Commentary | Oct. 29, 2020

Military members: Here’s why your paycheck looks different

By Christie St. Clair, MyCG Staff

Your pay this week may be different than what you expected. Don’t panic.

You probably remember the Aug. 8 presidential memo, directing the federal government to defer Social Security taxes for many federal employees, both military and civilian, in September, October, November and December. (We shared all the details on MyCG last month.)

The deferral took effect Sept. 1, but payroll providers needed some extra time to implement the changes.

“Your previous paycheck reimbursed you for September’s payroll taxes,” said Gary Earling, executive director of the Coast Guard’s Pay and Personnel Center in Topeka, Kan. “The extra pay in the current paycheck is what you should expect to see added to your upcoming paychecks through the end of the year.”

Earling said his team is still fielding questions from Coast Guard members about the tax deferral, intended to help support federal employees during the pandemic. As a reminder:

  • There is no opting-out of the deferral.
  • The deferral only covers Social Security taxes; it does not affect any Federal or State withholding.
  • The taxes will be collected in 2021.
  • If you get promoted in 2021, you will still only need to repay the taxes that were deferred in 2020. (For example, if you had $500 in taxes deferred in 2020, the Coast Guard will collect $500 from your pay in 2021 – even if you promote to a higher pay rate in January 2021.)


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  • Civilian employees – contact the ASKHR helpdesk (
  • Military members - contact CG-133 Pay and Compensation Division at (
  • For additional details, see ALCOAST 329/20.