Here's How A Government Shutdown Would Impact Military Pay And Benefits

Military Benefits
US Marine Corps

Editor’s Note: This article by Amy Bushatz originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.


If Congress does not pass a spending bill by midnight Friday, the U.S. government will once again shut down until a deal is reached.

President Donald Trump has expressed support for a Republican-backed continuing resolution that would extend government funding through Feb. 16, but it hasn't passed yet.

How would a shutdown impact military and retiree pay and benefits or payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs?

Although the Defense Department has not yet released specific guidance for 2018, it has released such information in the past. Here's what we know:

Troop pay

Active-duty troops, as well as Guard and Reserve members, would not get paid during a shutdown unless Congress passes a separate piece of legislation to do so.

That means if a shutdown starts Jan. 19 and stretches into the next several weeks, troops' Feb. 1 pay will be delayed.

Retiree pay and SBP payments

Military retirees would still receive their regular pension checks in the event of a shutdown, as would those receiving a Survivor's Benefit Plan (SBP) payment.

That's because those funds are paid from a different account that is not impacted by the annual funding bill Congress has yet to pass.

Troops killed in action

Newly bereaved family members would not receive the Pentagon's $100,000 death gratuity during a shutdown or military-funded travel to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, or elsewhere for the dignified transfer or military funeral or memorial.

Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) payments, however, would not be affected.

VA disability pay and GI Bill benefits

Like retiree pay, VA disability pay and GI Bill payments are both funded through different legislation than is at risk on the Hill. For that reason, those checks are unlikely to be affected by a brief shutdown.

However, during the last shutdown in 2013, VA officials warned that if the closure extended beyond several weeks, disability checks were unlikely to go out to more than 5.1 million veterans.

Military moves and travel

In the past, military families about to make a permanent change of station(PCS) move or troops preparing for temporary travel (TDY) were told that their travel would be on hold until after the shutdown.

Although guidance has not yet been issued this year, the same would likely be true.

Medical care on base

In the past, the DoD has warned that while military hospitals would stay open for emergencies, inpatient care and acute care, all other types of care -- including elective procedures and primary-care appointments -- would be canceled.

In the event of a shutdown this week, you should contact your clinic or hospital to find out more about your scheduled care.

On-base child care

In the past, on-base military child care centers have stayed open on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether they were seen as "essential." The same would likely be true this year.

On-base schools

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools stayed open during the 2013 shutdown, and the same would likely be true this year.

On-base schools that are operated by local school districts also would not be affected by a shutdown.

Commissaries, exchanges, and MWR

Military exchanges will remain open during a shutdown thanks to the way they are funded.

Stateside commissaries, however, would likely close as they did in 2013, while those overseas would remain open since they are considered "essential."

MWR activities would likely temporarily shutter on a case-by-case basis due to how those services are funded.

More from Military.com:

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

Read More Show Less

No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less