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I am an E-5 being paid as an E-6 but I cannot get DFAS to stop paying me at the E-6 rate- What can I do?

Top I really need some help here. On ______ 2011 I was flagged for being overweight (1% over). However, I was already on the by-name promotion list for E-6 and DFAS started paying me at the E-6 rate. I was counseled on the date I should have been promoted and flagged. I immediately reported to my chain of command that I was being paid as an E-6. S-1 and Finance have been trying to solve this for two years but no one knows how to fix this and I really needs some help. Help! HELP!

Battlefield Deception Guide - From Alexander the Great to Norman Schwarzkopf

I reached out to one of our SME’s to confirm our thoughts on this issue.


This was an erroneous promotion.  Happens frequently.  This should be a simple fix.

 Actions to Consider

Our thoughts are that you CONSIDER:

1.  A 4187 should be put together that explains the situation.  You were erroneously promoted to SSG on the date specified.  You should then include a copy of your LES and ERB to show that you are a SGT in the Army Personnel System but being paid as a SSG in the DFAS system.

2. Next you should consider putting  together a step by step memorandum that shows all the actions you took to try and correct the issue. You might even try to get individuals from your previous unit to write statements for you. The purpose of this historical document is to show you took every action you could to rectify the issue. This could be to your benefit regarding the repayment method.

3. Then your chain of command should conduct an investigate into  the issue and see if you should be required to pay the money back.  There is an option that allows you to pay it back over time and there may be an option that you do not have to pay it back if you were in a de facto status.  See below.


4. Before you do the above you might want to consider

a. calling DFAS directly 888-33-7411 erroneous promotions o

b. try ASK DFAS

Communication is Key

Above all else keep you chain of command informed.

 Document Document Everything!

I would strongly encourage you to put together a historical document that tells your side of the story so that you can show your actions.  Include the counseling statement, any previous 4187s, witness statement, etc.

Extract AR 600-8-19


1–16. Erroneous promotions and de facto status

a.  Instruments announcing erroneous promotions will be revoked. When a Soldier has been erroneously promoted and has received pay at the higher grade, a determination of de facto status may be made only to allow the Soldier to keep any pay and allowances received at the higher grade.

b.  De facto status may be granted by the promotion authority or higher CDR after legal review by the servicing Staff Judge Advocate’s office. A U.S. property and fiscal officer is the final approval authority for USAR and ARNG personnel. In determining whether a Soldier is entitled to de facto status, a factual evaluation must be made to determine whether—

(1) A DA Form 4187 or promotion order has been issued.

(2) The Soldier occupied the higher grade in good faith.

(3) The Soldier actually discharged the functions of the higher grade.

(4) There is no absolute statutory bar to his or her receipt of the pay at the higher grade.

c. De facto status for Soldiers erroneously promoted to SFC, MSG, and SGM will be determined by HRC (AHRC–PDV–PE), or the RRC. Promotions revoked because of voluntary actions such as a retirement and declination will not result in de facto status. All requests for de facto status on a Soldier erroneously promoted to the grades of SFC, MSG, and SGM must be reviewed by the Soldier’s servicing Staff Judge Advocate’s office prior to being submitted to CDR, (AHRC–PDV–PE), or CDR, RRC for decision


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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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