Shortly after the government shutdown on Sept. 30, certain programs stopped being funded, including the immediate death benefits fallen soldiers’ families are to receive shortly after any casualty.
In total, there were 28 families that did not get the funds generally given. Usually around $100,000 is given, and used to fly family members out to Dover Air Base to receive remains and cover funeral costs or further expenses.
Soon after news broke that families weren’t paid, there was a general outbreak of disappointment toward the government from the American citizens.
Nevertheless, quickly after, the government promised to fix the problem.
The house stated on Oct. 9 that they planned to put through a bill they hoped would be approved by President Obama. The bill would reinstate the funding to the fallen soldiers families, still, this was after some of the families already had paid to fly themselves out to Dover Air Force Base.
Before the government had a chance to fix this error, a private charity named Fisher House stepped in to pay the fees.
“I’m hopeful that this will be a temporary measure not a long term measure, but we are in it for as long as we need to be,” CEO of Fisher House Ken Fisher said.
Fisher House stepped in when the Department of Defense knew they could not pay the fees.
“In the days before the shutdown, we warned Congress and the American people that (the Defense Department) would not have the legal authority to make these payments during a lapse in appropriations,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
There’s debate within the government about how this situation happened, and how it should have been handled. After the government began functioning again on Oct. 17, Fisher House no longer had to pay the families. The Department of Defense once again picked up the responsibility.
These unpaid benefits showed how the government shutdown affected the people of the United States.
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