Military Death Benefits: Obama Signs Bill, Attorneys At Fault For Suspension?

In the outrage that ensued after military death benefits were denied to surviving families, President Obama has signed a bill authorizing payments, but who is at fault for the suspension? Attorneys?

The outcry from both sides of the political divide that was heard when it was reported that families of service members killed in action, since the partial government shutdown began, were not receiving the benefits due them, ended in the President finally signing a bill.

Finger pointing to determine whose fault it was in the first place continues.

Andrea Mitchell, from NBC News broke the news earlier this week and ever since there have been accusations and questions as to who prevented the families from getting the much needed benefits.

When a soldier is killed, a lump sum of $100,000 is made available to their family within 36 hours. This goes to cover funeral expenses and other incidentals such as the cost of traveling to retrieve the body when it’s returned to American soil.

The military death benefit is what families of service members count on to get them through the financial hurdle of putting their loved one to rest.

After the Senate passed the bill, the President signed it assuring the remaining war casualties will receive their due, however the controversy hasn’t ended.

Legislators on both sided want to know why the benefits were suspended in the firs place.

A Pentagon spokesperson warned the White House, in September, that if the government shutdown happened the funds would not be there to pay military families the money they expected to receive.

Apparently the Obama administration didn’t get the memo.

The private foundation Fisher House stepped in and offered to provide all families of fallen soldiers with what they were entitled until the government shutdown was resolved.

The Pentagon will reimburse the foundation for all expenses once the impasse ends.

The questions of who exactly suspended the military death benefits are not going away. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t give a clear answer and suggested that a bill was not necessary for the benefits to resume.

However, he was contradicted, when Obama signed a bill to restore them on the same day.

Republicans are leading the firestorm of criticism accusing Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale of playing politics with the military.

“You went out of your way to make this as ugly as possible, to inflict as much pain as possible on this department,” said Representative Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, who introduced the first bill days prior to the shutdown in an effort to exempt the military.

Hale suggested that he was just following orders from attorneys who had determined the military death benefits could not be paid.

“I resent your remarks,” the comptroller said. “I acted on the advice of attorneys and our best reading of a loosely worded law.”

How do you feel about knowing that attorneys had the last word on the military death benefit scandal?