Shutdown Halts Death Benefits To Families Of Fallen Soldiers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

'Disgusting': Outrage Erupts As Shutdown Halts Death Benefits To Fallen Soldiers' Kin

Posted: Updated:
(Left to right) Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno and Special Agent Joseph M. Peters were killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Sunday. (Left to right) Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno and Special Agent Joseph M. Peters were killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Sunday.

NBCNEWS.COM - 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." 

Marine Lance Corporal Jeremiah Collins Jr., a 19-year-old from Milwaukee, died Saturday while on patrol in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. He was one of five service members killed in Afghanistan over the weekend, including four troop members who died Sunday in an IED attack.

A law passed last week to continue paying civilian members of the military during the shutdown, but does not allow for payouts of the death benefit to the families of the fallen, officials told NBC's Andrea Mitchell. One senior official said he was "disgusted" by the predicament, but believes the Pentagon may be able to correct the problem as early as Tuesday.

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.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:45:06 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. >>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. In Spokane and Pend Oreille counties, several water systems are under boil-water advisories:·>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Progress being made on power outages

    Progress being made on power outages

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:36 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:36:01 GMT
    As of 11:00am Friday, there are just less than 15,000 customers without power in the Inland Northwest. There are still more than 6,125 Avista customers without power but Avista says reinforcement crews continue to arrive to help relieve and assist other crews who have been working around the clock. >>>SEE LATEST OUTAGE UPDATES>>>>>
    As of 11:00am Friday, there are just less than 15,000 customers without power in the Inland Northwest. There are still more than 6,125 Avista customers without power but Avista says reinforcement crews continue to arrive to help relieve and assist other crews who have been working around the clock. >>>SEE LATEST OUTAGE UPDATES>>>>>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • Leadership Spokane appoints Col. Newberry Executive Director

    Leadership Spokane appoints Col. Newberry Executive Director

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:14:22 GMT
    Colonel Brian Newberry was announced today by the Leadership Spokane Board of Trustees as the new Executive Director.Newberry begins his new position on August 1st and is taking over for Linda Finney who retired at the end of June. Colonel Brian M. Newberry was the Commander, 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.>>
    Colonel Brian Newberry was announced today by the Leadership Spokane Board of Trustees as the new Executive Director.Newberry begins his new position on August 1st and is taking over for Linda Finney who retired at the end of June. Colonel Brian M. Newberry was the Commander, 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.>>