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Government Shutdown Affects Military Death Benefits

The government may have hit the pause button when it shut down, but halfway across the world, our military is still fighting.

The shutdown has left families of fallen military without the death gratuity that is normally given out by the Pentagon.

Ed Van Buren, a board member of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, said the $100,000 gratuity can't replace a loved one, but he believes it is necessary to continue to help the families.

"We just don't want to lose anymore sons and daughters in the global war on terrorism," he said. "But in spite of that, having great americans like the Fisher Foundation, the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, makes up for the inaccuracies and the problems that may occur in our political system."

Before the shutdown went into effect, the government agreed to pass a bill that would allow for the continued payment of the military; however, death benefits were not included in the bill, according to the Pentagon.

Since the government shut down, nearly 30 families have lost a loved one, for which the government has not provided the necessary benefits.

Ben Van Buren, a Purple Heart Recipient, said that the death benefits being cut is a painful repercussion from the government shut down.

"We never did it for the money, and finding out that some of our benefits do get cut it kinda hurts our feelings a little bit, but then we still have to keep fighting no matter what," he said. "Finding that specifically the death benefits for our families are gone that does put a little thorn in our side."

Hannah is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.