The Defense Finance and Accounting Service is well-known to MOAA members … but not necessarily well-liked.
DFAS pays all DoD military and civilian personnel, retirees, and annuitants, along with major DoD contractors and vendors. The DoD-managed agency is a frequent target of MOAA member complaints, generally concerning one of these key issues:
- Long wait times.
- Inconsistent call-backs.
- Poor customer service.
- Complicated instructions.
MOAA reached out to DFAS and DoD for answers regarding these complaints, as well as longstanding issues with delays faced by reserve-component members who may wait six months or more to have their retirements processed through the services and DFAS. Even worse: these servicemembers, and their families, can’t enroll in a TRICARE program until their DFAS-produced retirement pay kicks in.
DFAS is “actively engaged in lowering processing time” for those retirees, according to a DoD public affairs statement provided to MOAA. Officials also are aiming to increase communication with so-called “gray area” reservists – those under 60 who have earned enough points to retire – so they can submit retirement packages earlier, and have added “additional staff during peak season and are continuing to find new ways to cut telephone wait times.”
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While these answers and other improvements – some call centers now offer a call-back service to avoid long waits on hold, for instance – point to progress, MOAA will continue to advocate for DFAS reform. Among the key points MOAA seeks to allow the agency to better serve its customers:
- Clear, defined, enforceable standards of customer service.
- A full and accurate review of the resources needed to target backlogs and long wait times, so that MOAA and other veteran and military groups can advocate for the allocation of such resources.
- An easier-to-understand process that takes into account beneficiaries of all ages and allows for both online account changes as well as a streamlined, efficient telephone help-desk setup.
Do you have a DFAS issue? Use these numbers to contact the right DFAS department:
- Military Pay: 1-888-332-7411
- Army Military Pay: 1-888-729-2769
- Civilian Pay: 1-800-538-9043 or 1-800-729-3277
- Retired Military: 1-800-321-1080
- Retired Civilian: 1-888-767-6738
- Contract/Vendor Pay: 1-800-756-4571
MOAA Member Service Representative Brenden McMahon contributed to this article.