WASHINGTON – Senior Army leaders recognize that members of the civilian workforce may face financial hardship in the event of a furlough. This financial resource article provides links to useful information that may assist in dealing with the financial situation resulting from a furlough.
One of the first documents to review is your current Earnings and Leave Statement, as this will list current deductions, to include allotments, and how to make modifications that may increase “cash flow” and potentially minimize the full impact of lost wages. Understand that any changes, e.g., reducing tax exemptions, temporarily suspending TSP contribution, etc., may have a tax implication. Seek financial advice.
Those experiencing a financial hardship due to the furlough should contact financial institutions early on to discuss options, and not wait until they have fallen behind any financial obligations.
The following is a list of resources for consideration and may answer questions people might have.
-ARMY furlough FAQs:
-Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP:
Employees may access their Thrift Savings Plan at http://www.tsp.gov or contact their agency representative for information. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers TSP, has posted guidance regarding the effect of non-pay status on TSP accounts at www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/oc95-4.pdf, and specific guidance regarding the impact of sequestration and furlough at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/oc13-7.pdf. They can also be reached at 1.877.968.3778 for additional information.
- Warning from the TSP Board: Third-party mobile applications:
There are a number of mobile applications that reference the Thrift Savings Plan and may prompt people for their TSP account credentials. These applications are NOT sponsored by TSP. The TSP cannot endorse any information or advice provided by third-party applications. More important, providing TSP account credentials to third-party applications may jeopardize the security of TSP accounts.
For more information on keeping accounts safe, see the Security Center on the TSP website or contact the ThriftLine at 1.TSP.YOU.FRST (1.877.968.3778).
- Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, coordinator:
The uncertainty of a government furlough may leave some federal employees feeling stressed and anxious. However, employees can access their employee assistance coordinator, and possibly obtain help with financial questions. Consultation may include assistance with budgeting or creditors, although EAP is designed to help with most issues or concerns. The resources of the EAP are available for employees and managers with both personal and work-related concerns at no expense to the employee.
- OPM memorandum policy guidance to standardize the Order of Precedence When Gross Pay is Not Sufficient to Permit All Deductions:
This guidance provides payroll processing activities involved in ordering deductions when pay is insufficient to permit all deductions. This posting is provided to help employees understand the order in which authorized deductions from their pay will be processed.
- OPM’s administrative furlough guidance:
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, has prepared human resources guidance for agencies and employees on administrative furloughs. An administrative furlough is a planned event by an agency which is designed to absorb reductions necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or other budget situation other than a lapse in appropriations.
- OPM’s pay and leave furlough guidance:
This page provides information on shutdown furloughs.
- DoD’s furlough guidance:
This site provides guidance and answers to frequently asked questions as part of DoD’s efforts to keep employees informed.
Sequestration and your TSP account:
Read the TSP fact sheet at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/oc13-7.pdf to get answers to questions about the impact of a furlough on TSP contributions as well as alternatives for accessing TSP funds if faced with significant financial hardship as a result of a furlough.
- Furlough calculator:
DoD employees now have a convenient way to calculate their loss in pay if furloughed. http://www.first.army.mil/(S(fn1awp45zh35ncmubtwpkbf5))/documents\pdf\Furlough-Pay-Calculator.xlsx
To help track expenses and build a monthly budget, use the following worksheet for at least two or three consecutive months. This will give a sense of where you are spending money and changes you can make to improve your situation.
- Civilian human resources agency list of employee assistance providers: