FAQs about Lapse in Appropriations

Updated: 1/18/2019 at 2200

Pay

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Once the Coast Guard has a FY19 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or passage of an alternative funding measure, it will take approximately 3-5 business days to process service-member pay and benefits.

There are no expected delays in issuance of employer tax forms. The IRS Form W-2 and 1095-C - The required 2018 IRS tax forms W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) and 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) will be mailed no later than 31 Jan 2019 to the member’s mailing address listed in Direct Access. Members who have selected to opt out of receiving the paper forms will be able to download their tax forms from DirectAccess and will not receive a paper copy in the mail. Please refer to ALCGPSC 158/18 for more information.

Extensive research and legal analysis between the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, and the administration determined the Coast Guard had the authority to execute the remainder of pay and allowances for December. This authority does not extend into the new calendar year.

We recommend not closing your existing accounts until direct deposit funds are deposited into the new financial institute. If a member closes their existing account and incorrect information was entered on the new direct deposit request, pay may be delayed. CG PPC will have to wait until the bank returns the money and will then reroute payment into the new account (after the correct information has been entered into Direct Access).

All pay and personnel transactions in Direct Access will function as normal. For example, all allotments, Thrift Savings Plan, taxes, etc., will continue to be allocated from your paycheck. PPC will continue to post pay slips so members can see what transactions have processed. However, until an appropriation is identified, the Coast Guard will not be able to execute pay to your account.

Yes.

In order for the Coast Guard to pay its active duty, reserve, and civilian members, we require a FY19 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or an alternative budget measure. The lapse in appropriations also covers units funded via the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriation.

Our Service is not part of the Department of Defense appropriation, instead we fall under the Department of Homeland Security appropriation—one that has not yet been enacted into law for FY19.  Coast Guard leadership has been continuously working inside and outside of the Service--including prior to the lapse in appropriation--the help resolve this issue.  We continue to work towards mitigating the effects of the partial government shutdown and providing pay to personnel as soon as possible.

Travel

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Coast Guard Active Duty and Reserve members shall execute orders to Class "A" and Class "C" Schools during the lapse in appropriations as they are able. Please refer to ALCOAST 007/19.

 

Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) holders are exempt from the requirement to utilize their GTCC for common carrier transportation expenses (e.g. airfare, train tickets, etc.) while on official government travel. As an alternative, GTCC holders may use the Centrally Billed Account (charge their orders/TONO/Line of Accounting) for these expenses, thus reducing the impact on their GTCC credit limits and monthly statements. Other expenses associated with travel during training may be placed on GTCCs as authorized.

 

In regards to advances during the lapse in appropriations, the CG is not only authorized to make advances during the lapse in appropriations.

 

In regards to PCS, until the Coast Guard receives a FY19 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or a passage of an alternative measure, PCS travel/allowances cannot be funded. Members that are unable to attend training and/or PCS should contact FORCECOM and EPM as early as possible for additional guidance.

Unfortunately, delinquency emails are system generated.  Travel managers also received these emails for accounts that were 30, 60 or 90 days past due.  Cardholders also received these automated emails at 1 and 15 days past due.  Do not 'disregard' since it is due, but program administrators understand that payment may not be timely due to no claims reimbursement. Additional guidance will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

Travel managers can submit a rushed paper application for a GTCC.  This process is outlined on the travel manager page of the GTCC site.  They can be delivered within two days and are delivered by FedEx and must be physically received and sometimes require a signature. https://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Human-Resources-CG-1/Personnel-Service-Center-PSC/BOPS/PSC-BOPS-R/GOVTrvl/Travel_Card/Travel_Manager/#How_do_I_process_a_travel_card_application_request

Yes.  If unpaid accounts reach 31 days past due, JPMC will reset the due dates back by 30 days in order to keep accounts in an active status and prevent adverse actions while travel claims are not being paid.  If necessary, this process will continue through the duration of the lapse in order to prevent accounts from being closed and the assessment of late fees, which usually occurs at 96 days past due and referral to creditors at 180 days past due. 


Regardless of the lapse in appropriations, GTCC restrictions remain unchanged during the lapse. The GTCC shall not be used for local travel, leave, or dependent expenses. The GTCC is only for official travel to cover authorized and reimbursable expenses. Members should follow guidance in ALCOAST 007/19 regarding travel restrictions and COMDTINST 4600.18 (series) regarding proper GTCC use. Even though payments are delayed during the lapse, travel claims must still be submitted within the customary deadlines so they will be ready for prompt payment once appropriations are restored.

