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Shutdown Would Affect Payment To Soldiers

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Barring an 11th-hour deal, it looks like a government shutdown is imminent.

And if that happens, the Department of Defense will have no legal authority to pay active service members for the days the government is shutdown.

Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service – or DFAS -- is the agency that processes payments for military personnel and veterans.

Michael Gibson is a spokesman for DFAS-Cleveland. He says there aren’t any plans to furlough their employees if a funding bill isn’t passed. He says that’s because DFAS is a working capital fund operation, meaning it doesn’t rely on appropriations but rather payment from the military for services. As long as there’s a cash balance in their fund, DFAS will keep operating.

“If a potential government shutdown last for a certain amount of time, operations could be affected," says Gibson. "But it’s really too early to tell how long it would be and what would be affected.”

However, Gibson says that DFAS as a whole cannot pay military members or certain civilian employees for the days the government is inactive.

Payment for retirees and annuitants are not made from Continuing Resolution Act (CRA) appropriations, so those will continue. And as the Cleveland DFAS branch largely handles payments for those two groups, operations will carry on as normal.

The DFAS website argues against a government shutdown, so that active military and civilian personnel can be paid “in full and on time”.

(Story by ideastream's Brian Bull)

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