PPC Logo

USCG Pay & Personnel Center             

Customer Care Branch (CCB)
Frequently Asked Questions -- FAQs

Click the links below to find the answers to the questions we receive most often


Divisions and Branches
Contact Us

Mailing address:

Commanding Officer (Staff Symbol)
U.S. Coast Guard 
Pay & Personnel Center
444 S. E. Quincy St.
Topeka, KS 66683-3591


(866) 772-8724


Customer CarePPC-DG-CustomerCare@uscg.mil

Web Content Manager 

Feedback button
Report broken links 
or other website
issues here


Direct Access https://hcm.direct-access.uscg.mil
Log on to ETS/ETS Logo https://e2.gov.cwtsatotravel.com/




List of FAQs
Collapse All Expand All
 Adobe Acrobat PDF Files Do Not Open (Payslips, Tax Statements, etc.) in Direct Access

Sometimes, when you attempt to open a link from Direct Access to a file in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file format a window will open with just a letter "X". This can be caused by the internet browser's security settings. Here's a workaround which will allow you to open the file directly in Adobe Acrobat reader. This bypasses the browser's security settings and should only be used on trusted sites. Follow these steps to open a file in Adobe Acrobat reader:

1. Once you are signed into DA, go to open a pay slip or any other document that need to open as a PDF.  When the new window opens showing the "X" block in the corner of the screen,

Black X

2. Go to the browser address block and copy the address

Step 2

3. Open Adobe Acrobat (from the shortcut on the desktop or the start menu link)

Step 3 Acrobat link

4. From within Adobe Acrobat, go to File and chose Open.

Step 4 File - Open

5. A new window will appear, paste the address that you copied into the File Name block on the bottom.

PDF Issues Step 5

6. Click the Open button. The file will open in Adobe Acrobat.

 Blended Retirement System


General (PDF)

Continuation Pay (PDF)

Visit the CG-1 Blended Retirement System page for more.

 How do I retrieve a copy of my DD-214 or other service records?
  1. If you are a current active duty or reserve member, contact your Servicing Personnel Office for assistance.

  2. If you separated or retired from the Coast Guard prior to 01 October 2006, make requests to obtain copies of DD-214's, Personnel Records, Medical & Dental Records, and Service Medals, etc. to the National Personnel Records Center. Requests may be made online by the veteran or next of kin of a deceased, former member of the military. If you are not the veteran or next of kin, complete Standard Form 180 (SF 180) and send the completed form to:

    National Personnel Records Center 
    1 Archives Drive 
    St. Louis, MO 63138 Commercial: (314) 801-0800

  3. If you separated or retired from the Coast Guard on or after 01 October 2006, please fax a completed and signed Standard Form 180 (SF 180) to 202-372-8440.


    Mail to: 
    Commander (BOPS-C-MR)
    WASHINGTON DC  20593-7200

    The Standard Form 180 (SF 180) is required for all document copy requests. Send the completed form to the address above.

  4. If you separated from the service and plan on filing a claim for medical benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you do not need to request a copy of your military records from the NPRC. The VA regional office handling your case will petition both NPRC and the VA Records Management Center for needed service and medical records to adjudicate your claim.
 Retiree and Annuitant Frequently Asked Questions

Visit our Retiree & Annuitant branch directory assistance page for frequently asked questions.

 Servicewide Exam and Advancement Questions

Q.   What is cumulative sea duty vice creditable sea duty?

A.   There are two types of sea time for the SWE:

  1. Sea Time for Eligibility- Determines if you have the sea time necessary to compete for the SWE based on the requirements of the Enlisted Accessions, Evaluations, and Advancements, COMDTINST M1000.2(series), 3.A.15.c. The system looks at units that you were permanently attached to to get this number of years/months. TDY will not show up for this. If you have TDY sea time which will give you the additional sea time needed to become eligible to test, send an email to PPC (adv) requesting credit.
  2. Sea Time for Points- 2 points per year, with a maximum of 30 points, are given for sea time served on sea pay eligible vessels from 01Feb94 up to the eligibility date for the SWE. To determine this the system looks at your sea pay records and gives you point credits based on them. TDY if properly documented should be reflected in the sea pay records and you should receive the points for the TDY time. Keep in mind that if your PERSRU completes the documents to pay sea time for TDY periods, they will also have to stop your BAS for same periods. If you ride a ship, draw BAS and pay for meals, you will not draw sea pay or points.

