WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel greatly appreciates the generosity of the Fisher House Foundation in making $100,000 death gratuity payments and providing other funds to the families of fallen service members, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement released Oct. 11.
The Fisher House Foundation offered to make the death gratuity payments to these families from its own funds, and Office of Management and Budget officials determined DOD can enter into a contract with the Fisher House Foundation to provide these benefits. After the shutdown ends, DOD will reimburse the Fisher House for the costs it has incurred. Littles statement reads as follows:
Today, senior DOD leaders consulted with the leadership of the Fisher House Foundation on moving forward with providing death benefits to the families of fallen service members. Now that Congress has enacted legislation permitting DOD to provide families these benefits directly during the government shutdown, DOD is moving expeditiously to pay each family the $100,000 death gratuity they are owed. These payments were initiated today and the families will receive them early next week, when their banks reopen for business.
In addition, Fisher House Foundation will donate $25,000 to each of these families from its own funds.
Secretary Hagel greatly appreciates the generosity of the Fisher House Foundation, as well as other groups which have stepped forward to help these families in their time of need. With Congress no longer preventing DoD from making these payments to the families directly, he is pleased that DoD will be able to fulfill its responsibilities to the families of the fallen. The Secretary remains deeply concerned about the disruptive impact the ongoing shutdown is having on Departmental operations, and continues to urge Congress to restore funding to the entire federal government.