TODAY

TODAY   |  October 09, 2013

Charities fill benefit gap for fallen soldiers’ families

The families of soldiers killed since the government shutdown began are at Dover Air Force base to pick up their loved ones’ remains, but still won’t be receiving the emergency death benefits from the Pentagon. Now, private charities are stepping in to fill in the gap. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>> story. it broke here on tuesday. it's prompted shame and embarrassment on capitol hill and around the country. it's the story of military families caught in the middle of this. andrea mitchell is here again and has the latest in all of it. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. our story did spark outrage from lawmakers that vow to try and fix the problem today. but a private charity stepped in to do what the government did not do. take care of the families of fallen u.s. service members. this morning a solemn ceremony. some families paid for the flights themselves. because of the government shutdown they didn't get death benefits. $100,000 normally paid within 36 hours of a death to help cover immediate cost. the charity has stepped in to take the place of the government.

>> i'm hoping this say temporary measure and not long-term but we're in it as long as we need to be.

>> the mother of jeremiah collins back home in milwaukee.

>> for the sacrifice our kids are making at the age that they're making them, i don't understand how this can be a benefit that's withheld. i will not -- i won't ever understand it.

>> reporter: another of the fallen, special agent joseph peters , a 24-year-old intelligence officer from springfield, missouri serving in afghanistan after two tours in iraq and the father of a 20 month old son. his wife ashley issued this statement. it is upsetting because hi husband died for his country and now my family is left to worry. my husband always said if something happened to him we would be taken care of.

>> it's shameful and embarrassing.

>> reporter: outrage from lawmakers who caused the shutdown. speaker boehner vowed the house will introduce a new bill today to reinstate the death benefits.

>> the house will act specifically on this.

>> reporter: both are outraged.

>> shouldn't we has republican, democrat, whoever we are, shouldn't we be embarrassed and ashamed?

>> your government let you down in your time of need.

>> reporter: i talked to family members last night who are angry and hurt by the stalemate while the senate and the white house rejected other bills to fix shutdown problems this is one action by the house today that will be very hard to reject. savannah.

>> andrea mitchell , thank you so