Q.   How can I request a waiver for the SWE eligibility requirements?

A.   Waivers of eligibility requirements are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Note:  Before requesting a waiver of the SWE SED completion deadline for LAMS training, Commands should first obtain a LAMS quota from TQC that allows the member to complete LAMS training prior to the SWE PDE correction deadline (1 April for the May SWE and 1 Oct for the Nov SWE).

Submit all requests for deadline waivers a PPC Customer Care Trouble Ticket or via e-mail to ppc-dg-customercare@uscg.mil.

Q.   Can I request a waiver for sea time to be placed on a supplemental list?

A.   No, the date of the message to be placed on the supplemental list is the date all qualifications must be completed.

Q.   Can I request a waiver for time in rate for SWE?

A.   Waivers are not normally approved for TIR. Those advanced in Feb who are a month short by the next cycle will not be given the 1 month waiver to have a full year.

Q.   Can I lose my advancement eligibility due to NJP?

A.   The policy is that "from date of recommendation through advancement, the member must remain eligible"....so in the case of MAY02 SWE...the date of elig is 1FEB02, through advancement means the life of the list, which is December 31st of the following year for CPO's. So if at ANY time between these two dates a member "fails to remain elig"...the command is to advise PPC(adv) and info CGPC(epm-1) of that fact and the member is removed from the list.

Q.   Can I request to be advanced from an active duty list in the reserves following RELAD?

A.   No. You must remain on active duty to remain on an active duty to remain on an active duty advancement list. However, there are circumstances when you may advance based on your previous active duty list standing. Review the Reserve Policy Manual, COMDTINST M1001.28A, Chpt 7.C.7 for details.

Q.   Can I be placed a Supplemental Eligibility list if I've lost my Good Conduct eligibility?

A.   For 12 months prior to the request date to be placed on a supplemental list, and for the entire period from recommendation to advancement, personnel in the pay grades E-4 and E-5 must have no unsatisfactory conduct mark, court-martial or civil convictions, or NJP punishments.

  • The eligibility requirement does not state the members must have 12 month service, it simply states no misconduct in the previous 12 months. IAW Enlisted Accessions, Evaluations, and Advancements, COMDTINST M1000.2(series), 3.A.4, 6, 13

Q.   My unit is going to deployed during SWE exams, can we give the test on a day that differs from the scheduled date?

A.   Tests may never be given early. However, ships may administer within 10 days after the scheduled date if underway during the entire period. Any exam to be administered ashore after the prescribed time/date must be in the form of a "substitute" from PPC. Request via msg to PPC Customer Care. An individual substitute SWE may be allowed if member is medically unfit; family crisis; operationally unable to participate. For more info on substitutes see PPCCINST M1418.1(series).

Q.   If I lose my recommendation for advancement is there any way the CO can change my recommendation between semi-annual or annual evaluations?

A.   The CO can change the recommendation at any time he/she feels the member loses or regains the recommendation. That is done via semi or annual evaluations, or if between evals, the CO initiates a new EER in Direct Access and selects change of CO RECOMMENDATION (CORC) as the rating scale. If a recommendation is changed to Not Recommended the member, in reality, has "failed to remain eligible" for advancement and will be removed from any SWE/Advancement competition. The policy is "from date of recommendation through advancement, the member must remain eligible"... so if between the evals a member loses the recommendation for any reason, we remove the member from the list(s). Once a member is removed due to loss of eligibility, he/she can again earn the recommendation, however because the member "failed to remain eligible" for a period (even if a day) (eligibility date to advancement date or list termination date) they are not eligible to be reinstated on lists, they will be required to recompete when once they earn the recommendation again.

