Military death benefits to be paid by Fisher House during shutdown
(Photo: U.S. Air Force, Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera)

During the 2018 government shutdown, death benefits will not be paid out to the families of service members killed in the line of duty. Two soldiers killed in an accident at Fort Irwin, CA on Saturday are most likely the first soldiers to have the $100,000 gratuity suspended in light of the shutdown. In response,  Fisher House will provide grants to the families of the deceased.

When a shutdown seemed imminent on Friday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reached out to the CEO of Fisher House, Ken Fisher, to ask for their help in providing for the newly deceased’s family members, Stars and Stripes reports. Fisher House will also provide “flights, hotels and other incidentals for family members,” according to Manchin’s press release.

On Twitter, Fisher House announced their involvement: “While our military continues to serve, despite the shutdown, we must ensure that their families, those who serve and sacrifice by their sides, are also taken care of. We stand ready to respond.”

This is not the first time that Fisher House has stepped in to provide funds during a shutdown. reports that during the last one in 2013, the non-profit provided $75,000 grants for 30 families. Fisher House has pledge to continue payments to the families of the deceased until the shutdown ends.

Death gratuities are paid as cash to ensure families are able to meet financial obligations that may be incurred during and after a service member’s death. It is different from survivor benefits, like the Survivor Benefit Plan.

By J.G. Noll