Guidance for the Fort Benning Community during the government shutdown

Fort Benning calls many furloughed civilians back to work:

To our Fort Benning Community,

We understand this is a time of uncertainty, but we will get through this together.

As an official source for information during the government shutdown, this website will be updated regularly to provide you with the most current information regarding post facility hours and services.

Nearly 1,000 of Fort Benning’s civilian employees have been recalled to work today based on provisions in the Pay Our Military Act, passed by Congress and signed by the President hours before the shutdown occurred Sept. 30.

While the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians, under the current reading of the law, the standard of “support to members of the Armed Forces” focuses on those employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of Soldiers and their families.

A memorandum from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, published Friday, provided Fort Benning leadership with additional, refined guidance. The new guidance expanded the sets of circumstances under which DoD civilian personnel can be granted an “exception,” and return to work during the ongoing government shutdown.

To learn more about the SecDef's guidance, visit http://www.benning.army.mil/mcoe/PAO/newsreleases/2013/MCoE%20Release%20-%20Furlough%20Recall%20OCT%202013.pdf.

Civilian employees should continue to check here for any changes to work status or for more information. Additional personnel information is available at http://www.opm.gov.

Fort Benning remains open. Our mission is to prepare Soldiers and leaders in support of our nation's defense and we will continue to do so through this time of uncertainty. Further, our Fort Benning command team is committed to taking care of our Soldiers, Families and civilians. To those impacted financially, continue to prepare and plan as much as possible to deal with your individual situations. There are many programs and services on post, such as Army Emergency Relief and Army Community Service, that stand ready to provide assistance when and where it is needed.

One Force, One Fight.

How is the government shutdown affecting Fort Benning:

AAFES services?

AAFES logo AAFES will be open to serve customers regardless of a government shutdown. While a government shutdown would impact the government, AAFES is largely unaffected because the Exchange is a non-appropriated fund instrumentality. This means the majority of its budget does not rely on tax dollars. However, some transactions may be delayed, such as the purchase of firearms which require background checks or other federal government actions.

Commissary?

Commisary Logo The Fort Benning Commissary is open during its normal business hours.

Directorate of Human Resources Services?

DES Logo ID CARDS: The Main Post ID Card Section is open.

INPROCESSING (POC phone number is 706-545-8796, Ms. Stutson): Inprocessing will is for normal operations.

OUTPROCESSING (POC phone is 706-545-8796, Ms. Stutson): Outprocessing is open for normal operations. S1s can email requests for installation clearance papers. Final clearance appointments are conducted at Bldg 2622.

ARMY CAREER AND ALUMNI PROGRAM (ACAP)(POC phone number is 706-545-6014, Mr. Perez): ACAP is open with full function capability.

CASUALTY BRANCH (POC phone number is 706-545-7116, Ms. Gray): The Casualty Branch is open with full function capability.

TRAINEE/STUDENT BRANCH (TSB) (POC phone number is 706-545-8811, Ms. Jacobs): TSB is open to support the installation IET mission.

TRANSITION CENTER (POC phone number is 706-545-5424, Mr. Robateau): The Transition Center staff is open for normal separation/retirement processing.

STRENGTH MANAGEMENT (POC phone number is 706-545-3768, Mr. Love): The Strength Management Section is open with for inprocessing orders operation.

REASSIGNMENT SECTION (POC phone number is 706-545-0629, Ms. Rowan): The Reassignment Section is open to resume reassignment operations.

The following Military Personnel Division Sections are open: Military Personnel Records, Installation Voting Office, Promotions/Personnel Actions, Personnel Automation (eMILPO).

EDUCATION CENTER, Bldg 2602, Soldiers' Plaza (POC phone number is 706-545-7397/7677, Mike Hodge): The Education Center is open. CRM, BSEP and Testing is available.

Congress has not passed either a budget or a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. Tuition Assistance (TA) for classes starting on or after 1 October 2013 are suspended until further notice. Effective 1 October, all Soldier accounts in GoArmyEd have been placed on hold and they will not be able to process any new TA requests.

