Active duty service members and their families began to panic about pay again late Friday afternoon when a notice was posted on the website of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which is responsible for issuing payment to military personnel, essentially stating that service members would not be paid while the Federal Government is shut down.
The notice says, in part: “During the government shutdown, the Department of Defense will have no legal authority to pay any personnel – military or civilian – for the days during which the government is shut down…”
It also says:
“Attention: We are aware the President has signed the “Pay Our Military Act.” We are awaiting further guidance from the Department of Defense to ensure we accurately implement all elements of the Act…”
Reached after hours, a Department of Defense official who does not have permission to speak on the matter, reiterated that the Pay Our Military Act (POMA) would indeed be implemented and that service members will receive their mid-month pay checks. Part of the problem, the official said, is that the POMA is poorly worded and has proven difficult for the Secretary to Defense to implement. Currently the Secretary of Defense’s office – those employees who were not furloughed, that is – are working to interpret the POMA so that they law will be followed and implemented as quickly as possible and with minimal disturbance to the fighting forces.
We encourage readers not to panic, but to stay tuned for updates that will hopefully be forthcoming next week.