Families of service members killed in the line of duty during a government shutdown would not be paid death benefits, a senior defense official told Pentagon reporters Friday.
Typically the $100,000 payment is received within days of a military death. Now families of fallen soldiers will have to wait for Congress to resolve the budget impasse before any of those payments can be made, adding financial stress to the pain of losing a loved one.
"When it finally gets down to it we can't disperse the money," this senior official said. "It's just not legal."
The Pentagon pays out roughly 100 to 150 deaths benefits a month.
This official said he hoped a shutdown can be averted, and admitted that if it happens the effects would be "harsh and unfair" on all Defense Department personnel.
The Pentagon is hoping it can work out an agreement with some of the military aid organizations to provide families of fallen troops interest free loans that could later be paid back by the government. But, this official said, "we don't have all that nailed down."