nuthin' but a lee thang (stagger_lee77) wrote in bad_service,
nuthin' but a lee thang

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i believe that this was bad service, but what happens now?

hey all, i've got a question for you guys...

i was discharged from the united states army due to medical reasons, and i received a lump sum severance check for disablility. the total amount of severance pay is based off of this formula: your base pay X 2 X the # of years you have served (months are rounded to the next year if you have 6+ months) in active military service.

normally, this is cut and dry; if a servicemember only performed 3 years, then it's their base pay X 2 X 3. where there is a combination of years, the burden of proof is on the individual servicemember.

in my case, i completed 5 years and 8 months in the national guard before i switched to the regular, active duty component. on active duty, i completed another 5 years and 8 months. my NG time got compressed in a different formula that spits out the total amount of actual active duty time completed. (however, on my paychecks, i was paid the maxed out amount that i could receive at my pay grade and total years, my normal pay was for 11 years at the time i was discharged.)

i had to produce all of my contracts, discharge papers, and the like for the finance dept. i had no problem with that, because i already knew that i had to do that. on the working copy of my DD 214 (the only real proof than anyone can legally take for characterization of military service), it stated that i completed 7 years and 15 days on active duty. which is correct. so my understanding is: my severance pay= my base pay X 2 X 7=pretty big chunk of change.

my problem: my final, official copy of my DD 214 stated that i would receive compensation in the amount of $Y dollars, based on the fact that i completed 7 years of service. but when i cleared finance, a GS civilian pulled me off to the side and informed me that i would be receiving $Z. $Z= base pay X 2 X 6 years, not 7 years. the difference is ~$3000. when i formally inquired about this, the fort stewart finance office stated that "someone had an issue with the calculation of total time served, and it looks like they made a mistake that cannot be fixed in the system" and that's why i was being shortchanged. when i asked what my options were, i was told that i could "take the money for the 6 years and fight for the other year, or take NOTHING and fight for all of it."

i called the fort stewart finance department back 2 months later to inquire about my hard copy of my final leave and earnings statement (LES-think pay stub), because i never received it. the electronic version of my final LES showed that i received severance pay for 6 years of service, consistent with the mistake that they made. at that time, i was told, "ma'am, we must not have the correct address on you." which is bullshit, because i DID receive a hard copy of my W-2 from the army. if i received my W-2, then i should have received my final LES, because they were going to the same physical address.

i finally gave up, and spoke with a veteran's service officer, who pointed me in the direction of my congressman. i made a formal congressional complaint against the fort stewart finance office, and the defense finance and accounting system (DFAS)--my DD 214 is the only legal proof of how much i did/should receive. the veterans' administration takes that amount into account when they calculate any compensation benefits, because i have to pay back what i got from the army (via benefit garnishment--they take out a certain percentage and calculate how long it will take me to pay it all back before i can receive my TOTAL compensation bennies from VA). i shouldn't have to pay back money that i NEVER received. if my DD 214 was correct, i want the rest of my money. if my DD 214 is wrong, then i want a DD 215 (corrections to DD 214) issued. and i want a hard copy of my LES.

now, my congressman has actually got something done (although i don't think he knows it yet), because on my last bank statement, there was a random external deposit from the US army for ~$3k. i got a letter from him stating that they were still waiting on word from DFAS. i will write him a thank you letter sometime this week, and inform him on the situation as it stands. i still don't have a hard copy of my LES, though.

however, there is no reason in this world that i should have had to lodge a formal congressional complaint to get the rest of my money. the fort stewart finance office admitted that they made a mistake, and they refused to fix it. if i let that mistake slide, i would have lost money. now, i realize that if a soldier made that mistake, nothing will happen to the soldier. but if a civilian made that mistake, will anything happen to them? i don't want anyone to lose their job because of this, but shouldn't one have to have basic math skills to work in finance?

and what do i do now, other than following up with my congressman?

thanks! sorry about the length, but i want to make sure that i go about this the right way.
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