Some U.S. Navy sailors have been forced to take out loans after being shorted on pay, reports Military.com.
The sailors earned increases in housing allowances after getting married or relocating somewhere where the cost of living is higher. The loans are meant to help these service members make ends meet.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Vice President Gillian Gonzalez in an interview with Military.com said the issue is happening everywhere, and that geography does not have much to do with it. He also said the group has seen an increase in loan applications from sailors but did not have an exact number regarding what the increase was.
Cmdr. Matt Knight, public affairs officer at Navy Personnel Command, said the Defense Department requires the Navy to process Basic Allowance for Housing change requests within 30 days, although delays still occur.
“Navy Personnel Command and our subordinate commands take every measure to ensure the volume of transactions does not exceed our capacity, but occasionally backlogs do occur due to a variety of reasons,” he told Military.com.
“These backlogs are resolved as quickly as possible to limit the impacts to sailors.”
Gonzalez said one sailor had not been paid in three months due to an enlistment extension and pay error, forcing the sailor to use up savings. Others have spoken out about these issues on social media.
Military.com also reported that a personnel specialist first class who asked not to be identified since he is not authorized to speak with the press said the underlying issue “lies in the consolidation of personnel support and customer support detachments that began in 2017 and appears to be understaffed.”
He added that “shutting down dozens of processing centers took that transaction load and dropped it in one building’s worth of people.”
“Our only means of communication with them is through [MyNavy Career Center, or MNCC], which isn’t always great because it’s [mostly] civilians with a knowledge database … all they can do is look up tickets and give a status.”