Families Of Fallen Soldiers Aren’t Getting Any Money Because Of — What Else — The Government Shutdown

fallen soliderAmidst the nine million children who aren’t getting government assistance and the shuttering of preschools thanks to the government shutdown, five families are being denied money to bury their kids. A new level of fucked up has just been reached.

NBC reports that our federal government is sitting on a $100,000 payment, known as “death gratuity,” that is normally sent to families 36 hours after losing a family member. The money is intended to cover funeral costs or travel to see the coffin draped with an American flag.

But five families who lost loved ones over the weekend in Afghanistan have been notified that payment is not en route at this time:

“Unfortunately, as a result of the shutdown, we do not have the legal authority to make death gratuity payments at this time,” said Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Defense Department. “However, we are keeping a close eye on those survivors who have lost loved ones serving in the Department of Defense.”

A defense official added that if the department were allowed to pay the death gratuity during the shutdown, it would be paid “with great relief.”

While Congress did reportedly pass a law last week to ensure that the military gets paid during the shutdown, this motion did not include death gratuity. So for the time being, these grieving families of the following service members are just holding IOUs:

The Marine was Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Collins Jr., 19, of Milwaukee, who the Pentagon said died Saturday while supporting combat operations in Helmand province. The Pentagon said that the death was under investigation.

Four soldiers were killed Sunday by an improvised bomb in Zhari district: 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno, 25, of San Diego; Sgt. Patrick Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa.; Sgt. Joseph Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.; and Pfc. Cody Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.

The mother and brother of Peters, who was assigned to the Army’s 5th Military Police Battalion, based in Italy, said that they were too upset to talk. His step-grandfather, Peters Jerry, said that the sergeant was getting out of the military after this tour, so that he could be home more with his 20-month-old son.

I can’t even.

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  • TngldBlue

    This is just all kinds of fucked up. I cannot express the pure anger I feel when reading things like this. The American people are suffering because of utterly incompetent politicians and as citizens we aren’t doing nearly enough to stop it. I encourage everyone to call every representative for their state as often as you can and implore them to stop this madness. Use your voice! And make your next vote count. There is not one single representative in congress right now, regardless of party, that will ever see a vote from me again. This is shameful.

    • Angela

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Carol Talley

      Not voting is not the answer ever! People have given their life for a voting opportunity, let’s get the right people in office. Voting is not just for the presidency remember we out some if these idiots in office simply by nosy paying attention to the other elections….

    • TngldBlue

      I’m not suggesting not voting. I’m suggesting not voting for any of the fuckwitts currently in office the next time they are up for re-election.

    • Peggy

      Agree. My husband is very in favor, and very vocal currently about voting out ALL incumbents, especially after this fuckery.

  • 88Mwife

    Why can’t we take the money from Congress? Or the Senate? Or the Commander in Chief? If a couple can donate money to keep a government funded preschool running, I feel that the least these asshats can do is take money from their own pockets to send to these families. Its disgraceful that they are sitting on their asses acting like 3 year olds while men and women half their age (some not even old enough to drink!) are dying for their right to do so and not receiving the compensation they were promised. My husband always used to tell people who told him he was stupid for joining the Army and going to the Middle East 3 times (like he had a choice) “You are entitled to your opinion and I’m going to make sure you are able to keep it.” These politicians are making a mockery of the sacrifices of these men and women. Rawr.