Thursday Three is Here!

September 03, 2020

Back to school season. Cue the round of deep sighs…. We’re talking about it in a blog this week, complete with resources to support you and your favorite military kids during a school year like no other.
Also this week, MFAN participated in two panels at the (virtual) Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) Fall Workshop – talking about how to best ensure military and veteran families are financially stable. We’re so grateful for AMBA’s partnership and support!
We’ve shared recently that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Amendment was passed. The full language for that amendment has finally been published and you can find it here. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post explaining what the amendment changes and how it can benefit your family’s finances. Spoiler alert: The amendment is retroactive and applies to stop movement orders issued on or after March 1, 2020.
Oh, and happy belated 104th birthday to the Marine Corps Reserve. You don’t look a day older than 100.

Here’s what we’re hearing about this week:

Photo by Alexander Mils,

Before you get too excited… 

If you heard the words “deferment of payroll taxes,” there might have been a sigh of relief if you, like many folks these days, have felt the financial impact of a global pandemic.  


By executive order, the employee’s share of the Social Security tax (6.2%can be deferred from September 1st through December 31st for employees making less than $4,000 pretax biweekly. 


While this might sound like free money, or at least an interest-free loan, it’s more complicated than that. The IRS has stated that employers will be responsible for collecting the deferred taxes from employees and paying them by April 30, 2021 or incurring additional expenses.  


Your pay might briefly increase between now and the end of the year, but the beginning of next year would be a double whammy as social security tax is again pulled from your pay AND your employer (DFAS or otherwise) is deducting the monies you owe from your brief tax respite. For you old school Popeye fans, this is not much different than, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” 


So, what should you do? Any adjustments or pay changes will be handled by DFAS for the service member in your family. If you are in crisis and the extra money is the difference between meeting your family’s basic needs or not – take advantage of this brief break knowing that you’ll have to plan for when those monies are pulled from a subsequent LES 


If you can manage without touching the extra pay? Put it somewhere safe – like a savings account – so that when it’s time to repay, it doesn’t negatively impact your bottom line. 

Photo by Capt. J. Scott Detweiler, Joint Force Headquarters, Vermont National Guard Public Affairs 

GAO to review Army’s sexual harassment program 

The story of Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s death at Fort Hood rocked the military community. As internal reviews were conducted at the installation, and #IamVanessaGuillen trended with service members and veterans coming forth with their own experiences with sexual harassment in the Army – this became much more than a single devastating story.  


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to conduct a review of the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program (SHARP). Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) requested the review in July. The GAO will assess the scope and timeline for its implementation in the next few months 


This is not the first review that’s been requested as a result of recent tragedies at Fort Hood. Last week lawmakers also asked GAO for a review of the Army’s missing persons policy They’ve requested that review be completed by GAO by December 2021. 

Pandemic-friendly entertainment options

You likely know Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) for morale-boosting high-quality performances for troops and their families around the world. Well a global pandemic isn’t going to stop AFE from delivering great resources and online entertainment.  

Check out the newly released AFE Resource Guide for Active-Duty Military and Families – September 2020. From therapeutic craft kits, to healthy recipes, to sports/gaming tournaments, and much more – there’s something for everyone. And, don’t let the “active-duty” part of that resource guide deter you from checking out what’s being offered if your family isn’t an active-duty family. Lots of these resources are virtual and accessible to anyone who’s interested!