The on-going sequester continues to pose a major threat to servicemembers and military families as Congress currently battles over an increasing debt ceiling and hefty spending cuts, which include a $52 billion defense reduction for the 2014 fiscal year. One of the most pressing issues facing the military community is the potential furlough of civilian defense department workers and the adverse effects it may have on servicemembers, according to Government Executive.
In 2013 the Department of Defense furloughed more than 650,000 employees, according to the news source. While Congress is currently fighting to fund the government through the end of the year, the divisive debate might result in more government furloughs in 2014.
Servicemembers are exempt from government furloughs, but many of their programs and facilities reportedly suffer from the laying off of civilian workers. The news outlet reports that a recent survey conducted by First Command Financial Services Inc. found that 72 percent of middle-class military families with an annual household income of $50,000 were affected by recent furloughs, ranging from reduced hours at the commissary to limited access to medical treatment.
"It's worth noting that a significant subset of active-duty households include a federal employee," CEO Scott Spiker told Government Executive. "These families were hit twice by the furloughs – through a reduction in various services to the military communities as well as smaller paychecks for federal workers."
According to the survey, which also collected data from civilian households, only 32 percent of non-military middle-class families felt negative effects from the recent government furloughs.