with caveats and is situational. While overseas he is also afforded certain protections under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. I suggest you contact a lawyer ASAP. Note: Military JAGs will not assist with separation/divorce except under rare circumstances. You need to see a civilian attorney who may also be able to help you with acquiring any sort of disability status for which you may qualify.

    • guest

      Without a court order all he technically has to provide you with is BAH diff, there are “suggested guidelines” for family support, but having just come out of command I can tell you that without a court order the soldier cannot officially be punished for not sending more then that, some commanders can make life difficult until the soldier does but that’s on a command by command basis. In addition, if they pay any bills, such as rent, car payment etc that is generally considered sufficient support.

      You will need to hire a civilian attorney and start the official separation process, if he is deployed you will not be able to bring action without his permission, if he is stationed overseas then you can. If the child is his (you said my daughter instead of ours so I’m not sure if the child is from a previous relationship) then he will be required to pay child support, if it is not he is not responsible for supporting her. Alimony will depend on your state laws and length of marriage but remember very very few states have permanent alimony and few grant alimony for short marriages so you will need to find some way to come up with income in the future.

    • KateKashman

      Elaine, you need to speak with an attorney. If you can not afford one, you should look for a legal aid office or speak with the legal office on base. I could give you all sorts of advice and thoughts, but in the end it would all be the same. I hope this works out for you!

  • This is NOT the President’s fault. Now…my husband’s VA checks did get automatically deposited on the 30th of Sept for October with no problem. If whomever above had 100 bucks deducted, CALL V.A. and ask them why (duh?). Don’t just assume and try to scare people by inferring that it had to be because of the shutdown!

  • abake

    So I guess HR 3210 does not protect those military folks who happened to officially retire on 30 September..these people did not get their final active duty paycheck which was due them on 1 October. This is a small sliver of military member who slipped through the cracks. But we have bills to pay, too. DFAS told my husband he would not get his final active duty paycheck (separation pay) until a budget resolution is reached. He served honorably for 27 years in the Navy. What a way for Uncle Sam to say ‘thank you’.

    • KateKashman

      abake, final active duty paychecks are usually held up to 60 days for final reconcillation of account. Your husband would not receive separation pay as he is retiring from the military. Separation pay is for people who are being involuntarily separated before being eligible for retirement. The delay in your husband’s final active duty paycheck is not due to the shutdown, but rather to military policy. I’m not sure what DFAS told him, but the delay in final paychecks is standard procedure.

      • carolyn price

        abake, I also was officially retired on 30 September. During the ACAP briefings we were indeed told that there would be a delay in our final pay didn’t realize it could be 60 days. Was thinking 30 for some reason. So thanks for asking this question.

        • KateKashman

          Ms. Price, congratulations on your retirement. It can be “up to” 60 days, but it usually isn’t that long. I think 30 days is probably closer to what most people experience. Thanks for letting me know that they are warning people about this. I get a lot of surprised comments and emails. Have a great day!

  • scaredwife

    Do you know what effect this will have on hazard duty and family separation allowances?

    • KateKashman

      scaredwife, it seems like those are going to be paid with this upcoming paycheck. However, I wouldn’t make any bets on it. Things are crazy all over!

  • Connie Manifold
  • KateKashman

    Connie, while I don’t see much sense in panicking, you do need to be prepared. You need to take drastic and immediate measures to ensure you get through this challenging time. No stuff for the new home, put off getting extras hooked up (think cable, home phone), and figure out every available resource. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society may be able to help you. Definitely check with them. I can’t predict what is going to happen, but it never hurts to be prepared. Good luck!