Image: Jeremiah M. Collins Jr.
Jose Luis Magana / AP

TODAY   |  October 08, 2013

Shutdown keeps families from soldiers’ death benefits

The families of five U.S. troops killed over the weekend in Afghanistan received calls saying the government wouldn’t be able to pay their death benefits to help with funerals and flights to meet their loved ones’ coffins because of the government shutdown. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> government shutdown is effecting military families. nbc's andrea mitchell is here with a closer look at that. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. of all the outrage in washington over the government shutdown , this one really hits home. the families of five u.s. troops killed over the weekend in afghanistan got a second call from the government. the government cannot pay their death benefits. the immediate benefits to help with flights and funerals to help because of the government shutdown . far from the furloughs on the front lines jeremiah collins worked saturday one of the most dangerous government jobs there is. on patrol in afghanistan . the 19-year-old was killed in helmand province . back home in milwaukee, a mother's grief. collins was one of five u.s. service members killed in afghanistan over the weekend. on sunday, four u.s. troops were killed in an attack. they died on the 12th anniversary of a war that claimed more than 2100 members of the u.s. military . but unlike those killed before, these service members families won't receive the $100,000 death gratuity wired to families within 36 hours to help with expenses like the funeral until survivor benefits are paid. no money either to fly the families to delaware for the returned of hair loved ones coffin.

>> washington maybe shutdown but it's still asking people to go to war. when people realize they can serve and fight for their country but that their families will get an iou until the shutdown is over, i think they're just shocked.

>> reporter: shannon collins still shocked back in milwaukee can't wait for washington . she's already grieving. officials say the law passed last week to pay civilian members of the military doesn't allow this immediate death benefit to be paid to families of the fallen. the pentagon is hoping for a way to correct it perhaps as early as today.

>> what a story. andrea mitchell .