U.S. House Restores Death Benefits To Families With Fallen Military Members

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UPDATED: Wednesday October 9, 2013 6:43 PM

One of the more shocking fallouts from the government shutdown was the decision to suspend death benefits to those whose loved ones were killed while serving our country.

But early on Wednesday, the President ordered the administration to find a solution telling his staff that he was disturbed to learn of the problem.

While the House voted to restore death benefits, those whose children died while serving the country say lawmakers should never have allowed it to happen in the first place.

A Grove City grandmother, Diana Forrester, has some choice words for politicians in Washington.

“I'm outraged the whole federal government should be hanging its head. All the elected officials, whether they are Republicans or Democrats or Independents, there is no excuse for this," she says.

Forrester's son, 44-year-old Master Sergeant Shawn Hannon, was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2012 while serving in the Ohio National Guard.

“Sean felt he did what he needed to do", she says.

After his death, she says her son's wife received his death benefits within three days.

But when she learned other wives and husbands may have to wait longer because of the government shut-down, she felt the need to speak out.

“I am outraged I am incensed. I can't tell you how angry I am".

Just before she spoke to 10TV, the U.S. House voted to restore death benefits for those killed in action.

The Senate has yet to vote, but for Forrester, the damage is already done.

“Of course I’m glad that they've changed it, but they can't undo it. I'm sorry for the parents who have lost their children the wives who have lost their husbands and this just adds to it,” she said.

And if anyone knows the pain of losing a child in combat, it's this grandmother whose son left behind a wife and a two-year old boy.

Eighteen months since his death, Forrerster says her family is still trying to put the pieces of the family back together again.

“You don't put it back together the same way whatever the balance was before it's not that way ever it's a like a three legged stool everybody has to figure out how to prop up their own edge, she said.

Under the veterans death benefits plan the Pentagon also pays families a $100,000 death gratuity when troops are killed in combat, and provides burial benefits as reimbursement for funeral and internment costs.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is spelled out some of the dire consequences for veterans of a long-term government shutdown, with about 3.8 million veterans not getting a disability check next month if the shutdown continues into late October.

Shinseki says some 315,000 veterans and 202,000 surviving spouses and dependents would also see pension payments stopped.

In all, more than $6 billion in payments would be halted with an extended shutdown.

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