Retirees Forced to Repay Money After Navy Software Glitch

U.S. Navy sailor receives assistance with a cash transaction.
U.S. Navy sailor aboard the USS America receives assistance with a cash transaction, in the disbursing office, Sept. 4, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan A. Colon)

The Navy has acknowledged that a software issue last winter led to issues for more than 1,200 of its retirees who are now having to repay money to the government.

"A software issue associated with transmitting total creditable service for retirement or retainer pay resulted in some Navy retirees and members of the Fleet Reserve having incorrect service time calculated," Cullen James, a spokesman for the Navy Personnel Command, told in an email.

"There are 1,283 retirees impacted who have received overpayments," James added.

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The Navy says that it became aware of the problem in November 2022 and deployed a fix to correct the issue for the affected sailors -- as well as to keep it from cropping up in the future.

Navy Times was the first to report on the pay snafu Monday.

While the sea service says that the Defense Finance and Accounting Service -- the agency that is responsible for paying all employees of the Department of Defense -- sent out notices to the affected sailors on March 30, 2023, there has not been any public post or acknowledgment of the issue.

James explained that this outreach included "notifying [the retirees] of the overpayment and corrective measures underway to correct their retirement or retainer pay."

The incident comes just as the Navy has begun to recover from its last major issue with pay and paperwork systems, which became widely known last year when reported that the service was slow to get sailors their discharge paperwork, leading to stress and unnecessary expenses.

Those issues were caused in large part by the Navy's plan to modernize and consolidate how it handles many of the human resources requests that its force of more than 300,000 sailors generates on a daily basis.

James said that this issue was not connected to this broader effort, though it does come at a time when leaders within the Navy's personnel commands say they are working to rebuild a level of trust with the fleet.

The Navy's top personnel boss, Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, said that he is "working very hard to produce tangible data" about the progress the service has made in fixing backlogs, delays and issues with its network of revamped and aging IT systems responsible for tracking sailors' pay data.

"My word saying we're inside the ... timeline is not good enough. I need to prove it to my Navy and my sailors," Cheeseman said on the most recent episode of's podcast, Fire Watch.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Related: The Navy Says It Has Cleared Its Backlog of Discharge Paperwork

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