Personnel in hard-hit areas will still receive paychecks
WASHINGTON — Damage done by Hurricane Katrina won’t keep paychecks from being sent to troops and military families in the hardest-hit states, according to Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials.
Whether they’ll be able to get them is another story.
For troops using direct deposit, the availability of the funds will depend on the local bank or credit union, DFAS spokesman Steve Burghardt said.
If operations there are normal, the money will be transferred and ready, he said. But power outages and building damage could delay some account moves, simply because the financial institutions can’t process or receive the funds.
Troops or families who receive a paycheck in the mail will likely have to travel to designated pickup sites established by the U.S. Postal Service to retrieve the money. A list of temporary mail stations is available online at www.usps.com.
Meanwhile, officials at military relief organizations said they have been working to get help to troops and military families who evacuated coastal areas before the storm struck.
Dennis Scott, assistant secretary of Army Emergency Relief, said his group has answered numerous requests from military families looking for aid to cover hotel bills, food costs and related expenses.
“A lot of them evacuated and just drove until they could find a vacant room,” he said. “We’re getting them whatever assistance we can, primarily though local groups.”
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and Air Force Air Society are offering similar assistance. But Debbie Vosburg, spokeswoman for the Air Force society, said that’s only the first step for the groups.
“Once these families return, we’ll have to see what those needs are and what we can do,” she said. “At this point, we have no idea what they’re going to face.”