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Does the Military Get Paid During a Government Shutdown?

Do military members continue to get paid during a government shutdown? The short answer is no, they do not. But that situation changes if Congress passes a funding resolution for military operations to keep money flowing to the Department of Defense even during a shutdown.

It’s happened before and is likely (according to some) to happen again. What’s not as likely to happen at press time? Getting such a resolution passed before the end-of-September deadline.

Will America Be Vulnerable During a Government Shutdown?

DoD officials warn that with a government shutdown and no continuing resolution or other legislation to keep the troops from missing paychecks, America will “remain protected,” according to one DoD press release.

But those who serve will be financially affected in ways that present very real threats to national security compared to the more existential problems keeping the federal budget from passing in the first place.

And missions outside CONUS may be “curtailed” according to the DoD, which will have a definite impact on readiness now and for the long term.

Who Is Holding Up Paychecks for the Troops?

Some on both sides of the aisle in Washington either refuse to acknowledge these long-term effects pointed out by DoD officials or are simply ignorant of them as they insist on partisan bickering instead of funding the government.

“A shutdown … puts the government on a complete standstill,” according to Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh who was quoted in a DoD press release.

Singh adds, “Military families would be impacted, of course. For folks that are not getting paychecks, that impacts how and when [they] can buy groceries, child care, all of these things. Commissaries would be closed on bases.”

While many hope Congress sorts out the infighting to avert a government shutdown, federal officials continue planning one. According to the DoD, readiness “will suffer as the training operations that keep service members sharp are curtailed.”

Related: Military Money 101

Ukraine War Support Threatened

One of the consequences of not funding the government over partisan bickering? A degradation of supporting efforts to prevent Russian expansion into neighboring sovereign nations.

While the most recent funding for support of Ukraine is already approved, the government’s ability to transport equipment and supplies to prevent an illegal Russian takeover of a neighboring country would likely be severely compromised. The funds and the gear are there; the ability to pay for the transfer could disappear during a shutdown.

Will the Military Get Paid During A Government Shutdown?

Will troops be paid during the government shutdown? We asked that question at the start of this article. While the short answer is no, it is also YES, at least in the knowledge that once government funding is agreed upon, troops will get back pay for any work done according to the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

According to the OPM official site, “After the lapse in appropriations has ended, employees who were required to perform excepted work during the lapse will receive retroactive pay for those work periods.”

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About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.