Leadership: February 7, 2005


Currently, surviving kin of American troops killed in combat get $250,000 in life insurance and $12,420 in death benefits. Congress is raising the life insurance to $400,000 and the death benefits to $100,000. These payments will be made retroactive to October, 2001. These increases are partly in recognition of the fact that more troops (nearly half) are married. Further compensation is being given to widows (or widowers, two percent of the dead in Iraq are women) and orphans. There will be a $25,000 death benefit for each child left behind, and the children will have access to the military health care system until they are adults. Surviving spouses will get $1,500 a month, plus $750 a month for each child. Educational benefits for orphans will be increased as well. Far more military personnel are killed in non-combat situations, and there is pressure to provide the new benefits for them as well. Since the benefits increase is mainly to address family concerns, not recruiting, this makes sense.


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