This bill seeks to honor those who have given their lives while serving in the armed forces by ensuring that, in the event of a government shutdown, their families still receive the benefits to which they’re entitled.
By law, when a member of the armed services die during their service, or within 120 days of being discharged, their families are paid a “death gratuity”. During a government shutdown, these benefits, like so many other government functions, grind to a halt. This bill would authorize, in the event of a government shutdown, any money left in the Treasury that hadn’t already been reserved for “military personnel” or “operation and maintenance” could be used to pay out these benefits. The benefit rate would be maintained at the levels most recently authorized by the budget.
Death benefits generally include $100,000 for the family, a year-long housing stipend, and coverage of expenses related to the service members’ funeral. The Dept. of Defense also covers travel expenses so that families can meet service members’ bodies at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.