SSA Promises ‘Partial Payments’ After Employees Report Zero-Dollar Pay Stubs
Officials at the Social Security Administration said roughly 900 employees were impacted by an unidentified mistake in payroll processing.
More than 900 Security Administration employees were left wondering Thursday how much of their regular paycheck they would receive at the end of the week, after a mishap caused their internal payroll software to report they would receive deposits of $0.00 for the pay period that ended July 2.
Officials at the agency told the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents agency workers, that affected employees would receive a “partial payment” on time, but did not elaborate on what caused the problem or how much those employees can expect in their bank accounts.
Ralph DeJuliis, president of AFGE Council 220, said an employee in the agency’s Tulsa field office emailed him Wednesday morning, alarmed that the agency’s payroll website reported she was slated to receive no money in her paycheck that was scheduled for Friday.
On Thursday, Social Security Administration spokesman Darren Lutz said the agency were still working with the Interior Business Center, which provides payroll services to around 150 federal agencies, on determining the cause, but that all 922 affected employees would receive at least a partial paycheck by Tuesday, SSA’s “official” pay day.
“SSA staff are preparing messaging that will go directly to all 922 employees addressing how their pay will be processed,” Lutz said. “This messaging will include what to expect in terms of net pay and subsequent reconciliation over the weekend in time for the official pay day of next Tuesday. We are working with [the Interior Department] to determine the root cause of the issue.”
But an Interior Department spokesperson said the department “anticipates” affected employees will, indeed, receive their pay on Friday.
“The IBC discovered yesterday that approximately 1,000 SSA employees had not received their pay for the last pay period,” the spokesperson said. “The IBC is processing their pay manually and anticipates they will receive their pay tomorrow. The IBC is investigating the cause of this error.”
DeJuliis said the potential pay disruption has caused an uproar among agency employees. He said that even with manual pay entry, it remains unclear how overtime payments will be handled, as well as various payroll deductions like supplemental health insurance, Thrift Savings Plan contributions and union dues.
“I have several people with more than 10 hours of overtime that they expected to be paid, and [SSA] hasn’t said how they’ll handle that,” DeJuliis said. “They can figure out what your base pay would be from the prior pay period, but they can’t necessarily figure out what overtime you worked . . . In Dallas, our regional vice president called their labor-relations folks, and they said, ‘We think we’ll get to pay everyone 80% of base pay but we’re might not pay any allotments. That could be supplemental insurance like FEDVIP, or it could be auto payments to savings, or an allotment to someone else’s bank account due to child support. So people are just going nuts.”
DeJuliis said the timing of the mishap—just after the July 4 holiday weekend, when people often travel—was particularly tough for some employees.
“The last payment we got was on June 25, and people have already spent that over the 4th of July weekend, and this is the paycheck people would have used to pay their mortgage or their rent,” he said. “Most people also will have things coming out of their bank accounts automatically because of auto-pay now, so I’ve been telling people that they need to look at what’s going to be paid so that you can delay that stuff to make sure you don’t bounce any checks.”
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