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More than 900 Social Security Employees Received Partial Paychecks, And Some Got Too Much

A union representing employees impacted by a payroll processing error has filed a grievance on their behalf demanding backpay and interest for any money that wasn’t paid to workers on time.

Just two days after two agencies scrambled to investigate reports that some Social Security Administration employees were set to receive paychecks totaling $0.00, the 922 workers impacted by the mistake received “partial” paychecks Friday, although some have reported receiving more money than they were due.

On Wednesday morning, some employees reported that, according to the Social Security Administration’s payroll website, they were slated to receive no money in their paychecks scheduled for Friday. By Thursday afternoon, officials at the agency and the Interior Business Center, which processes SSA payroll as well as that of 150 other agencies, said all 922 employees would get at least a “partial” paycheck, based off their previous pay period’s pay.

“Our payroll provider, the Department of the Interior, experienced a systems error that did not process a number of certified timesheets,” SSA wrote in an email to impacted employees. “However, you will receive a payment on your normally scheduled pay date. Specifically, you will receive a payment for the same amount of pay you received for pay period 2021-13, plus any allotments you normally direct to other financial institutions. The deposit will be placed in your primary checking or savings account.”

But there are some caveats: affected employees will have to manually make Thrift Savings Plan loan payments as well as payments toward any external debts like alimony and child support and discretionary allotments to secondary bank accounts. Additionally, union dues that would have been taken out of Friday’s paycheck will not be deducted until the end of the next pay period, and the payment that would have been made into an employee’s Flexible Spending Account will be spread out across this year’s remaining paychecks.

As a result of the reliance on the previous pay period’s checks, employees who worked overtime between June 21 and July 2 will not see those hours reflected until the following paycheck. And workers who did overtime in the prior pay period have reported being overpaid.

The American Federation of Government Employees on Thursday filed a grievance against the agency for failure to pay employees properly and on a timely basis due to the mishap. The complaint seeks backpay, with interest, for all employees who were underpaid Friday, in addition to damages related to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Ralph DeJuliis, president of AFGE Council 220, which represents Social Security employees, said Friday that if employees are overpaid due to the use of a previous pay period’s timesheets to estimate workers’ pay, he would request waivers of the government’s right to recoup that money.

”It is due to no fault of the employee and SSA can’t tell them how much money they got today is actually theirs, because it doesn’t have an earnings and leave statement to share,” he said.

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