Even though Congress passed legislation last week to continue paying active-duty military, the Pay Our Military Act law did not provide military families money for funeral expenses and immediate costs that hit when a loved one in the military has been killed.
The following is a report from the NBC Today Show:
The shutdown of the federal government is now affecting some families when they are most vulnerable, denying them benefits to help with funeral expenses of loved ones killed while serving the country.
The families of five U.S. service members who were killed over the weekend in Afghanistan have been notified that they won’t be receiving the $100,000 benefit normally wired to relatives within 36 hours of the death. The “death gratuity” is intended to help cover funeral costs and help with immediate living expenses until survivor benefits typically begin.
The money also helps cover costs to fly families to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to witness the return of their loved ones in flag-draped coffins.
“Washington may be shut down, but it’s still asking people to go to war,” said Gayle Tzemach Lemmon of the Council on Foreign Relations. “When people realize that they can serve and fight for their country, but that their families will get an I.O.U. until the shutdown is over, I think they’re just shocked.”
You can view the full story from the Today Show.