Shutdown Facts: What Servicemembers, Retirees, and Survivors Need to Know
(Updated Dec. 31 to reflect NOAA Corps details)
Unsure what the partial government shutdown means for your service-connected pay or benefits? Here's what you need to know about key issues:
Pay: The Defense Department is fully funded for the next fiscal year, so servicemembers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps will remain on the job and will get their checks as scheduled during the partial shutdown.
The Department of Homeland Security is not fully funded, so Coast Guardsmen entered Dec. 28 planning to go without pay during the shutdown. The service announced a one-time fix late that day, saying "the Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard have identified a way to pay our military workforce on Dec. 31, 2018. This one-time action applies to military members that served on active duty in the month of December and those reserve military members that drilled prior to the lapse in appropriation."
The 321 members of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps also will receive their Dec. 31 paychecks, under an arrangement similar to what's been worked out for members of the Coast Guard (which is in charge of the NOAA Corps payroll). USPHS officers aboard National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessels will be paid under a similar setup.
Like the Coast Guard, these arrangements do not address any pay periods in 2019. NOAA Corps members will continue their mission regardless of funding arrangements.
Those seeking further information on NOAA beyond weather updates likely will see this website in the coming days.
Retired pay: A Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) spokesman confirmed to MOAA that this statement on DFAS's retired-military website remains operative: "Retiree payments will be made as scheduled on December 31, 2018. Annuitant payments will be made as scheduled on January 2, 2019." DFAS has since updated its homepage with similar language.
Coast Guard, NOAA and USPHS retirees also are covered, according to this Dec. 26 news update from the Coast Guard's Pay and Personnel Center: "In spite of the government shutdown, the U.S. Coast Guard has identified essential personnel who shall continue to report to work; they will be responsible for ensuring the retiree and annuitant payroll for USCG, NOAA and PHS is run and distributed on time. As such, you may expect timely delivery of your pay on 31 December, 2018."
Other benefits: Like DoD, the VA is fully funded entering the new year. This means, per a recent statement from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, that "all VA operations will continue unimpeded." This would include disability and survivor benefits, as well as any other VA-processed payments.
Also, all TRICARE Prime, Select, and TRICARE for Life claims will continue uninterrupted and with timely processing.