Obama Expects Troop Death Benefits Fix ‘Today’

President Obama signs the Pay Our Military Act on Oct. 1.

White House Photo

AA Font size + Print

President Obama signs the Pay Our Military Act on Oct. 1.

The public outrage over the shutdown halting ‘death gratuity’ payments to the families of fallen soldiers has reached the White House -- President Obama says he expects a fix today. By Stephanie Gaskell

The public outrage over death benefits paid to the families of fallen troops being halted during the government shutdown finally reached the White House. “President Obama expects this to be fixed today,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The families of servicemembers killed while on active duty receive a $100,000 payment within 36 hours of the death, to pay for burial and travel expenses. The money comes from the Defense Department, which warned Congress about the lapse in payments before the shutdown happened on Oct. 1. But it garnered little attention until five U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan over the weekend.  

“Everyone knew about it,” Carney said, who bristled at questions from a reporter about why it took so long to fix the problem. “The Republicans shut the government down down. None of this would be an issue if the government were open,” he said. “He’s doing it today, because it was not addressed by Congress in the Pay Our Military Act,” which Obama signed hours before the government closed down. “I’m not assigning blame for that, but it wasn’t [addressed].”

Several veterans organizations have offered to help the families of the five servicemebers who were killed in Afghanistan this weekend. And in a rare move, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to greet the families and the flag-draped coffins of their loved ones. He was joined by Army Secretary John McHugh.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.