Q.   Can a member who exceeds the allowable weight standards be advanced?

A.   A member on an advancement list will have the advancement withheld until weight is met. Once met the unit sends a message to PPC and we change the status to eligible in the same place member was previously on the list. They will then be eligible when the next available billet is available or their name comes up. IAW Enlisted Accessions, Evaluations, and Advancements, COMDTINST M1000.2(series), 3.A.19.c(3)

  • However, if the list expires prior to the member meeting the weight standard, they will have to re-compete in a new SWE

Q.   A) If a member is on weight probation and then becomes pregnant can they be advanced? B) Do the standards still apply? C) And how long can their spot on the advancement list be held?"

A.   "Per COAST GUARD WEIGHT AND BODY FAT STANDARDS PROGRAM MANUAL, COMDTINST M1020.8(series), members who become pregnant will not be measured to determine compliance until they return to a fit-for-full-duty status. Members placed in a weight or fat loss probationary status prior to pregnancy shall have theirprobationary period held in abeyance."

  • The correct answers based on the ref above are; A) Yes. B) No, service women are exempt from weight and body fat standard during pregnancy, and for six months afterwards (12 months for nursing mothers). C) If being withheld for reasons listed in 3.A.19.c of Enlisted Accessions, Evaluations, and Advancements, COMDTINST M1000.2(series), until expiration of eligibility list.

Q.   Can a person on the weight program, above the cut for advancement, who is not eligible to advance and won't make weight prior to the list expiration date, take the next service-wide?

A.   Because the member is above the cut we will not mail the member a test. The command should send a message to PPC(adv) requesting the member receive a test.

Q.   Can Enlisted Accessions, Evaluations, and Advancements, COMDTINST M1000.2(series), Art 3.a.8.e.2(EOCT waiver granted by a CO) be applied to a member requesting placement on a supplemental advancement list?

A.   No. 3.A.8.e.2 only applies to waivers of EOCT's to participate in SWE exams. When the SWE announcement messages are published they always list SWE waivers(those ratings authorized advancement through supplemental advancement lists), and EOCT waivers(those ratings which may take the SWE without an EOCT), but will never waive both SWE and EOCT for the same rating/rank. One or the other, or both, are always required to advance.

Q.   Is there any way that a member who has received an NJP can still take the SWE?

A.   In accordance with Enlisted Accessions, Evaluations, and Advancements, COMDTINST M1000.2(series), Art. 5.B.1.a.(1), a set of NJP marks must be completed on the member assigning him/her an unsatisfactory conduct mark. Enlisted Accessions, Evaluations, and Advancements, COMDTINST M1000.2(series), Art 3.A.13.b, states that personnel in grade E-4 and E-5 must have no unsatisfactory conduct mark for a period of 12 months prior to the Terminal Eligibility Date (TED) of a service wide exam(eg: The TED for the MAY 2004 SWE is 1JAN2005. If the NJP occurred in February 2004, the member will fall short of the required 12 months good conduct by the TED). If the member is currently E6 or above, Article 3.A.5.b.3 applies and the member must have 24 months of good conduct prior to the eligibility date.

  • The new good conduct period is computed from the day after NJP marks to the TED to determine eligibility, using the 12 or 24 month rule.

Q.   When entering new training in Direct Access, I find the member already has existing training but for a different time period, can I just type over it with the new date?

A.   No. You must hit the add sign and add a new row. Each time training is completed it is considered a new entry regardless of how many times a member has performed the same training in the past.

Q.   Do SPO/PERSRU's advance members based on the EPAA?

A.   No. Units should never advance member's on the EPAA, this job is done by PPC(adv). If units accidentally advance members' based on the EPAA, they should contact PPC(adv) immediately to avoid confusion and possible erroneous advancements. The same is true for Striker's and Supplemental advancement.