TDY travel that is performed after the shutdown will not be able to be reimbursed until after funding authority is restored. Members are still required to submit travel claims within three days of the completion of travel, and travel AOs shall continue to process all advances requests, travel claims, and supplemental claims as normal. To assist in funding TDY travel, current guidance has allowed travel to be funded from a centrally funded account.

Reimbursement will not be available until after funding authority is restored.

Yes. No action will be taken on members’ accounts by the bank (JP Morgan Chase) until February 12, 2019. If the lapse of appropriation still exists on January 29, 2019, additional policy guidance and direction for management of delinquent accounts will be provided. Refer to ALCGPSC 161/18 for further guidance.

Yes. All Travel AOs should continue to process all advances requests, travel claims, and supplemental claims as normal. PPC will continue to process these, awaiting appropriations. Delayed reimbursements should be expected.

If you are in receipt of orders, you shall execute them unless otherwise advised by Education Training Quota Management Command (ETQC). Schools for which orders have not been issued are dependent on future appropriations. Reference ALCOAST 425/18 for further information.

Yes. All PCS activity continues as normal except any claims for travel or personally procured moves. All Travel AOs should continue to process all advances requests, travel claims, and supplemental claims as normal. Members should expect delays on payments and advances until funding is restored.

Financial Obligations

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We encourage each member to work with their creditor(s) in this unique situation. The Coast Guard has supplied a notification letter to assist in explaining the budgetary circumstances faced by the partial government shutdown. Ultimately, the member is responsible for their financial obligations, and unfortunately creditors are under no obligation to provide relief. Please consider that when an appropriation is restored, all allotments will be deducted and processed as normal. For example, if a payment is made by alternate means other than a scheduled allotment, the allotment payment will still be paid as normal when an appropriation is restored and paychecks are executed. This could possibly lead to a double payment.

When an appropriation is restored, all allotments will be deducted and processed out of your paycheck as normal.

For example: If you set up an allotment to pay your mortgage through your Coast Guard pay, funding will not be transferred until an appropriated is identified. Thus, if you pay the bill through alternate means during the lapse in appropriations, you would end up paying it twice once the allotment payments are resumed. In order to avoid duplicate payments, ensure you contact your financial institution or other billers (including child support) to discuss options.

Any automatic payments or transfers that are set up internal to your bank (i.e., not through Direct Access) are your responsibility. For example, many members set up automatic payments using options provided by their banks (e.g., investments, utilities, escrow accounts, etc.) Members are recommended to review these automatic payments and adjust them accordingly.

NOTE: If not done, you may incur insufficient funds notices and penalties from your bank.

Common Allotments and Recommended Action*

 

Mortgage/Rent/Escrow Accounts

 

Member Action Needed. Contact your lender to make arrangements.

SGLI

No Member Action Needed

 

Tricare Dental

No Member Action Needed

 

Tricare Reserve Select

 

Member Action Needed.

See answer below.

Taxes

No Member Action Needed

 

Garnishments

 

Member Action Needed

Alimony/Child Support

 

Member Action Needed

Utilities

 

Member Action Needed.

Contact your utility provider for options.

Investments (non TSP)

 

Member Action Needed. Contact your brokerage for options.


*This list is not inclusive. If there are allotments that you have set up that are not listed, it is likely that they will not be paid. A rule of thumb: No Pay = No allotments paid out = possible late fees/penalties if not addressed.

We encourage each member to work with their creditor(s) in this unique situation. The Coast Guard has supplied a notification letter to assist in helping explain the budgetary circumstances faced by the lapse in appropriation. Ultimately, it is the member’s responsibility for their financial obligations. Please take into consideration when an appropriation is restored, all allotments will be deducted and processed as normal. (ex. If a payment is made by alternate means than the allotment, the allotment payment will still paid as normal when an appropriation is restored. This could possibly incur a double payment)

The Coast Guard does not have the authority to defer credit debt. Contact your creditor to arrange for future payments, consistent with any other credit payment obligations.

We are concerned with the well-being of all of our members and leadership is working inside and outside of the Coast Guard to mitigate the effects of the partial government shut down and provide pay to personnel as soon as possible.  In the intervening days, we recommend that members engage with their chain of command, CG SUPRT, and/or legal offices to help provide specific counsel on debts/creditors.

