Pentagon resumes death benefits to military families

Pentagon resumes death benefits to military families

POSTED: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 5:57pm

UPDATED: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 5:58pm

The Pentagon is again paying death benefits to military families under emergency legislation approved by Congress and signed into law.

The military had contracted with a charity, Fisher House, to cover benefit costs once they were halted by the government shutdown, which began October 1.

But Congress stepped for a permanent fix, approving legislation this week to do that. President Barack Obama signed it into law on Thursday night.

The issue became an emotional political flashpoint in the sharply partisan shutdown fight over spending and Obamacare in Congress.

Spouses and families of service members who die get $100,000 as well as other benefits, such as the cost of burial, travel, and housing.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Friday that the agency was "moving expeditiously" to pay each family "the death gratuity they are owed."

The payments were initiated on Friday and families will receive them early next week, Little said.

In addition, Fisher House Foundation will donate $25,000 to each of the families from its own funds.

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