TAPS Applauds Legislation to Guarantee Death Gratuity Payments for All Families of Active Duty Military Casualties

The Legislation Protects Families of Fallen Service Members with the Immediate Financial Assistance They Need In Case of a Government Shutdown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 18, 2018

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) applauds the inclusion of a vital provision in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2019 that protects the families of fallen active duty service members from financial hardship in the case of a government shutdown.

The provision ensures that the death gratuity payments given to families of military members who die while on active duty are protected, regardless of the federal government’s operating status.

Death gratuity payments are given to eligible survivors of deceased members of the Armed Forces within 24-36 hours of their loved one’s death. They provide cash payment to help survivors meet their financial needs during the period immediately following the service member’s death and before receipt of other survivor benefits, if eligible.

During prior government shutdowns, families of deceased military personnel have not received their expected death gratuity payment until after the shutdown ended. This has left grieving families strapped to finance the costs of their loved one’s funeral and burial, including their travel to Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer of the service member’s remains.

TAPS has worked for several years to advocate for a permanent solution to this problem. Along with our partner organizations – Wounded Warrior Project and Military Order of the Purple Heart – TAPS is heartened by the provision within the 2019 Defense Department budget that guarantees funding will be available for all future death gratuity payments, even when government services are suspended at the time of the military death.

"TAPS is grateful to see the inclusion of this provision to guarantee the payment of the Death Gratuity in case of a government shutdown,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder. “As the national organization that cares for the families of our fallen military, we appreciate the attention Congress has given to this matter.”


TAPS President and Founder, Bonnie Carroll, is available to speak with media about the legislation and the work TAPS has done over the years to help advance it. To schedule interviews, please contact Rita Barry-Corke at media@taps.org or (860) 304-1807.

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The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the leading national organization providing compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 80,000 survivors of fallen military in the form of peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).