Starting April 19, qualifying Nonappropriated Fund employees working for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will get hundreds of dollars extra a month in post allowance, the exchange announced to its overseas employees Friday.

The news came two weeks after the Defense Department announced that, according to regulation, “all eligible U.S. Citizens receive Post Allowance unless they are part-time, intermittent, or U.S. family member summer/winter hire employees.”

Up until now, most full-time NAF employees who were hired at overseas locations have not been receiving the allowance.

Of the DOD’s six major NAF employers, only the Army was in full compliance with the Defense Department regulation. Those employers who haven’t been paying the allowance to all qualifying personnel include AAFES, the Navy Exchange Service Command; Commander, Navy Installations Command; Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and the U.S. Marine Corps.

The allowance is a supplement designed to equalize the purchasing power of overseas Americans with their counterparts’ in the States.

Lt. Col. Les’ Melnyk, a Defense Department spokesman, didn’t know when the other NAF employers would start payments, “because it depends on what payroll system they fall under,” he said. “But everybody will see that within a fairly short time frame as soon as their payroll systems can be updated.”

Others might already be paying it, he added.

Lt. Col. David Konop, an AAFES spokesman, confirmed that eligible AAFES employees “will start receiving it the 19th [of April],” and added that employees “actually would not see it in their paycheck until the 9th of May,” because their last paycheck in April covers up to April 18.

Employees working for other NAF organizations are still waiting to hear when their post allowance will kick in.

“Me and my staff talk about it, you know, just about every day,” said Michael Dean, operations manager for Spangdahlem Lodging at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. “It’s the topic of discussion; ‘When’s it happening? Have you heard anything?’”

But nobody has heard anything other than what they’ve read in the newspaper, he said, and it’s frustrating.

Nobody — even AAFES employees — knows when they will start to see back payments of post allowance, which the Defense Department authorized to make up for the fact that most NAF employers had, for 13 years, been in violation of DOD policy. The department has authorized retroactive payments going back to Dec. 1, 2001, but didn’t give a reason for why that date was chosen.

According to an announcement that went out to the employees of at least one AAFES main exchange, retroactive post allowance payments are being processed by the exchange’s headquarters, and there is no date set for when back payments will start.

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