Medical

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Tricare is fully covered for both you and your dependents.

United Concordia will continue to process dental care claims for enrolled Tricare dental plan members during the government shutdown. Uncollected premiums and allotments will be recouped once funding is restored.

Insurance

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SGLI benefits will continue to be honored. Uncollected premiums and allotments will be recouped once funding is restored.

Worklife

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Per ALCOAST 426/18, Employee Assistance Program, CG SUPRT (1-855-CGSUPRT), and Work-Life resources and referral services will be available during the lapse in appropriations. All personnel are encouraged to take advantage of these services, which include assistance with financial matters and counseling. More information about CGSUPRT and Work-Life programs may be found at https://www.cgsuprt.com/ and https://www.uscg.mil/worklife/.

We intend to keep CDCs open. Please note that DoD CDCs are not affected by the partial government shutdown. We ask that you coordinate with your local CDC Director to arrange payment options (both military and civilian members).

A. Yes. During the current lapse in appropriations, CDC Directors shall defer payment of fees and suspend collection on delinquent accounts for Coast Guard civilian employees furloughed without compensation; civilian employees excepted or exempt from a furlough and required to report for work without compensation; and military members required to work without pay who have children enrolled in Coast Guard CDCs.  CDC Directors shall defer payment and suspend collection until the semi-monthly pay period after which pay resumes for patrons in each category.  In the event that furloughed employees do not receive full back pay, CDC Directors shall consider a reasonable payment plan to resolve the delinquency.

Housing

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You and your family are not affected. Housing allotments will be paid when payroll is processed pending funding authority restoration.

Immediately contact your local PPV manager to make payment arrangements. The Coast Guard is working with DoD to notify all privatized government housing locations that Coast Guard BAH allotments will not be available until funding authority is restored. PPV remains a private contract, and the government does not have any authority to suspend or delay payments. We recommend providing the CG-1 “letter to creditors” to your PPV manager.

Financial Aid

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TSP transactions are on a separate transaction file that goes to TSP and is executed by furloughed personnel. Once they return, the file will be sent and payments will be caught up.

Each region uses differing forms of payment and transit options. Your regional mass transit program coordinator is the best way to ascertain how your mass transit benefits have been affected by this shutdown. Each coordinator (assigned to the nearby CG District or Base, in most circumstances) has received in-depth guidance on the mass transit program changes due to the shutdown and receives real-time updates from COMDT (CG-81) if circumstances change. If you do not know your regional coordinator, reach out to SKC Victoria Barasa (Victoria.Barasa@uscg.mil) and/or CWO Jeffrey Lester (Jeffrey.A.Lester@uscg.mil).

All new obligations are on hold during the shutdown and will not resume until funding (either temporary or for the full year) is signed into law.  If you have a Go! Card, DOT TranServe Debit card, or other fare media form of payment that is loaded monthly with funding, you can continue to use it until the available balance is exhausted, as that funding was already put in place prior to the shutdown that occurred on December 22, 2018.  If no balance exists on the card or you do not have a storable method of payment in your region, participants can pay for the mass transit costs personally and should keep all receipts.  When additional funding is appropriated and the shutdown is over, regional coordinators will be provided guidance on exactly how to request reimbursement from the CG.  Receipts WILL BE REQUIRED to request reimbursement. 

No, no new obligations after December 22, 2018 are allowed for this program.  Advise members to pay personally for their mass transit needs and to save receipts, with the ability to request reimbursement after additional funding is received. 

COMDT (CG-81) will reach out to all regional mass transit program coordinators with the specific procedures each member should follow for reimbursement, after additional funding is received.  This guidance will be forwarded out service-wide to all users of the program. 

Yes. Coast Guard Mutual Assistance is issuing interest free loans with a focus on the junior workforce. Personnel in other paygrades may also qualify in certain circumstances exist. Refer to https://www.cgmahq.org for further details. If you require this assistance, please check with your CGMA representative to apply.

Military Mutual Aid Societies are not authorized to provide any lapse related assistance. They may only provide limited emergency assistance for situations not related to the lapse.

No. Unemployment benefits are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers. Under the federal funding hiatus, military members are not considered unemployed; they are currently unpaid.

