Fleming Amendment to Ensure Veterans are Paid on Time Passes Out of Committee

May 21, 2010

Washington, May 20 – Representative John Fleming, M.D. made the following statement in support of his amendment to H.R. 5136, The FY11 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Fleming’s amendment, which passed unanimously in the House Armed Services Committee, requires the Department of Defense to ensure our nation’s veterans are consistently paid on the 1st of every month, aligning their pay dates with those of active duty personnel. Currently, veterans are not guaranteed to receive their benefit check by the 1st of every month, which often causes hardship and inconvenience for those who have recurring monthly expenses. The NDAA is expected to be on the House floor for a vote next week:

“Mr. Chairman,

I was surprised to learn recently that current law allows pay dates for our military retirees to be delayed beyond the 1st of the month in instances when the 1st of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a federal holiday.

Presently, our veterans are paid their benefits on the 1st of every month, unless the 1st falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a federal holiday – then the pay date is pushed to the 1st business day of the month. Each year, this results in “late” paydays in some months: For instance, the payday in January of this year wasn’t until Monday, January 4th, because Friday, January 1st was a holiday, and the 2nd and 3rd fell on Saturday and Sunday, respectfully. Current law provides that the end-of-month payday for active duty personnel is the 1st of the succeeding month in which the pay was accrued, and in instances when the 1st falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the payday becomes the last business day of the month in which the pay was earned.

Mr. Chairman, this is an unnecessary hardship and inconvenience for our nation’s veterans, many of whom, like us, have automatic payments withdrawn from their bank accounts in the first days of each month for mortgages, car notes, and other monthly expenses. Late paydays unfairly put our military retirees at risk of over drawing their bank accounts.

My amendment would simply require the Department of Defense’s accounting arm – the Defense Finance and Accounting Service – to align the end-of-month pay dates for military retirees with those of active duty personnel to ensure our veterans are consistently paid on the 1st of every month.

Because of statutory limitations, the amendment only covers retirees, not annuitants and survivors.

And importantly, it’s budget neutral over the 5 and 10-year horizons, and does not violate PAYGO requirements.

I want to thank the committee for its support of this important provision – especially John Chapla at MILPERS for his hard work on this. I yield back the balance of my time.”

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