WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Air Force senior leaders recently released Air Force policy on the Pay and Allowance Continuation program for Airmen who become wounded or ill while supporting a combat contingency.
With the release of the Air Force PAC program policy, AFGM 34-02, Airmen will now officially have their own policy, tailored specifically for the Air Force.
PAC, which replaced the Combat-Related Injury Rehabilitation Pay program, was implemented in 2008. With the signing of the PAC policy, benefits for Airmen have been clarified.
“If an Airman gets injured or wounded in (the combat) theater, and is evacuated, there will be no gap in the Airman’s specialty pay or incentives,” said Tim Townes, Air Force Survivor Assistance program manager.. “Any special pay or entitlements that the Airman was receiving for the conditions of their deployment will continue up until the Airman is fit to return to duty, or up to 12 months.”
A major concern motivating publication of the policy was the uncertainty Airmen had of their benefits.
“There were a lot of Airmen who would receive the benefits of PAC, but not know why they’re getting it, or when it would turn off,” said Townes. “Some didn’t understand the difference between other service’s and the Air Force’s PAC.”
Like most people, Airmen make financial plans. With the Air Force PAC program, those plans become easier to make, and remove one variable that comes with a deployment.
“We know that many Airmen make financial plans based around deployments,” said Townes. “If their deployment pay stopped, it could have a devastating impact on their financial situation. That’s why the PAC is important.”
One major change included in the new policy is the granting of more authority to unit commanders. This benefits Airmen by leaving certain major decisions up to leaders who know them, and their specific mission in that unit.
“The unit commanders are now the ones who will determine if the Airman is fit to return to duty,” said Townes. “According to our criteria, Airmen stop receiving PAC when they can consistently make a positive contribution to the unit’s mission. Only the commander can make that decision, not an organization or office unrelated to what that unit or member does.”
For more information on the PAC program, contact your installation’s casualty assistance representative.