Military Death Payments Trouble Families

$500,000 windfalls for next of kin can cause confusion, discord
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2008 8:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – The military pays $500,000 to the next of kin of every soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, but the sudden injection of cash during a time of grief often throws survivors off balance. Young military spouses can struggle with money management and long-lost friends and relatives sometimes appear asking for handouts. Some military kin have quickly ended up destitute.

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Many who have lost loved ones feel deeply offended when the government money first arrives. “My casualty assistance officer handed me the check and I wanted to tear it up and throw it right back at him,” a Navy widow told the New York Times. “It was almost like accepting the money meant truly acknowledging that the death had happened.” (Read more Iraq war stories.)

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