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UPDATE: Government Shutdown FAQs, CGMA loan information

December 28, 2018

This report originally published at allhands.coastguard.dodlive.mil.

Will Coast Guard members get paid on Dec. 31? Yes, 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.

  • If you were an active duty military member in December, then you will receive your monthly paycheck on Dec. 31, 2018. That paycheck will include all of the normal pay and allowance benefits (e.g. basic pay, BAH, BAS, etc.).
  • If you were a reservist that served on active duty during the month of December, you will also receive your monthly paycheck on Dec. 31, 2018 and it will include all of your normal pay and allowance entitlements.
  • Finally, if you were a reservist that conducted reserve training prior to Dec. 21, 2018, then you will receive the appropriate pay and allowance entitlements on Dec. 31, 2018.

Will I get paid on Jan. 15? This approval only covers the Dec. 31, 2018 paycheck. It does not guarantee a paycheck on Jan. 15, 2019. Meeting active duty and reserve military payroll for January 2019 will require a fiscal year 2019 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or passage of an alternative measure.

Why the change from earlier guidance that indicated the Coast Guard military members would not be paid on Dec. 31? Generally, the Coast Guard lacks the authority to pay its members during a lapse in appropriations. The circumstances of this lapse are unique because of the timeline of the lapse in relation to the military pay process. Ultimately, extensive research and legal analysis between the Coast Guard, DHS, and OMB determined the Coast Guard has the authority to execute the remainder of pay and allowances for December.

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Will retirees get paid? Retirees will get paid Dec. 31. However if this lapse in appropriations continues into February, they may not get paid their future installments. VA payments should not be affected by this lapse in appropriations.

Will I get paid for travel performed after Dec. 21? TDY travel that is performed after the shutdown will not be able to be reimbursed until after funding authority is restored.

Will I get paid for travel performed before Dec. 21 and claim submitted on Dec. 21? Fincen is not processing travel claims; therefore reimbursement will not be available until after funding authority is restored.

Is the CG working directly with JP Morgan on suspending payments due for travel claims during the period of non-payment? Pending approval of an appropriation, travel claims will not be processed. Account Delinquency should be handled on a case by case basis by commands. Travelers who have submitted a timely travel voucher within 3 days of returning from travel but due to the lapse in appropriations and furlough of personnel have not received reimbursement should not be subject to adverse action by the chain of command for account delinquency. In addition, cardholders should be advised that while the December statement due date is 1/9/2019, no action will be taken on the account by the bank (JP Morgan Chase) until 2/12/2019, at which time the account would be suspended. If the lapse of appropriation still exists on 1/29/2019, additional policy guidance and direction for management of delinquent accounts will be provided.

letter to creditors

Click here to download a copy of the letter to creditors.

What should I tell my creditors? It is your responsibility to take all steps necessary to ensure you meet your civil obligations (insurance, rent/mortgage, child-care, child support, etc) at all times regardless of the government’s ability to process payroll. CG-1 has provided a letter, however, that you can send to your creditors that could help explain your debt situation and could aid with encouraging your creditors to apply relief. Please remember that your creditors are under no obligation to provide relief.

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When will Direct Access be back online to check my allotments? DA will return to full capabilities on 1/1/2019.

On ALCOAST 426/18 under military members I see that “Monthly allotments will be deducted as scheduled”, please explain? Allotments (from member’s PAY Slips (LES)) would be deducted once payroll is processed pending funding authority restoration.

For example: If you set up an allotment to pay your mortgage through your Coast Guard Pay, no funding will be transferred. Thus if you pay it during this lapse in appropriations you would end up paying it twice. In order to avoid duplicate payments, ensure you contact your financial institution or other entities that you have financial obligations with to discuss options.

Any allotments that you have set up with your bank (not through Direct Access) are your responsibility. The Coast Guard has no visibility on what you pay “automatically.”

For example, many members set up automatic payments for things like their investments, utilities, escrow accounts, etc using the automatic payment options that their banks provide. It is recommended that you review these automatic payments and adjust them accordingly.

NOTE: If not done, you may incur insufficient funds notices and penalties from your bank.

*This list is not inclusive. If there are allotments that you have set up that are not listed, it is likely that they will not be paid. A rule of thumb: No Pay = No allotments paid out = possible late fees/penalties if not addressed.

What about SGLI, Tricare? Are my medical benefits and insurance premiums not current? Your benefits are still current. They will be paid once payroll is processed pending funding authority restoration. Both you and your dependents will be able to continue to see your primary medical provider.

Is CG SUPRT available during a lapse in appropriations? Per ALCOAST 426/18, Our Employee Assistance Program, CG SUPRT (1-855-CGSUPRT), and Work-Life resources and referral services, will be available during the lapse in appropriations. All personnel are encouraged to take advantage of these services, which include assistance with financial matters and counseling through CGSUPRT and Work-Life Programs.

Will Coast Guard Child Development Centers (CDCs) remain open? Yes, CDC’s will remain open.

What if I live in Coast Guard/DoD housing (I don’t receive my BAH)? Your BAH will be transferred when payroll is processed pending funding authority restoration.

What if I live in Privatized Government Housing (i.e., PPV)? CG-1 is working with DoD to notify all privatized government housing locations that the BAH allotments for Coast Guard members will not be available until funding authority is restored. Please reach out to your local PPV manager to discuss options.

