government shutdown and its impact on the families of these american servicemen and women you're seeing. The ultimate sacrifice. The so-called death benefits cut off to families of those fallen... See More
government shutdown and its impact on the families of these american servicemen and women you're seeing. The ultimate sacrifice. The so-called death benefits cut off to families of those fallen soldiers. Abc's jim avila is in washington with much more on this. Good morning, jim. Reporter: Good morning, robin. Sick children that can't get into clinical trials. Capitol cops working out pay. And now, fallen heroes without family death benefits. They paid the ultimate price. But families of the war dead are being asked to suffer even more, due to the government shutdown. At the top of the list of things not working, for now nine days of shutdown, is what the pentagon calls the death gratuity. A $100,000 death payment to families of war dead. They're supposed to receive within three days of the death of their loved one. But that's now held up in political red tape. I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed. All of us should be. Reporter: Since the shutdown began, 17 service members have died. Six in afghanistan. The pentagon says, with its workers furloughed, it can't process the paperwork to pay the surviving relatives until after the shutdown is over. Washington may be shut down. But it's still asking people to go to war. Reporter: The money is used by families to arrange for funerals, fly to dover to greet anywhere fallen heroes' flag-draped coffins. And as immediate life insurance. Now because a small group of tea party republicans, we say we can't even take care of your family when you die in the service of the country. Reporter: But republican speaker of the house, john boehner, says that these death benefits should have been paid. Just as military salaries continue to be paid, despite the shutdown. It's disgraceful, that they're withholding these benefits. Reporter: A veterans charity called fisher house is helping with short-term funeral and travel needs for families. And the house is expected to pass a stop-gap measure today to fund the pentagon workers needed to process the benefits. But there's more bad news on the horizon. The v.A. Says if the shutdown continues, nearly 4 million vets went get their disability checks in november. Let's get more on the standoff from jon karl at the
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