WASHINGTON — In the event of a government shutdown, the Pentagon would have to delay payments of the $100,000 death benefit that families receive if a military service member dies in the line of duty, a senior defense official said Friday,
Families would get the money eventually after the government re-opens, but they could have problems paying expenses, including for the funerals, the official said, adding that the Pentagon will reach out to various military aid agencies to help those who need it.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel details, said as many as 150 death benefits are paid out every month.
The death benefit is one of many Pentagon payments and services that could be curtailed if the government shuts down at midnight Friday — and they range from paychecks to performances by military bands and the famed Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels air demonstration squadrons.
According to the Pentagon, if a shutdown ends by next Tuesday the military could get full paychecks on April 15th. But if it continues longer than that, they would get only partial pay. More than 150,000 U.S. troops are deployed to wars overseas, and thousands of others are assigned to other operations including the Libya mission and aid to Japan in the wake of the earthquake.