Government shutdown 2013: Military death benefits withheld for grieving families

(WJLA) - The government shutdown is causing branches of the United States military to withhold death benefits for the survivors of members of the military killed in action.

Defense officials said Monday that among many critical programs and benefits for military members being stifled due to the shutdown, family members of several troops killed in action are not able to access the gratuities guaranteed to them.

These benefits, according to the Associated Press and USA Today, include a $100,000 cash payment due within three days of a service member's death, travel costs to and from Dover Air Force Base to meet a loved one's remains, costs to cover memorial services, caskets and burial expenses and other costs.

USA Today reports that the inability to disburse these benefits have already impacted the families of five service members - four Army troops and a Marine - who were killed in Afghanistan since the government shutdown began Oct. 1.