By Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden, 15th Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force Accounting and Finance Office has directed an Air Force-wide recertification for those receiving with-dependent rate basic allowance for housing. The 15th Comptroller Squadron (CPTS) began the process for JBPHH Airmen on April 1.
By Dec. 31, every Airman will be required to provide the finance office with documentation for their primary dependent as part of Air Force audit readiness efforts.
The recertification process will allow the Air Force to validate Airmen BAH entitlements, ensuring every dollar of the $5.4 billion the Air Force spends annually on BAH is fully auditable.
The JBPHH recertification process will move forward a few units at a time to keep the program manageable. Staff Sgt. Bien Covita, 15th CPTS NCO in charge of special actions, said members should expect to receive an email from the 15th CPTS notifying them when it is time to bring in their documents. However, absence of an email does not excuse the member from personal responsibility.
Once notified, Airmen will have 30 days to provide the required documents to the finance office or have their housing allowance status reduced to single-rate. Deployed Airmen and those on extended leave or temporary duty will be given special consideration in meeting the 30-day deadline.
“If you know you receive with-dependent rate BAH but you never receive an email, you still need to come see us,” said Covita. “It’s especially important to make sure you don’t miss your deadline in Hawaii because the cost of rent is so high here that losing part of your BAH will hurt.”
Covita said there will be no retroactive payments made to members whose BAH is reduced due to failure to provide proper documentation by the given deadline.
Airmen have the option of responding via email by scanning in their paperwork and sending to firstname.lastname@example.org. mil or taking their documents into the finance office. Covita said that either way, AF Form 594 will require a wet signature.
Additionally, Covita cautions members not to assume exemption from the recertification process before contacting the finance office.
“Even if you just PCS’d or got married last month and you just received your with-dependent rate status, you will still need to provide paperwork,” he said.
The push for revalidation of dependent documentation comes as the Air Force prepares to meet financial improvement and audit readiness requirements laid out in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. The Air Force currently retains dependent documentation for six years, which is insufficient to meet audit readiness requirements. Bennett said this one-time revalidation will ensure Air Force compliance with audit requirements.
“America entrusts the Air Force not only to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently, but also to account and justify that expenditure,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III in a recent memo. “Preparation for this important and legislatively-mandated effort rests in the hands of every Airman, not just the financial community.”
Although revalidation of Airmen’s dependents will be a one-time recertification, Airmen will continue to play a vital role in the Air Force’s audit readiness. Starting in 2015, independent auditors will visit work stations for Airmen to review processes, procedures and transactions that directly impact the Air Force’s financial statements.
“Ensuring we have the proper documentation to account for every expenditure in a very large budget is a difficult but essential effort,” said Dr. Jamie Morin, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller.
“Becoming audit ready will help us demonstrate to the American public that we are responsible stewards of taxpayer money at a time when we must make every dollar count.”
The timeline for the JBPHH recertification process is as follows:
April: 15th Wing Staff Agencies
May: 647th Air Base Group
June: 15th Maintenance Group, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Pacific Command
July: 15th Medical Group, 17th Operational Weather Squadron, 25th Air Support Operations Squadron, 613th Air and Space Operations Center, 561st Network Operations Squadron, 1st Weather Squadron, 2nd Weather Squadron and 690th Network Support Squadron
August: 15th Operations Group, 56th Air Communications Squadron, 348th Recruiting Squadron, 369th Recruiting Squadron and Pacific Air Forces
September: Remaining Tenant Organizations
Members should review the 15th CPTS sharepoint site at https://hickam.eim.pacaf.af.mil/15wg/15AW-CPTS/BAHRecertification/default.aspx for examples of how to properly complete the AF Form 594. Proper documentation such as marriage and birth certificates, divorce decrees showing amount child support paid, etc. must be submitted with the AF Form 594. For members with secondary dependents such as parents, unmarried children ages 21-11 enrolled in college, the DFAS dependency approval notification issued will serve as the appropriate document. For more information, contact (808) 449-0893.