First Command Offers Help During Government Shutdown

First Command Bank remains committed to providing solutions to help meet your everyday financial challenges. To support our military and federal banking clients during the government shutdown, we are offering several different options to help these clients deal with potential financial hardships. For more information on how First Command Bank is helping, please refer to the following FAQ.

Government Shutdown FAQs

Status of Active Duty Military Pay

On Monday, September 30, the White House announced the President signed into law H.R. 3210, the “Pay Our Military Act,” which provides continuing paychecks during the government shutdown for members of the Armed Forces, including Reserve Component personnel who perform active service during such period, and for civilian personnel and contractors of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security (in the case of the Coast Guard) who are providing support to members of the Armed Forces.

The law ensures continued pay for civilian employees of the Defense Department and Pentagon contractors whom Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel determines “are providing support to members of the Armed Forces.” Although these federal employees will continue to receive pay, it is possible that their pay may be delayed.

It was unclear on September 30 how Secretary Hagel might apply that authority — whether he would spare only a few civilians and contractors from furloughs, or large numbers of them. Not surprisingly, First Command Bank has received many questions from clients who are concerned about what the government shutdown will mean for them. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions.

Will government benefits be paid for retired military, Social Security, VA and other programs?

To the best of our knowledge these programs will not be impacted by the shutdown. But there are many uncertainties. For the most accurate, up-to-date information on the status of particular programs, we advise our clients to consult official government sources such as:

Who is eligible for pay coverage from First Command Bank?

Our pay coverage program is designed for federal employees who (1) continue to work during the government shutdown and (2) already have their federal pay on direct deposit with First Command Bank. Federal workers who are furloughed — and therefore not working — are not eligible for a payroll advance. Generally speaking, eligible employees are those who have been designated by Secretary Hagel as “providing support to members of the Armed Forces.”

When will First Command Bank begin pay coverage?

First Command Bank is prepared to cover the payroll of impacted clients. However, some reports indicate that federal workers may not see their pay affected right away. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs” suggests that employees will receive the Oct. 15 paycheck as it would cover hours worked prior to the shutdown. Here is an excerpt:

Will employees receive a paycheck for hours worked prior to a lapse in appropriations?

Under Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance issued in 1980 (below), employees will receive this paycheck. Although the payroll for the last pay period before the lapse will be processed potentially during a period of furlough, the minimum number of payroll staff necessary for this process will be excepted from furlough for the minimum time required to issue the checks, including checks for the last pay period before the lapse. This guidance can be found in OMB’s August 28, 1980, Bulletin No. 80-14, Shutdown of Agency Operations Upon Failure by the Congress to Enact Appropriations, paragraph 3.b.(1) (Appropriations and funds). OMB has reviewed and concurs in this answer.

I am a federal employee who is continuing to work during the government shutdown, and I believe my pay will be delayed. Do I need to call the bank or will my pay be covered automatically?

If you believe your October 31 pay will be delayed, we ask that eligible First Command Bank clients provide the expected amount of their direct deposit and verification of their continuing employment status during the shutdown. (For example — a copy of an email or letter from your agency stating you are not subject to a furlough.) We will provide pay coverage only to those clients who have notified us that they wish to participate in this program.

We request you send us a Secure Message via OnCommand or contact us at 888-763-7600.

Is First Command Bank lending me the money?

This is a payroll advance as opposed to a traditional loan. In the event of a government shutdown and you meet the criteria, First Command Bank will cover the amount of normal net pay for eligible clients (see criteria above). Once the normal direct deposit begins again, the amount that First Command Bank provided to you will be deducted from your account. There will be no fees or interest charged on the advance.

I have direct deposit with First Command Bank but I am furloughed and therefore not eligible for a payroll advance. Are you offering any other forms of assistance during the shutdown?

We have various other programs in place to help DoD civilians and other federal government employees affected by a government shutdown or sequestration. First Command Bank will make the following provisions to assist clients:

  • Loan Assistance — We will work with clients on any First Command Bank loan payments.
  • Penalty-free early C.D. withdrawals — Any early withdrawal penalties will be waived for clients who need to redeem a First Command Bank Certificate of Deposit prior to its maturity.
  • Secured Lines of Credit — We are ready to help clients use their non-tax qualified mutual fund as collateral for a low interest rate line of credit.
  • Credit card accounts — First Command Bank Visa cardholders will be offered priority processing for increases to credit limits and deferments of monthly payments. We will also waive cash advance fees during a shutdown.

What about pay after October 31, 2013?

As of now, this program will cover October 31, 2013 pay. If the shutdown continues past this date, we will review the program and determine if additional support is warranted.

If you have questions about any of your First Command Bank accounts, please contact us via Secure Message in OnCommand or at 888.763.7600 so we can work together to explore your options and find solutions that will help you meet any potential financial challenges due to the government shutdown.

Thanks for choosing First Command Bank. We’re committed to helping you get your financial life Squared Away®.