All Coast Guard employees (Active Duty, Reserve, and Civilians) are subject to the regulations set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct, COMDTINST M5370.8B and 5 C.F.R. 2635. Commands should refer all ethics questions to their servicing legal office.

Galley

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During the lapse in funding members are not required to submit galley payments on schedule. Food Service Officers are required to maintain an accurate list of unpaid ICAs for future payment when funding is restored.

General

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Most likely no, as this is account access is a product of one of four STATES throughout their lifecycle.  Here is the timelines that determines that status: 

  • ENABLED & ACTIVE Your Standard User account remains ACTIVE, and is not locked out for non-use.  Every time you log on to a Workstation or Laptop, that ‘clock’ is reset.  Including VDI Sessions.  NOT INCLUDING OWA sessions.
  • 30-44 days: DISABLE If one does not use their account for over thirty days, and less than 44 days - that account status shall change from ENABLED to DISABLED, and left in its home organizational unit otherwise untouched.
  • 45-59 days: DEPROVISION:  unused accounts from  45 - 59 days - this account (likely already in a DISABLED State) will be DEPROVISIONED, moved to the INACTIVE-USERS container, the mailbox is hidden from the GAL, and your group memberships stripped (but remembered).
  • 60 days and over: INACTIVE-USER:  Any account not touched in 60 days goes to the EMO/INACTIVE USERS container as described above.

For periods above 60 days, contact your IT staff for support.

Conduct concerning financial obligations are factors considered by SECCEN with regards to security clearances.  That being said, SECCEN acknowledges that the current lapse in appropriations may negatively impact a member’s finances.  Given that this event is beyond a member’s control, it will most likely not impact a future security clearance; however, refer to the following website for further clarification: https://cg.portal.uscg.mil/units/cgdcms342/Lists/Announcements/DispForm.aspx?ID=13&Source=https%3A%2F%2Fcg%2Eportal%2Euscg%2Emil%2Funits%2Fcgdcms342%2FSitePages%2FHome%2Easpx

The Coast Guard is responding to all requests; however, during the lapse in appropriations, we recommend deferring the service to another military branch or the VA. We are authorized to executive military funeral honors as long as they are at ‘no cost’; however, GVs are not authorized for military funeral honors during the shutdown.

Coast Guard legal assistance attorneys can assist Coast Guard civilian employees with legal issues that have a direct nexus to difficulties encountered as a result of the lapse in appropriations. Civilian employees seeking legal assistance that work at Coast Guard Headquarters should contact LCDR Jared Hood at (202) 372-3738 or jared.h.hood@uscg.mil. For those outside headquarters, you can find contact information for Coast Guard legal assistance offices at the following website: https://www.uscg.mil/Resources/Legal/LMA/Legal_Assistance/Find-A-Legal-Assistance-Lawyer/. In addition, CG Support offers a free 30-minute legal consultation to all Coast Guard members, military and civilian. You can contact CG Support at (855) CGSUPRT (247-8778).

CG Message Board, AWS, USCG.mil, Official USCG Twitter and Facebook.

Due to the current lapse in appropriations, the tuition assistance program has been suspended. Education Training Quota Management Command will continue to accept applications during the lapse in appropriations; however, new applications will not be processed until the Coast Guard has an appropriation. Refer to ALCOAST 004/19 for TA guidance.

The TSP allows for the suspension of loan payments when you go into nonpay status to prevent loans from going into default. Normally, documentation is required from your agency or service. However, the TSP does not need documentation of your furlough at this time. If your loan payments were up to date prior to the furlough, missing one or two payments will not cause your loan to be in default. You can check the status of your loan by logging into My Account, selecting “TSP Loans,” and then selecting “Are my payments up to date?” Or you can call the ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778 and speak to a Participant Service Representative." The Coast Guard does not control the Thrift Savings Plan, contact TSP directly at www.tsp.gov or 1-877-968-3778.

Per ALCOAST 266/18 members can sign a petition for specific legislative action, if the signing does not obligate the member to engage in partisan political activity and is done as a private citizen and not as a representative of the armed forces (i.e., not in uniform and not identifying oneself as a member).

Questions regarding the shutdown shall be forwarded to your local public affairs office. Refer to ALCOAST 430/18 - SUBJ: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS GUIDANCE DURING A LAPSE IN APPROPRIATIONS for additional guidance.

