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Gov’t Shutdown Denies Military Families Money for Funerals

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DoD failed to notify Congress that they were refusing death benefits to military families

Julie Wilson
Oct. 8, 2013

As if the public hasn’t suffered enough from the government “shutdown,” which was initiated by unnecessary political antics, now the families of fallen soldiers are literally paying the price in an unimaginable way.
The Washington Times reports that at least five families, who have lost a family member in the never ending war on terror over the weekend, have been denied their death benefits.

Families of fallen soldiers typically receive a death gratuity of $100,000 within 36 hours of the soldier’s death. This government pay-out is meant to help families with funeral costs, transportation expenses and serves as a “transitional pay benefit” until the military’s survivor benefits kick in. It also allows the families to fly over the Del. Dover Air Force Base and view the coffins of their loved ones being unloaded.

This latest cut in spending has provoked outrage, causing the non-profit group “Family Communications and Logistics for Luke’s Wings,” which offers assistance to military families, to step up and take action.

The non-profit group announced they will dip into their savings to help pay for the families of fallen soldiers who wish to fly to Dover Air Force Base so that they may participate in the viewing of their loved ones’ caskets.

The non-profit organization’s manager, Jennifer Magerer, said the members of her group were “deeply saddened” by the government’s decision to cut funding for death benefits.

Last Monday Democrats actually agreed to agree with the Republicans on something when they signed a bill that guaranteed pay for active-duty military in the event of a government shutdown. However, somehow the Department of Defense (DoD) ignored this provision.

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Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, that the DoD’s refusal to pay out death gratuity was a mistake based on “careless legal interpretation.” Instead of objecting the refusal to pay out military families, the DoD went about business as usual, failing to even notify Congress of the initiative.

Republicans claim they are drafting a bill that would immediately restore funds for death benefits, and hope to vote on the measure tomorrow.

The public, including military veterans, has already suffered enough at the hands of the corrupt US government by denying them the right to visit public memorials and national parks paid for by their tax dollars.

As Paul Joseph Watson wrote, the Obama administration has been accused of “being spiteful in using the government shut down to punish Americans as part of a political ploy to shift the blame for the impasse onto Republicans.”


This article was posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

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