Check Your Use or Lose Leave Balance

In today’s excitement, it has been reported to me that the current use-or-lose balance being listed on Leave and Earnings Statements (LES) is being calculated incorrectly.  And I’ve got some LES evidence that this rumor is true.

On 1 October 2014, the amount of leave that could be carried over from year to year dropped from 75 days to 60 days.  60 days is the historical norm, but the numbers were bumped up during the high op-tempo of the last decade.

Lose or Use Leave Wrong - FB SizeAccording to the report that I received, the Defense Finance and Accounting System (DFAS) program was not reprogrammed from 75 days to 60 days, and current Leave and Earnings Statements are showing incorrect balances.  If this is true, then servicemembers who are carefully tracking their leave will need to add 15 days to their use-or-lose balance in order to get the right amount.  No one wants to lose leave, especially not because they were counting on their LES to have the math right.

I have talked to the nice folks at DFAS, and I expect to get an official answer shortly.  In the meantime, check your LES and do the math yourself.  Here’s what to look for:

Military Leave Balance Calculated INcorrectly

BF Bal is how much leave you had at the beginning of the fiscal year.  Military folks earn 2.5 days of leave per month, so this LES shows that the service member had earned 10 days of leave between the start of the fiscal year, 1 October 2014, and the end of January 2015.  He hadn’t taken any leave.   This servicemember will earn an additional 20 days of leave between the date of this LES and the end of the fiscal year, 30 September 2015, for a total of 30 days of leave for the year.

Now, if this service member started with 70 days leave, and earns 30, and uses none, then he will have a total credit balance (Cr Bal) of 100 days of leave at the end of the year.   If you take the 100 days of leave that he will have earned, and subtract the 60 days of leave he is allowed to carry over, then his Use/Lose balance should say that he needs to take 40 days of leave before 30 September 2015, or lose that leave.  But what his Use/Lose leave balance actual says is 25 days, because the calculators seem to still be using the old, 75 day carry over rules.

According to the information I received, it could be a while before this is fixed.

The end of September may seem a long time away, but we all know that it can be difficult to get leave.  Starting the planning process now Don’t be scrambling and competing with your co-workers to take off at the last-minute.  Calculate your own use or lose leave balance correctly, and work with your command so that you hopefully will be able to take the leave you’ve earned.


About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • FM Tamara Craig/Huber/Thomas

    I have been tring for years to find out my status as to where I stand in my discharge. I was a medical out when 9/11 hit. Due to my knee’s. When my paperwork went out it went to my ex-husband who destroyed it. I have No Idea where I stand in my Military Benifits or if I qualify in any way. I am fully Disabled from an on the job accident non related to my Military Service. please help me in my quest. I’m looking for my DD-214 so as to clear up when and how oi was discharged. Thank you for you assistantance in this matter. 435-764-8080. I have lost everything I own when last year I had loaded my belongings in a U-Haul Truck and the Truck was Stolen. Being 100% disabled and now with nothing left I’m in desperate need of your help! Please get back to me as I’m literally at my last hope!!! With much Sincererity, Tamara Thomas

    • Kate

      Tamara, here are the instructions for getting a copy of your DD-214.… If you need assistance with the process, please contact a Veterans Service Officer through any veterans organization, such as the Disabled American Veterans, or through your county or state Veterans group.

      Good luck to you.