Contact TSP directly at www.tsp.gov or 1-877-968-3778.

We highly encourage commands to use all available means to reach out to their members and families with information.  The forwarding of “internet releasable” Coast Guard websites containing information and resources is highly encouraged.  Contact your Servicing Legal Officer before posting information or linking websites.  The Standards of Ethical Conduct, COMDTINST M5370.8B and 5 C.F.R. 2635 are also good references to keep your command and the Coast Guard in good legal and public relations standing.

During a lapse in appropriations, the Coast Guard will continue to stand the watch for those missions that relate to National Security and protection of  human life and property.  Commands have the latitude to manage their personnel within Coast Guard policy to accomplish these missions.  Since each individual command has its own unique circumstances it would be inappropriate for Coast Guard Headquarters to tell each command how to manage their personnel. 

We appreciate the offers of support from the communities we serve.  As public servants, we have a responsibility to conduct ourselves according to legal and ethical rules regarding gifts of any kind.  Coast Guard members are prohibited from soliciting gifts or attending any fundraising events while in uniform or acting in their professional capacity.  However, members may participate in fundraising events during off duty hours, while acting in their personal capacity, as long as the event does not feature or mention their status as a member of the Coast Guard.

The next payment is scheduled for 1 February 2019.  Absent an FY19 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or alternative legislative measure, this payment will not be processed.

Once the Coast Guard has an FY19 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or alternative legislative measure, we will process all components of retired pay.  It will take 3-5 business days before the beneficiary receives payment.

Each region uses differing forms of payment and transit options. Your regional mass transit program coordinator is the best way to ascertain how your mass transit benefits have been affected by this shutdown.  Each coordinator (assigned to the nearby CG District or Base, in most circumstances) has received in-depth guidance on the mass transit program changes due to the shutdown and receives real-time updates from COMDT (CG-81) if circumstances change.  If you do not know your regional coordinator, reach out to SKC Victoria Barasa and/or CWO Jeffrey Lester.

All new obligations are on hold during the shutdown and will not resume until funding (either temporary or for the full year) is signed into law.  If you have a Go! Card, DOT TranServe Debit card, or other fare media form of payment that is loaded monthly with funding, you can continue to use it until the available balance is exhausted, as that funding was already put in place prior to the shutdown that occurred on December 22, 2018.  If no balance exists on the card or you do not have a storable method of payment in your region, participants can pay for the mass transit costs personally and should keep all receipts.  When additional funding is appropriated and the shutdown is over, regional coordinators will be provided guidance on exactly how to request reimbursement from the CG.  Receipts WILL BE REQUIRED to request reimbursement.  

No, no new obligations after December 22, 2018 are allowed for this program.  Advise members to pay personally for their mass transit needs and to save receipts, with the ability to request reimbursement after additional funding is received. 

COMDT (CG-81) will reach out to all regional mass transit program coordinators with the specific procedures each member should follow for reimbursement, after additional funding is received.  This guidance will be forwarded out service-wide to all users of the program.  

The Coast Guard has the personnel staffing at its Pay and Personnel Center to process retiree payroll for both NOAA and PHS annuitants.  The Service will not execute the aforementioned payroll until the Commerce Department (for NOAA) and Health & Human Services (for PHS) authorize the respective transmittal to the U.S. Treasury.  Please refer specific questions about NOAA or PHS's retiree payroll to the respective agency.

Reserve

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Yes. Like ADT-AT, IDT performed during a lapse in appropriations must be in support of national security missions, exempted Coast Guard missions, and activities involving joint exercises with DoD.

Yes. Per ALCOAST 425/18, reserve members in receipt of Class C or A school orders shall execute those orders as prescribed, unless otherwise advised by Education Training Quota management Command (ETQC). In addition, enlisted or officer accession training shall continue as planned. In accordance with ALCOAST 003/19, no travel authorization is required for Class C or A School orders, or recruit training orders to attend Boot Camp.

Yes. Medical readiness is critical to military readiness activities, which can continue during a lapse in appropriations. In accordance with FY19 fiscal guidance (ALCOAST 319/18), Readiness Management Periods (RMP) may be used to support medical readiness activities.

Yes. Per ALCOAST 425/18, IDT and ADT can still be performed for exempt missions, therefore you will be expected to meet the minimum participation standards outlined in the Reserve Policy Manual.

