October 9, 2013 11:08 am -

Somebody made a huge error by deciding that monies would not go to families of dead soldiers during the government shutdown. Fisher House stepped in to pay in the meantime, but now Congress is looking to right this wrong.

Over the weekend, Defense Department officials acknowledged that the shutdown had halted the $100,000 payouts given to fallen troops’ families, usually paid within a few days of their deaths.

At least five U.S. servicemembers have died in Afghanistan since the start of the month.

“Despite the recall of most civilians and the resumption of many activities across the Department of Defense, there are critical programs and benefits that remain halted,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.

The news prompted outrage among veterans advocates. Officials from the American Legion voiced their support for any legislation that would restore the payouts. Leaders from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors said the stoppage could cause unnecessary hardship for already grieving families.

Officials from the Fisher House foundation announced they will cover the costs of flights, hotels and other incidentals for grieving family members until the payouts are restored. Army Emergency Relief and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society have also made similar public offers.

Republican leaders in the House said Tuesday they are working on a legislative solution to the problem, one that would extend military leaders’ authority to quickly distribute the gratuities again. A vote on the issue was expected as early as Wednesday afternoon.