Q.   Why is my RAW Score changing?

A.   After you take the SWE, your answer sheet is immediately scanned and scored when it arrives at PPC-ADV. That "raw" score is automatically posted in your Direct Access under: Home > Self Service > Employee > View > Test Results. After all members have tested and raw scores are posted to DA, they are also published on your LES the month after the SWE.

After your initial raw score is published the Test Writers (Subject Matter Experts/SME's) review all of the challenge sheets that members completed while testing when they disagreed with a question or the answers on their test. The SME reviews the challenged questions and makes a determination to:

A. Make no change(s)
B. Drop a question (giving everyone credit for it)
C. Choose a different answer from the four choices as the correct answer

If a question is dropped, everyone receives credit for it and your raw score goes up one point. However, if the SME determines that the answer to a question should be, for example, "A" in stead of "D", then your score can go up, go down, or stay the same. For Example:

  • If you originally picked "D", you will loose a point because it's no longer the correct answer.
  • If you originally picked "A", you will gain a point because it now became the correct answer.
  • If you initially chose "C", your score will not change because you had it wrong both times.

So, remember that your "raw" score is not final until all challenge questions have been reviewed by the SME's and the rescore takes place. This final raw score will be updated in your Direct Access Test Results page and should be available within a month following the exam. 

 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Questions

Visit our Thrift Savings Plan page for information on participating in the TSP.

 W-2 Form - How do I get a corrected IRS Form W-2?
Follow the procedures below when questioning a figure reported on the IRS Form W-2:


Who Does It

What Happens



Notifies unit admin office with the following:

· Item on W-2 suspected to be in error

· What the member thinks is the right amount and why

· Calculations



· Review member’s calculations and supporting documentation, i.e., Payslips



· Verify calculations provided by member/unit

· Notify PPC (SEP) via online trouble ticket (Visit our Customer Care Page for trouble ticket instructions)and provide calculations.


 W-2 Form - How do I get a replacement?

For 2015 and later W-2 and 1095 Forms, active duty and Reserve members will access forms via Direct Access Self Service. Do not submit a request for a replacement 2015 or later tax form, they will be available via Direct Access.

For 2014 and prior year W-2 forms, active duty and reserve members shall complete form CG-2016, W-2 Request Form (/ppc/forms/). Attach the completed form to a PPC Customer Care trouble ticket at http://cglink.uscg.mil/PPCticket or via e-mail to ppc-dg-customercare@uscg.mil. If submitting via CG Workstation, a digital signature is preferred.

For 2015 and prior year W-2 forms, separated or retired members shall complete form CG-2016, W-2 Request Form. Attach the completed form to an e-mail to ppc-dg-customercare@uscg.mil.

Replacement W-2 forms will not be available until 15 February. This is allow time for the original mailed form to arrive at its detestation or to be returned as undeliverable.

CG-2016 forms received via fax are no longer accepted and will not be processed.

 When are contributions sent from the Coast Guard to the TSP?

TSP contributions are delivered to TSP on the first business day of the monthIt can be up to five business days before your contribution posts into your TSP account.

 When is payday?

A: The official military paydays are the 1st (end-month) and the 15th (mid-month) of each month, or the business day preceding the 1st or the 15th if either should fall on a federal holiday, Saturday or Sunday.

  • Each month is divided into two pay periods. The first period, called “mid-month” covers the 1st through 15th day of the month. The second period, called “end-month”, covers the 16th through the last day of the month. In Direct Access, each pay period has a corresponding “Payroll Calendar”.
  • The official military payday. This is the “settlement date” for the Automated Clearing House (ACH), an electronic funds-transfer system run the by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA). This payment system deals with payroll, direct deposit, tax refunds, consumer bills, tax payments and many more payment services.
  • Some financial institutions make funds available prior to the official military payday.  However, payments are not to be reported as non-received until the official military payday.  Members should not set up automated payments or assume funds will be available prior to published paydays.