Yes. Per ALCOAST 425/18, IDT and ADT can still be performed for exempt missions. By law, each member of the Reserves must earn a minimum of 50 points each anniversary year to meet the requirements for satisfactory federal service for retirement (i.e. have a "good year" for retirement).

No. The SGLI monthly premium typically deducted from monthly drill pay will be collected once pay has resumed. Coverage will not lapse due to the current lapse in appropriations.

No, TRS coverage will continue as normal during the lapse in appropriations.

Yes. Reservist must continue providing their TRS premium payments during the lapse in appropriations. Monthly premiums are provided by Electronic Funds Transfer (automatic withdrawal), or recurring debit/credit card payment. As always, members must ensure they have sufficient funds to cover the transfer.

If a reservist is disenrolled for failure to pay, they will be suspended from TRS effective their paid-through date and any claims for service after the suspension date will not be paid under TRS coverage. Information on reinstating TRS coverage for non-payment can be found at: https://www.reserve.uscg.mil/Portals/2/Documents/FTS/2018/TRS_Policy_Change_Jan2018.pdf?ver=2018-01-09-104857-993.

If you have questions not answered by the FAQs or ALCOASTs, you should contact your unit supervisor and/or your local Reserve Forces Readiness System (RFRS) staff.

Yes. Per ALCOAST 425/18, IDT and ADT in support of exempt missions may continue with pay being accrued until an appropriation or continuing resolution is passed. Please contact your unit and/or your local Reserve Forces Readiness System (RFRS) staff if you have questions about your IDT or ADT orders.

In accordance with ALCOAST 003/19, travel related to ADT orders must be approved. Contact your unit or District-level RFRS staff for specific guidance. ALCGPSC 161/18 provides specific guidance related to Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) usage.

Meeting active duty and reserve military payroll will require a fiscal year 2019 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or passage of an alternative measure. Pay for duty performed will be accrued at PPC until the Coast Guard has the authority to process military payroll.

Yes. Eligible reservists will receive IDT berthing under the normal unit/District (dxr) process. Please contact your unit or District-level RFRS staff if you have IDT lodging questions.

Retiree

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No. Benefits will continue to be honored. Uncollected premiums and allotments will be recouped once funding is restored.

VGLI benefits will continue to be honored. If a retiree pays their premium through a CG allotment they will need to notify OSGLI at 1-800-419-1473.

If the lapse continues through the end of January, retirees may not get paid. In order for the Coast Guard to pay active duty, reserve, civilian, and retired members, the Service will require an FY19 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or passage of an alternative measure.

Payroll deductions will cease for any employee that does not receive pay. BENEFEDS will generate a bill to enrollees for premiums when no payment is received for two consecutive pay periods. The enrollee should pay any directly billed premiums on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage.

The CG maintains a distribution list of CG Retiree and Annuitants that have “opted in” to receiving CG communications.  Please follow the link below to sign up for CG information via email or text.  Once you complete the 2-step registration process on the official CG GovDelivery site, you will have the opportunity to “opt in” to recieve any of the 48 news offerings (such as personal messages from CG Leadership, The Retiree Newsletter, ALCOASTs, and more.). This is the best way to stay in touch with all that is going on with the 2019 Lapse in Appropriations, and all future newsworthy events.

 

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Yes. All federal ethics rules still apply to employees including military and civilian members whether furloughed or not.

The rules don’t apply to family members, but, for purposes of the ethics rules, gifts solicited or accepted by a parent, spouse, sibling, child, dependent relative or a member of your household with your knowledge and acquiescence will be treated like they were given to you. Members of Coast Guard Spouse’s Clubs must adhere to fundraising guidance in the Spousal Club Instruction, COMDTINST 1750.6D

Look at the Standards of Conduct Manual, COMDTINST M5370.8B, as well as Office of Government Ethics Regulations .

Call your servicing legal office or the CGHQ Office of General Law (contact information below).

You cannot accept gifts given because you are in the Coast Guard or any gifts from a prohibited source (i.e. a company we regulate or contract with), unless some exception applies. You can always decline a gift. You can never solicit a gift based on your Coast Guard status for yourself or other Coast Guard members.

