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The Fisher House Foundation has agreed to offer families of US military members killed in combat an advanced grant to cover their death benefits. This announcement came following news that the Defense Department is unable to pay death gratuities directly to the grieving families due to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown. In a statement on Oct. 9, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said under this arrangement, DOD, through the Fisher House, would provide the family members "with the full set of benefits they have been promised, including a $100,000 death gratuity payment." After the shutdown ends, "DOD will reimburse the Fisher House for the costs it has incurred," said Hagel. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), worked with the Fisher House to broker this deal. "During these times of dysfunction and gridlock rampant in Washington, it shows the strength of family organizations and the American people that they are willing to step up," he stated in an Oct. 8 release. (See also Thornberry release.) (Fisher House Foundation website)