Shutdown could cause Coast Guard retirees to miss their next pension check

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Photo credit (USCG photo by PA1 Harry C. Craft III)

On day 34 of the government shutdown, we are learning that Coast Guard retirees are next at risk of losing the money they depend on: their pension.

Thousands of Coast Guard servicemembers are working without pay along with the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are furloughed or working without pay as well.  But now 50,000 other's family finances are about to be impacted: Coast Guard retirees.

Like other members of the military, the Coast Guard receives their paychecks on the first and fifteenth of each month. Pension checks are deposited on the same days, and according to the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, those may be in jeopardy come February.

"I know you are undoubtedly concerned by the duration of this funding hiatus, what it might mean for your pay and benefits, and how it will conclude…. While the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard will exhaust every option, there is a distinct possibility that Retiree Pay and Survivor's Benefit Plan (SBP) payments may be delayed if this lapse continues into late January,” said Admiral Charles W. Ray in a statement.

The last update coming from the agency was a sit-down video with both the Commandant and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard.

Also at risk are Survivor's Benefit Plan premiums, but the Coast Guard FAQ page says that even if the premiums are not paid, Coast Guard retirees will not lose their coverage.  This page links to all the resources Coast Guard service members and retirees might need to survive the shutdown and lack of pay.

In the meantime, organizations are still rallying together to support the Coastie community through food pantries, gas cards and grocery cards.

Until an appropriation for this fiscal year, a continuing resolution or alternative measure is passed, about 50,000 Coast Guard retirees could miss their pension checks.

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