The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from obligating or expending federal funds in advance of or in excess of an appropriation by Congress. As such, the Army will not be able to honor all of the FY14 TA requests that have been requested in GoArmyEd prior to 1 October 2013 with a class start date of 1 October or after. GoArmyEd will reject all approved and pending TA requests for classes scheduled to start on or after 1 October 2013 until either a budget or a CR is approved by Congress and signed by the President.

Soldiers should be aware of the potential debt they may incur with their school should they attend classes that are rejected as a result of this budgetary crisis and are encouraged to monitor GoArmyEd for updates. When this issue is resolved, the holds will be removed and Soldiers will once again be able to request TA through GoArmyEd. However, Soldiers will not be able to request TA for classes with a start date during the suspension period. In the interim, Soldiers can use GI Bill benefits, if applicable -- either the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, or use another funding source. We regret having to take this action and hope that this is resolved in a timely manner.

ARMY SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM (ASAP): ASAP is open and can perform the following functions:
Clinical Counseling, Bldg 75. POC phone number is 706-545-7010, Mr. Reese.
Employee Assistance Program, Bldg 241. POC phone number is 706-545-7462, Ms. Dikes.
Drug Testing, Bldg 241. POC phone number is 706-545-7462, Ms. Dikes.

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE DIVISION (ASD): ASD is open.

If not otherwise posted above, the POC is Mr. Wilson, 706-545-4002.

Emergency services?

DES Logo Fort Benning emergency services are not affected by the government shutdown, and access control points will continue normal operational hours.

Financial Services for Soldiers?

AER Logo Army Emergency Relief (AER) has a plan to provide expedited assistance to Soldiers and Families that are affected by a disruption in pay caused by the government shutdown.

AER activities have been “excepted” by IMCOM, thereby ensuring AER’s mission of taking care of Soldiers will continue throughout this period.

Soldiers should check with their own banking institutions to see what services or accommodations are being made, given the situation.

Housing?

Housing LogoMessage from the Villages of Benning: The Villages of Benning recognizes the anxiety that some of you may be feeling associated with the government shutdown, but we expect all services to continue as usual.

Our offices, including our maintenance department, will continue with business as usual. We are committed to continued service to our residents and will work with you regarding any individual challenges that may occur.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know at (706)-685-3939. We value your service to our country and appreciate your choice to live on Post!

ID Card Section

ID Section LogoThe Main Post ID Card Section is open. (POC phone number is 706-545-8796, Ms. Stutson): Inprocessing is open for normal operations.

Medical Services?

MEDAC Logo Medical and dental services are not affected by the government shutdown. Martin Army Community Hospital and troop clinics will operate on normal schedules. Please call 706-544-CARE (2273) if you have any questions or concerns.

MWR services and programs?

MWR Logo MWR is largely unaffected by the government shutdown. Child development centers, Army Emergency Relief, and the Soldier Family Assistance Center will continue with business as usual. All ACS services essential to the wellbeing of Soldiers and Families (such as AER) will continue with business as usual. Please visit www.benningmwr.com for more information.

Schools?

Fort Benning Schools Logo Fort Benning children are continuing to go to school as normal during this government shutdown.

Military Personnel

Military personnel are not subject to furlough and will continue to report for duty, however, in case of a potential 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.

The shutdown will not affect payments to retirees and annuitants as those funds come from a retirement trust fund.