There are a number of exceptions (5 C.F.R. 2635.204 ), but these are most applicable to the lapse:

  • The 20/50 Rule: you can accept a non-cash gift worth $20 or less per occasion from anyone outside the Coast Guard, but not more than $50 per year per source. Examples: a good hearted stranger offers you a merchandise gift card or to pick up your breakfast tab; a local yacht club (prohibited source because we regulate it) offers a free meal to any Coast Guard member valued under $20.
  • Gifts based on a personal relationship. Example: Money given by a neighbor.
  • Opportunities and benefits generally available to the public, all government employees, or all military members. Example: Restaurant offering free meals for all federal employees.
  • Opportunities and benefits offered by someone other than a prohibited source (i.e. company we regulate, company that does business with us, etc.) to a group or class that does not discriminate on the basis of higher rank or official responsibility. Examples: Restaurant offering free meals to Coast Guard members impacted by the lapse in the local area; food bank offering groceries to all furloughed federal employees (can take advantage repetitively).

You can accept merchandise or prepaid debit gift cards if not from a prohibited source (i.e. a company we regulate or contract with) and offered to a group or class not based on rank (this is the “opportunities and benefits” exception above). Examples: Local store offers $50 gift cards to all Coast Guard members during the lapse in appropriations, first come, first served; Coast Guard Foundation offers $100 gift cards to all Coast Guard members distributed by the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association.

BUT, if a stranger approaches you and offers you alone a $100 gift card and thanks you for your service, then it likely does not qualify as an opportunity or benefit you can accept. You have the obligation to be sure that the offer fits the rule! Steer clear of offers that have not been publicized or ask for guidance.

Yes. The Coast Guard is aware that organizations like the American Legion and VFW have offered grants/cash to all veterans or all veterans with children, not based on rank or official responsibility (this is the “opportunities and benefits” exception above). Because neither are prohibited sources you could accept. If another, similar organization offered grants to all Coast Guard members, you could also accept.

Neither Coast Guard members nor their dependents can solicit gifts for themselves through websites or other means mentioning or alluding to (e.g., photo in uniform or in front of a Coast Guard activity) your status as a member of the Coast Guard or your federal employment affiliation. But, nothing precludes raising money personally or through websites so long as the effort is wholly in a personal capacity, no prohibited sources are solicited, and the activity does not appear to be endorsed by the Coast Guard or an individual Coast Guard member. Be careful, because funds raised by individuals may count as personal income for tax purposes.

So long as you are acting in your personal capacity and don’t feature or mention of your status as a member of the Coast Guard, then you can participate in charitable fundraising with a non-federal entity. Volunteer activities do not qualify as outside employment. See COMDTINST M5370.8B section 2.I.4.e.

Yes, if you follow these requirements:

  • Obtaining outside employment is permissible as long it does not violate any federal laws or regulations. These laws prohibit conflicts of interest between your activities for the outside employer and your official Coast Guard duties.
  • Additional restrictions apply if you have contract procurement and/or oversight involvement, and/or of you are seeking to work for a Coast Guard contractor.
  • Military members must get command approval for any outside employment. See Military Civil and Dependent Affairs Manual, COMDTINST M1700.1 paragraph 1.E. and Standards of Ethical Conduct, COMDTINST M5370.8B paragraph 2.I.
  • The Coast Guard has waived for the duration of the lapse the requirement for civilian employees to get prior approval, so long as employment is completely unrelated to the Coast Guard’s operations and your official duties, does not involve a prohibited source (i.e. a company we regulate or contract with), and does not include representational activities to the Coast Guard or any other federal agency.
  • You must notify your supervisor (or somebody in your supervisory chain or servicing legal office below) when you get an outside job during the lapse. Regardless of the waiver on pre-approval, you’re still encouraged to seek legal review before taking a job. See Standards of Ethical Conduct, COMDTINST M5370.8B paragraph 2.I.

There are a number of factors here:

  • Employees are permitted to participate in any public service or benefit provided by your state or local government that is open to any other member of the public on the same terms. These rules differ state to state.
  • Under federal workers compensation law, if an employee eventually receives back pay for the time period where they are receiving unemployment benefits, there is a requirement to pay the benefit money back.
  • For SNAP benefits, there are also income limits and work seeking requirements that you would have to ascertain from your particular state. Depending on the qualification requirements for a particular public benefit program, a federal employee could apply but not be deemed eligible for the benefits.

