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Commander’s Comments: Are you Fiscally Fit?

Lt. Col. Robert Michalak

Lt. Col. Robert Michalak

Swanton, Ohio -- every year and we see Airmen deal with it every month. It is a duty and responsibility each one of us in uniform are expected to achieve and maintain throughout our career. Are you fiscally fit? Do not confuse being physically fit with being fiscally Fit. Being fiscally fit is also a duty and responsibility for all Airmen as outlined in Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards. If you haven't seen the latest copy of AFI 1-1, it is located on our website: http://www.180fw.ang.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120820-005.pdf. I encourage you to read up.

Most importantly we are all expected to, and we should all want to, review our Leave and Earnings Statements on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of our pay and allowances. With our leave and earnings statements no longer sent to us through the United States Postal Service, we often don't think of going out to www.myPay.gov to review our electronic LES. Most of us know that after we perform any duty such as annual training or a Unit Training Assembly, we can expect a deposit in the bank within 10-14 days.

It is also important to know that the LES has changed over the past few years and contains a lot of useful information. Most often, you can get answers to many of your questions by just reading the bottom section. Information regarding your pay isn't the only thing you will find, as the statements now include your pay date, estimated time of separation and grade. You will notice that in addition to the pay date, and ETS, the LES includes your current Basic Allowance for Quarter status. If you are a member with dependents, you should notice "W Dep" on your statement. If you do not, you need to provide your marriage certificate if married, child birth certificate or court award and get it to the Comptroller's Office immediately to start receiving the correct pay. Every three years, you need to revalidate this entitlement by filling out a new form to ensure accuracy of your pay. Other documentation isn't required, unless there is a change to your status.

Be sure to review the section of your LES outlining the dates you are getting paid for. Most of us skim right over this and call the comptroller's office, or finance, instead. Defense Finance and Accounting Service will not generate any pay or leave and earnings statements without an explanation in the bottom section of the form. If a debt posts, it will be listed. If an adjustment to pay posts, the explanation will be detailed.

As you follow AFI 1-1 and review this regularly, you will become an expert on reading and understanding your leave and earnings statement! Should you notice other incorrect information on your LES, visit the Force Support Squadron to correct the errors.

Secondly, AFI 1-1 requires all Airmen to file vouchers on a timely basis. Have you ever been on the "Report to Finance" or "Outstanding Order" report? If you have, then you may not be doing your duty as an Airman to file your voucher on a timely basis. The Joint Federal Travel Regulations state vouchers are to be submitted within five days of end-of-duty. This should be easily attainable by a full-time employee. Drill Status Guardsmen are given until the next UTA to complete vouchers. With access to the Defense Travel System available from home via a CAC reader, completing within the five days shouldn't be a problem for anyone.

DTS can be a great system if given the chance. Anyone that travels can actually prepare their own Authorization at home and can make their airline, hotel, and car arrangements right in DTS. You have the power in your own hand to choose! Back to filing timely. To help improve our timeliness, Col. Nordhaus has recently charged supervisors and members to ensure that the all vouchers and pay statements are filed before departing for home on the last duty day. In general, as an Airman, you need to know that you don't get paid without showing up for duty and completing some paperwork saying you did just that!

Lastly, the AFI 1-1 states that we must use the Government Travel Card for authorized purchases only. Each member needs to be aware that there are some strict administrative and disciplinary actions that will be imposed if rules of use or repayment of balances is not followed. Each member was required to take a training course and test about rules of GTC in order to receive the card. In addition, refresher training of the GTC rules gets done every three years. By signing the Statement of Understanding,
you are acknowledging that you understand the rules for use and the terms of payment.

As uniformed members, it is our duty to stay fit... both physically and fiscally. Both are equally important. Always read your leave and earnings statements, pay your bill completely off when you receive it and know that you always have to turn in something to get paid. It is your pay, take care of it yourself and never assume it will be taken care of for you.
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