This bill — known as the Families of Fallen Servicemembers First Act — would provide a permanent appropriation for the payment of death gratuities and related benefits to survivors of deceased servicemembers during a period where appropriations have lapsed and the government is shut down. Funds would be provided at the rate and under the conditions described in the most recently enacted defense appropriations bill.
Benefits covered by this bill include:
Death gratuities for survivors of deceased military servicemembers;
Funeral and burial expenses;
Authorized funeral travel, including to dignified transfer ceremonies;
A temporary continuation of a basic allowance for housing for dependents.
Under current law, military death benefits aren’t paid immediately if a servicemember dies during a government shutdown, and survivors have to wait for funding to be restored to receive the benefit.