5 Soldiers Killed, Hardly A Word Mentioned
Families of fallen troops are being denied military death benefits because of the government shutdown.
Over the weekend, the relatives of at least five U.S. military members received the heartbreaking news that their loved ones had died protecting their country while on duty in Afghanistan.
Within three days, the government was supposed to have fulfilled its promise to give $100,000 to these grieving families -- a "death gratuity" that is supposed to help cover funeral costs, as well as immediate living expenses until survivor benefits kick in. According to USA Today, the money is also supposed to cover family travel expenses so that they're able to meet their loved ones returning home for burial in flag-draped coffins at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Unfortunately, the government has been unable to fulfill this promise because of the shutdown, leaving the families high and dry during this vulnerable time.
In a media release Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed that it has suspended death benefits to families of fallen troops.
"The [Defense Department] does not currently have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action," the release said, adding: “Secretary [of Defense Chuck] Hagel assured the service leaders that he would work closely with them to address these challenges, and support the service members and families impacted by these disruptions."