$500K Death Benefits for 5 Military Dead In Afghanistan Denied: Spent $1.1B in Fed Salaries – Fisher House Steps Up

I’m from the government and I’m here to help. The families of five service members who died in Afghanistan this past weekend received phone calls from the Obama administration saying the “death gratuity” of $100,000.00 would not be wired due to the government shutdown. The payment is intended for travel to Dover Air Force Base to claim the bodies of the loved-one who sacrificed all, as well as burial expenses while transitioning to survivor benefits. The Andrews Air Force Base golf course remains open during the shutdown. There is some good news. See below.

(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. Photo: U.S. Army

(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. Photo: U.S. Army

Marine Lance Corporal Jeremiah M. Collins Jr., 19, was killed Saturday while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. A $100,000 death benefit that normally would have been wired to his family is on hold because of the government shutdown.

Marine Lance Corporal Jeremiah M. Collins Jr., 19, was killed Saturday while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. A $100,000 death benefit that normally would have been wired to his family is on hold because of the government shutdown.

As of October 4, 2013 and the shutdown, the federal government spent $1.1 BILLION in salaries for federal employees. “At the same time, it took in $25.68 BILLION in tax revenue.

But we cannot pay $500,000 to the families of 5 dead service members.

“Washington may be shut down, but it’s still asking people to go to war,” said Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, with 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.” Read more.

There is good news because this is America and Americans answer the call to take care of our Military:

Washington, D.C. – Today, following reports that the Department of Defense would not be able to pay death gratuities to families of service members killed in combat, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) worked with the CEO of the Fisher House Foundation, Ken Fisher, to make sure these families are taken care of in their time of greatest need.

The Fisher House generously agreed to offer the families an advance grant until the government can make reimbursements at an appropriate time. The Fisher House will also cover flights, hotels and other incidentals for family members.

“After losing a loved one in service to our nation, these families should not have to endure more pain as the result of political squabbling,” said Ken Fisher, Chairman & CEO of Fisher House Foundation. “For the last 20 years, Fisher House has been there to support our military families in their time of greatest need. We are now stepping up to honor the sacrifices that have been made, and to repay a debt that is truly unpayable.” Source.

According to John Boehner’s press conference just a few minutes ago, the House has already passed a bill to allow the Department of Defense to fund whatever is necessary, including the Death Gratuity, for the Military. Harry Reid refused to allow a vote on the bill. Tomorrow the House will pass a bill to allow the Death Gratuity – that would be a “clean” bill. We’ll see if Reid allows it to get to the floor but don’t count on it. He doesn’t see a reason to “help” kids with cancer either. 

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