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Cancelled or Postponed Deployment: The Importance of Contingency Planning

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Plan My Deployment is a planning tool that helps service members and families manage and build resilience through every phase of deployment.

Gearing up for a deployment can be stressful, but getting those orders cancelled or postponed can be even more so. Being prepared for change is part of military life, so make sure to include contingency planning in your predeployment preparations. Having an idea of how you will handle a change in plans can help you be prepared for any unexpected hiccups.

Contingency Planning Is Part of Deployment Planning

If your orders do change, use the following tips to help you reorganize.

  1. First Things First
    • Alert family members and loved ones. After all that planning, expect some frustration. You may be irritated, while others may feel in limbo. Communicate with your family and discuss expectations based on your new situation.
    • Secure your housing. Notify your installation housing office or landlord ASAP about remaining in your home if you’re renting. If you own and planned to rent your home or sell it, alert your property manager or realtor to the change of plans.
    • Contact schools or medical offices. If you’ve transferred school or medical records in preparation of the move, now is the time to get them sent back to their original locations.
    • Update your family care plan. Single parents, dual-military couples with children, and those who care for a disabled or elderly family member must complete this document. The family care plan outlines logistical, financial, medical, legal and other matters for a caregiver for your loved one(s). Alert the caregiver and revise the plan. Learn more about preparing your family care plan.
  2. Financial Matters
    • Adjust your budget. Deployment can mean higher pay, but cancelled or postponed deployment may necessitate a review or update of your spending plan. Revisit any changes made during your deployment planning to reflect your new financial reality.
    • Update allotments. You may have adjusted portions of your pay and allowances to other people, creditors or savings accounts based on the higher deployment-related pay you expected. You may want to cancel or revise those adjustments. Complete a Department of Defense Form 2558 or make changes through your MyPay account.
    • Check SCRA protections. Certain protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act — such as limiting interest rates on debt — will no longer be available if your deployment is cancelled. Learn more about benefits and protections under the SCRA.
    • Reach out for financial assistance. If changes in your deployment plans create financial problems, support is available through Military OneSource or your installation Military and Family Support Center. Learn more about military emergency relief organizations and emergency financial help.
  3. Legal and Other Matters
    In preparing for deployment, you may have updated paperwork or several legal documents. As plans have changed, you may want to revise the following:

    • Power of attorney. This gives someone else authority to make decisions over your legal and financial affairs while you were deployed. Unless you revoke that authority, that person still can act on your behalf.
    • Will, living will and other medical directives. These may or may not need updating. However, if you made updates based on planned deployment, you may want to review them with an attorney from your installation legal services/JAG office.
    • Insurance policies, etc. In planning for deployment, you may have made changes to several documents that may need revisiting. Make sure to update beneficiaries and coverage amounts on any life insurance policies if necessary, and cancel or revise your change-of-address form.
  4. Special Considerations for National Guard and Reserve Members
    • Civilian employment. A postponement can pose a challenge for National Guard and reserve service members who have already notified their employer of the upcoming deployment. Be sure to notify your employer as soon as possible that the deployment has been cancelled or postponed.
    • Check your deadlines for reemployment. National Guard and reserve service members are still covered under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, for their time spent on active duty preparing for the deployment. But the deadlines for reporting back to work or applying for reemployment vary depending on the amount of time you were away on military duties.
    • You will need to let your employer know within the timeframe specified under the act. If the new deployment dates are indefinite or in the distant future, you may need to contact your employer and return to work. Learn more about USERRA protections, and contact your local legal services/JAG office with any questions.

If you need assistance with deployment planning, there are many military and family support resources available to you. Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 to answer questions and connect you with assistance. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS calling options, or schedule a live chat. You can also contact your local Military and Family Support Center for information about support programs and services.

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