The Judge Advocate General of the Coast Guard has authorized the expansion of legal assistance services to civilian Coast Guard employees during the lapse in appropriations. Military members are already authorized legal assistance. For personal legal assistance questions, reach out to your servicing legal office. For employees stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters, contact LCDR Jared Hood.

Check with your servicing ethics attorney; but here are some guidelines:

  • You are providing access to the donor here; this is not a gift to the Coast Guard but rather an opportunity for members to accept gifts under one of the rules above. Understand who’s the donor, what’s being offered, the value of what’s being offered, the eligible recipients, any support the donor expects, any conditions attached to the offer, and impact on unit mission and security.
  • Decline an offer to come on board unit if:
    • The public would question the Coast Guard for accepting the gift (e.g., because of the nature of the gift or the nature of the donor);
    • Not everyone on board the unit can take advantage;
    • The offer would interfere with mission or security;
    • The donor requires any support from the unit beyond providing a location (e.g., use of unit galley kitchen or unit members have to do the work);
    • The donor desires more than a temporary opportunity (e.g., desires indefinite access or space);
    • The donor will displace or replace a current official service (i.e., regular meals offered by the galley or displaces personnel or activities in workspaces);
    • The donor desires to serve persons not affiliated with the Coast Guard (besides other federal employees);
    • You would not say yes to another donor similarly situated (e.g., if you say yes to one pizzeria, you’ll say yes to another one a week later).
  • Examples of offers you might consider accepting:
    • A local restaurant or food truck offers to visit a base and feed anybody interested on base.
    • A local food bank offers to come onto the base on one day to serve Coast Guard families, or offers to set up a distribution point for the duration of the lapse in a building where there’s excess space.

Direct donors first to charitable organizations better suited to distribute such gifts, like Coast Guard Mutual Assistance or closely affiliated employee organizations (e.g. CPOA). If that’s impractical, there are two ways to facilitate distribution of gifts to unit members:

  • After you coordinate with your servicing legal office, you can accept as a gift to the Coast Guard in-kind gifts or merchandise gift cards, but not debit cards or cash, for the direct benefit of members of the unit under COMDTINST 5760.14. The items can then be distributed to members of the unit who could have accepted them directly under the rules above.
  • An alternative to accepting items as a gift to the Coast Guard, and subject to any higher command guidance, Commanding Officers can provide the items to a member of the command, such as a Chaplain, to distribute on a volunteer basis on behalf of the donor to the members of the unit where the offer fits the gift rules above. Coordinate with your servicing legal office. Remember that you can’t solicit.
  • Note: Cash gifts to units for the benefit of the unit (not intended to be distributed directly to members) can be accepted pursuant to COMDTINST 5760.14 but must be deposited in the General Gift Fund.

Direct donors who want to provide gifts of cash to employees to the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. CGMA can provide grants to CG members, has a unique status as the CG’s Military Aid Society, and has the ability to account for distributions. Cash given to the Coast Guard will be deposited in a unit’s MWR account or the General Gift Fund and not provided to individual members.

For the purposes of gift donations, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is treated as a non-federal entity. As a result, the same gift rules above apply.

Yes, it is the same analysis just like other non-federal entities.

Yes, but consider the circumstances. Under the general standards (5 C.F.R. 2635.302 ) an employee may accept a gift from a superior, but be sensitive to the possibility that other employees may view this as favoritism and could result in employee grievances. There’s also a prohibition on supplemental compensation to employees for services (18 U.S.C. § 209), although that may not apply in the context here.

No. The examples and opinions providing interpretation of a “special infrequent occasion” suggest that the lapse doesn’t qualify. See 5 C.F.R. 2635.304(c)(1) . Coast Guard Mutual Assistance and other resources are available to support our members.

Official information channels (e.g., management communications) may be used to share factual information about charities with members but don’t recommend or endorse a particular charity. Federal employees may not engage in fundraising in an official capacity or in the Federal workplace, except in limited circumstances. See 5 C.F.R 2635.702 and 2635.808 .

 

  • Office of General Law:(202) 372-3855
  • Legal Service Command: (757) 628-4210
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  • District 9: (216) 902-6013
  • District 11: (510) 437-3329
  • District 13: (206) 220-7113
  • District 14: (808) 535-3242
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  • TRACEN Cape May: (609) 898-6902
  • TRACEN Yorktown: (757) 856-2376
  • TRACEN Petaluma: (707) 765-7237
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