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Retiring Military Pay Stops: Government Shutdown Shuts Out Final Active Duty Pay For Newly Retired Army Sergeant - Earl Owen

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10/7/13 – ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The government shutdown is hitting some military families especially hard. Some newly retired personnel are not getting their final active duty pay. Earl and Wendy Owen have been married for 27 years and raised their four children as a military family. Earl was a Master Sergeant in the Army for 26 years and Wendy works as a licensed practical nurse for the Department of Army.

The couple says their loyalty to their jobs runs deep, but lately it has been shaken because of what has happened to them as a result of the government shutdown.

“It’s baffling,” Earl says. “It’s hard to understand how a system can shut you out and not pay you what’s due you.”

Earl recently retired effective October 1. It is the same day the government shut down.

He say his final active duty paycheck is being withheld, all because finance officers who have to manually process those payment have been locked out of the government’s system.

“The Department of Defense and the services have basically frozen all payments until someone makes the decision to turn it on for limited use or until the settlement is completed,” he says.

And the Owens’ situation gets worse. Wendy is on what is called an “expected” status as a civilian nurse for the Army. She has been working without pay and is unsure of when or if the next check will come.

“Normal people like us, average people that are just trying to work and make a living, are the ones losing out,” she says.

Wendy and Earl say they are hanging onto their faith in a higher power to get them through these tough times, but they are losing faith in the people running the country.

“I understand what the fights are about,” says Earl. “I understand the big picture of long-term sustainment of the nation and entitlements and all those things, but what I don’t understand is that they’re doing it carrying out on the backs of everyday people who mostly have set their lives beside aside to serve the nation.”

Earl and Wendy have reached out to their congressional members hoping someone listens and intervenes.

They say they know as hard as their situation is becoming, they know others who are faring much worse. They pray for an end to the shutdown so their lives and everyone else affected can get back to what it was.

“We trust that the Lord is going to carry us through this regardless of what happens,” Earl says. 


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