Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials are correcting service members’ leave balances for their October Leave and Earnings statements, to adjust their special leave accrual balances.
A soldier who contacted Military Times concerning reductions in his balance, had expressed alarm.
“Seems they are taking away leave from everybody with more than 90 days of SLA, regardless of the category the service member falls in,” he wrote.
That is now being fixed.
“Any member that had balances above 90 days as of Dec. 31, 2022, will have that leave restored to them in October,” said DFAS spokesman Steve Burghardt. “DFAS is in the process of notifying those members who are authorized to carry leave in excess of 90 days and will be taking actions to restore that leave in the month of October.
“Members will see the correct SLA on their October Leave and Earnings statement.”
The incorrect information about leave balances was due to a system change made by DFAS to implement a law that takes effect Oct. 1. It reduces the cap for special leave accrual from 120 days to 90 days unless service members had more than 90 days as of Dec. 31, 2022.
“In order to make this change, DFAS implemented a system change to reduce the leave cap for special leave accrual from 120 days to 90 days at the end of September,” Burghardt said.
Beginning Oct. 1, troops can only accumulate a total of 90 days leave — 60 days of annual leave, plus an extra 30 days under Special Leave Accrual.
Enlisted troops who could lose accrued leave in excess of 90 days can sell back up to 30 days of their leave, but this action can only be taken once during a career.
Despite the change, many service members will still have more time to draw their leave balances down without forfeiting their time off, like the soldier who contacted Military Times.
Service members who amassed between 90.5 and 120 days of leave before the end of 2022 — due to the pandemic or other approved reasons — may continue to use that leave according to timelines established by their branch of service.
DFAS will continue to operate if there is a government shutdown.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.