Military Personnel-Related Issues Under the Pay Our Military Act (POMA)

  1. Except as specifically excluded under paragraph 2, pay and allowances under chapters 3, 5, 7, and 8 of title 37, United States Code, are payable to members of the Armed Forces who perform active service during the current period of the lapse in appropriations.
  2. Benefits excluded from payment under POMA include, but are not limited to:
    • Pay and Allowances for Foreign Students at Service Academies
    • Savings Deposit Program Interest
    • Thrift Savings Plan Breakage Fees
    • Monetary Reimbursement of Adoption Expenses
    • Monetary reimbursement for funeral expenses
    • Payment of Survivor Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
    • Monetary reimbursement for funeral travel
    • Monetary reimbursement for travel associated with dignified transfer
  3. The following additional guidance is applicable to payments to members of the Reserve Component under POMA:
    • Except as specifically excluded under paragraph 2, pay and allowances under chapters 3, 5, 7, and 8 of title 37, United States Code, attributable to “active service” (AGR, ADSW, ADOS, active duty, and annual training) performed during the period of the lapse in appropriations are payable to members of the Reserve Component.
    • Members of the Reserve Component cannot be paid payments that are not attributable to the performance of “active service”, which includes, but is not limited to:
      • Performance of inactive duty training (including, but not limited to, Funeral Honors Duty Allowance, Muster Duty Allowance, Electronic Screening Allowance, and allowances for travel outside of the normal commuting distance).
      • Participation in Precommissioning Programs (except when on active duty).
      • Participation in the Armed Forces Health Professional Scholarship Program (except when performing active duty).

Should I expect a delay in my pay date?

Active, Reserve, and National Guard members will be paid on time for pay entitlements earned Sept. 30 or earlier. Military members cannot be paid for duty performed after the expiration of the current CRA on Sept. 30. Once another CRA or an appropriations act is signed into law, normal disbursement of military pay will resume. Military members will be paid for duty performed during the shutdown. Retirees: Military retirees and annuitants are not paid from Continuing Resolution Act (CRA) appropriations, so those payments will continue as scheduled.

Will I get paid for my past work?

For any time up to when the CRA expires, active duty military, Reservists and National Guard members completing duty will be paid. The current CRA expires at midnight on Sept. 30. Active and Reserve military members will be paid on time for pay earned prior to the expiration of the CRA.

Will I remain on duty?

Active duty and reservists on active duty will continue to report for duty.

What if I am a civilian employee who performs National Guard or Reserve duty while furloughed? Is it a dual compensation situation?

It is not a dual compensation situation because furloughed employees are not in a pay status. You will be carried in a Leave Without Pay (LWOP) status. However, you will not be paid for any active duty military duty during the Government shutdown until after appropriations act are enacted.

In-processing:

(POC phone number is 706-545-8796, Ms. Stutson): Inprocessing will re-open tomorrow, 4 OCT, for normal operations. Soldiers who were on hold will commence in-processing on that date.

Out-processing:

(POC phone is 706-545-8796, Ms. Stutson): Outprocessing is open for normal operations. S1s can requests for installation clearance papers. Final clearance appointments are conducted at Bldg 2622.

DEERS:

DEERS office is open. Appointments can be scheduled on-line at https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil or by calling 706- 545-4086. For emergency support, please call 706-685-7516.

Transition:

The Transition Center is open to out-process RHU/Trainee Chapter actions. For more information, call 706-545-5424.

Civilian Personnel

All employees should continue to communicate directly with their supervisors for specific instructions regarding pay. Civilian employees may also seek additional personnel information at http://www.opm.gov.

Civilian Pay:

Civilian employees will be paid on the regular pay date for that portion of duty performed prior to Oct. 1. Once a Continuing Resolution or an appropriations act is signed into law, normal disbursement of pay will resume for pay earned after employees return to work. For furloughed employees, Congress will have to provide authority for retroactive payments to be made.

Contract Personnel

In most cases, contractors at Fort Benning will not be affected by a potential shutdown of the federal government. Individual contractors who have questions should contact their Contracting Officer Representative (COR).

Contract Pay:

As a revolving fund organization, DFAS will continue to make contract and vendor payments whenever it has all information needed to certify the payment. Whether contractors should continue to work during the shutdown depends upon factors including contract terms, funding and the work to be performed. The impact of expiration of the CRA on contract performance is a matter for the contracting activity to address with the contractor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Impacts to Pay

General Questions

Furlough FAQs



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Questions? : Email Us @ usarmy.benning.imcom.mbx.web@mail.mil