Late Start to Budget Process Puts Your Pay and Benefits at Risk

Late Start to Budget Process Puts Your Pay and Benefits at Risk
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The Biden administration will send its FY 2024 budget to Congress on March 9, missing the federally mandated deadline of the first Monday in February by nearly a month. Once the budget reaches Congress, lawmakers will begin a process they haven’t finished on time since FY 1997, resulting over the decades in costly continuing resolutions, federal funding lapses, and very real threats to the all-volunteer force and the earned benefits of those who’ve served.


This White House is far from the first to miss the mark on its submission, with previous administrations from both parties also falling short. A late conclusion to the FY 2023 budget process, which wrapped up in December instead of October, may have contributed to the delay, according to a Roll Call report.


[RELATED: State Tax Update: Details From 3 States on Push to Exempt More Retirement Pay]


Congress has budget hearings on the books for mid-March, per the report. MOAA and fellow military and veterans advocacy groups will keep close watch on these hearings and remain in contact with legislative staffers regarding the budget, as it serves as a lynchpin for so many MOAA priorities:

  • Shutdown Fears. While DoD servicemember pay would continue under a funding lapse, special pays and other allowances could run dry. And uniformed personnel in, and retirees from, the Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service, and NOAA lack any protections – while MOAA continues to fight for their protection in this circumstance, they could miss paychecks early next year if a late budget leads to a funding standoff.

  • NDAA Improvements. The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has become the primary driver for pay and benefits improvements in recent years, covering everything from access-to-care concerns to improved spouse and family programs and much more. But without appropriations to pay for the authorizations, these changes can’t be enacted.

  • Unwelcome ‘Solutions’: Lawmakers often threaten a full-year continuing resolution in lieu of a budget – a move which would compound problems stemming from shorter funding fixes and prevent DoD and the VA from launching critical new programs over a 12-month span. A full-year continuing resolution could cost DoD billions, per a Government Accountability Office report. A prolonged budget debate could also bring more proposals to the table designed to reduce costs, but doing so at the expense of service-earned benefits.


[RELATED: Cutting Your COLA: How ‘Chained CPI’ Would Reduce Your Military Retirement Benefit]


Keep up with the latest budget developments at MOAA’s Advocacy News page, and watch for how you can make your voice heard to your legislators on this and other critical issues at MOAA’s Legislative Action Center.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on X: @KRLilley