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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and a bipartisan group of senators today urged Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to provide immediate death gratuity benefits to the families of those killed in action during the government shutdown.

The death gratuity program provides these families with a special tax-free payment of $100,000 to help with the looming costs of funerals, travel expenses, and living expenses as normal military paychecks are suspended immediately when a soldier is killed while on active duty. 

Boozman and his colleagues urged Secretary Hagel in a letter “to use what whatever legal discretion you have to ensure that the nation can fulfill that sacred obligation, and to promptly notify us of changes required under law while the Congress continues to work towards opening the government. Most immediately, we request that you seek an interim solution to allow the families of five service members killed in Afghanistan this weekend to welcome their loved ones home.”

Along with Boozman, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Tom Carper (D-DE).

Click the file attached below to read the letter in its entirety.

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