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Benefits halted for fallen soldiers' families amid shutdown

Since the shutdown began, survivors of fallen soldiers haven’t gotten benefits.

MOTHER: “There is nothing like this pain. For the sacrifice that these kids are making at the age that they’re making them, I don’t understand how this can be a benefit that’s withheld." (Via MSNBC)

Last week, the families of five U.S. soldiers received the gut-wrenching news their loved ones had been killed in Afghanistan. They join the 12 other service members to have died since the shutdown began. (Via CNN)

Adding insult to injury, the shutdown has forced the Pentagon stop sending the so-called death benefits it awards to families of servicemembers killed in the line of duty. That includes a $100,000 tax-free payment wired to families within three days of a service member’s death. (Via YouTube / spouse2010

They’re meant to help families cover funeral costs, as well as pay for plane tickets to see the flag-draped coffins at Dover Air Force Base. (Via NBC

Over the weekend, Congress passed legislation allowing for most of the Pentagon’s civilians employees to return to work. Some Republican lawmakers say the death benefits should be covered under that legislation. (Via WXXA

A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Tuesday urging him to find a way to continue the payments. (Via Euronews

REID: “It’s an unbearable loss, but now they’re being denied death benefits because of this senseless shutdown … It’s shameful and embarrassing.” (VIa WGAL

MCCAIN: “I’m ashamed! I’m embarrassed. All of us should be.” (Via WAVY

Congressional aides told The Hill new legislation to restore the benefit could get a vote in the House as soon as Wednesday. In the meantime, a military foundation in Maryland has offered to help cover the missed payments.

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