Reserve Questions? Specific guidance for reservists can be found in paragraph 4.J of ALCOAST 425-18. Please contact your local RFRS or District (DXR) staff for guidance/clarification.

Will Coast Guard Mutual Assistance be available to help? Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) is available during the lapse in appropriations but there are limits to what they can provide. Please reference ALCOAST 434/18 for further details.


Coast Guard civilians:

Pay procedures during furlough
For pay period 25 (Dec. 9-22, 2018), civilian employees will receive pay only for hours worked as reflected on their pay period 25 timecard on the normal EFT pay date of Dec. 31 2018.

For pay period 26 (Dec. 23 – Jan 5. 2019), civilian employees will receive pay as follows:

• Employees in category “exempt” positions are funded by a non-lapsing appropriation and will receive pay for the entire pay period performing excepted functions (i.e. Yard and Boating Safety funded etc).

• Employees in category “excepted” positions are funded by a lapsing appropriation and will be paid retroactively for all time in a work status on or after Dec. 22, 2018, when a continuing resolution is passed or an appropriation is enacted. These employees will not be paid for time absent on furlough (including holidays) unless legislation is enacted that authorizes pay for non-work time during the furlough period.

• Employees in category “non-exempt” who report for orderly shutdown will be paid retroactively for time in a work status to perform shutdown activities on or after Dec. 22, 2018, when a continuing resolution is passed or an appropriation is enacted. These employees will not be paid for time absent on furlough unless legislation is enacted that authorizes pay for non-work time during the furlough period.

Most employees will accrue leave at their regular rate in pay period 25 unless they reached an increment of 80 hours of non-pay status in the pay period. Furloughed employees will not accrue leave in pay period 26 if they reach an increment of 80 hours of non-pay status in that pay period.

The Civilian Human Resources, Diversity, and Leadership Directorate (CG-12) will provide detailed guidance to managers and timekeepers on timecard coding.

If an employee receives partial pay because the lapse in appropriation occurred in the middle of a pay period and the employee’s gross pay is insufficient to cover all authorized deductions, the order of precedence for applying deductions can be found here.

Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program
FEHB coverage will continue even if an agency does not make the premium payments on time. Since the employee will be in a non-pay status, the enrollee share of the FEHB premium will accumulate and be withheld from pay upon return to pay status.

Federal Dental and Vision (FEDVIP)
Payroll deductions will cease for any employee that does not receive pay. BENEFEDS will generate a bill to enrollees for premiums when no payment is received for two consecutive pay periods. The enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him/her on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)
FEGLI coverage continues for 12 consecutive months in a non-pay status without cost to the employee or to the agency. Neither the employee nor the agency incurs a debt during this period of non-pay.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS)
Payroll deductions will cease for any employee that does not receive pay. The employee remains enrolled in FSAFEDS, but eligible health care claims incurred during a non-pay status will not be reimbursed until the employee returns to a pay status and allotments are successfully restarted. The remaining allotments are recalculated over the remaining pay periods to match the participant’s election amount.

Eligible dependent care expenses incurred during a non-pay status may be reimbursed up to whatever balance is in the employee’s dependent care account as long as the expense incurred during the non-pay status allows the employee (or spouse if married) to work, look for work or attend school full-time.

Federal Long Term Care (FLTCIP) Program
Payroll deductions will cease for any employee that does not receive pay. Coverage will continue so long as premiums are paid. If Long Term Care Partners (LTCP) does not receive payment for three consecutive pay periods, they will begin to direct bill the enrollee. The enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him/her on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
Employees should refer to the TSP website for specific information regarding TSP contributions, investments, and loans. If employees are paid retroactively for the time covered by a shutdown or furlough, regular employee contributions and appropriate agency matching contributions will be withheld and submitted.

Continuation of Pay (COP) under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA)/Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWCP)
The Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs which administers the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) advises in the event of a government shutdown, an employee who is disabled due to his or her injury is to be maintained in COP status during the shutdown unless the agency does not have monies available to pay the salary of that employee. If the agency does not have monies to pay salary during the shutdown but the agency’s budget is subsequently restored in such a way as to allow for retroactive payment of salary during the shutdown period, the employee should receive COP for any period of disability that occurs within the shutdown. In the event an agency is legally unable to pay COP to an employee because of a lapse in appropriations, the employee may file a claim for regular FECA wage loss compensation for that period.

Retirement benefits
If a shutdown furlough occurs during the 3 years of service prior to an employee’s retirement, generally there will be no effect on the high-3 average pay unless the furlough causes the employee to be in a non-pay status for more than six months during the calendar year.

Unemployment compensation
The Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees program provides benefits for eligible unemployed former civilian federal employees. The program is administered by states as agents of the federal government. This program is operated under the same terms and conditions that apply to regular State Unemployment Insurance. In general, the law of the state in which your last official duty station in federal civilian service was located will be the state law that determines eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits.

CG Support
The CG SUPRT program provides confidential professional counseling, education, and referral services to Coast Guard employees and their family members. Help is available for issues such as marital and family problems, drug abuse, depression and anxiety, work/life balance, work-related concerns and career issues. Confidential help is available 24 hours a day by clicking here or calling 1-855-CGSUPRT (247-8778). In addition, employees may want to contact their financial institution, credit union or learn about other options for financial assistance through the Thrift Savings Plan.

OPM guidance for shutdown furloughs
Click here for OPM guidance for shutdown furloughs.

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