Local Military Support Increased Benefits

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Families of servicemen killed in action could see a boost in benefits under a proposal discussed Tuesday in Washington.

Pentagon reports put the number of troops killed in Iraq at more than 1,400.

"Obviously, in many cases, you've lost the bread winner of the family," Brig. Gen. Kerry

Denson of Wisconsin's Army National Guard says, "Obviously as a nation we have a moral obligation to take care of these families that have given so much."

Now, the Bush administration wants to give more. On Tuesday, the Senate's Armed Services Committee discussed increasing the one time, tax free death benefit to $100,000 from its current $12,000.

"That's less than the cost of a new car. I think a significant improvement in that benefit is way overdue," Lt. Col. Tim Donovan says.

Also due, some say, is the proposed $150,000 hike in life insurance.

The plan is retroactive to October of 2001, meaning families of troops killed in Afghanistan would benefit.

But critics argue the increases should extend to all troops killed while on active duty, no matter if they are killed in a combat zone or not.

Reports put the cost at nearly $500 million for the first year.

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