A computer glitch has led to infrequent paychecks for North Carolina National Guard soldiers with the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, according to a new report.
Although active duty National Guard soldiers qualify for a full active duty paycheck and free medical benefits, a computer system is delaying recognizing the status change for those who are transferring from Guard status to active duty, WBTV reports. That’s causing some families to go without a regular paycheck.
For Kaylyn Hayes, her family has missed two consecutive paychecks since her husband departed in June to prepare for a deployment in the Middle East with soldiers from the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, WBTV reports.
“I didn’t expect this and (my husband) has been on two deployments and I know he didn’t expect this,” Hayes told WBTV.
Despite contacting staff at the National Guard headquarters in Raleigh to fix the issue, Hayes said her efforts have been unsuccessful.
Her family is not the only one.
In fact, she and dozens of other families who are missing paychecks addressed their qualms on social media to push for action.
“I don’t know what else to do,” Hayes said. “I tried it the nice, civil way and I was just concerned with me but there are so many that don’t have anybody to say anything for them.”
According to the North Carolina National Guard, responsibility falls on the soldiers to notify their change of command if they encounter these types of problems.
“It is up to the soldier to notify their chain of command that they have a pay issue. If that does not happen the length between pay checks grows,” North Carolina National Guard spokesperson Lt. Col. Matt DeVivo said in a statement, according to WBTV. “Once the pay issue is identified the unit leadership gets state HQs involved and a pay inquiry ticket is submitted and in most cases the issue is resolves in less than 2 week (sic) for inquiry ticket.”
Furthermore, the computer issue has impacted health insurance for North Carolina National Guard families. Although soldiers pay for Tricare while on Guard status, they qualify for free insurance once they switch over to active duty status.
The computer system’s delay recognizing the soldiers’ active duty status has left families without free insurance. The families also can’t access the plans they previously paid for either.
In one case, a woman was turned away from an OB/GYN followup appointment, even though she offered to provide her spouse’s orders, according to messages from 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team families Hayes provided to WBTV.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina Guard claims that the soldiers did not lose healthcare coverage and are actually still covered.
“The problem is the system of record shows many to be ineligible,” DeVivo said. This too is a result of mobilization transitioning from a Guard status to active duty and the multiple personnel systems that have to be processed to validate eligibility. The eligibility process doesn’t begin until the first day soldiers are on active duty.”
Even so, DeVivo said the families would need to foot the bill for doctor visits if the Tricare system was still lagging and claimed that they were not eligible for medical benefits.
DeVivo also said that soldiers who spoke out about the issue on social media would be penalized, emphasizing that soldiers should communicate through their chain of command and their unit’s inspector general. According to DeVivo, “social media is not the preferred way to voice issues.”
A spokesperson for Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told WBTV that the lawmaker’s office was aware of the problem and was working to help affected families.
Historically, the North Carolina National Guard has had some challenges related to pay and benefits. For example, approximately 500 soldiers with the 505th Engineering Battalion and related units in October 2017 were forced to wait approximately a month before they received a paycheck.