Knoxville fallen Marine's mother outraged

Knoxville fallen Marine's mother outraged after government shutdown puts hold on military death benefits

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Lance Cpl William Koprince Jr. (source: family photo) Lance Cpl William Koprince Jr. (source: family photo)
"You have these things that you have to take care of that you really never ever thought you'd have to take care of and now you've got this extra level of, ‘Oh my gosh. How am I supposed to pay for any of this?'" Bernice Koprince said. "You have these things that you have to take care of that you really never ever thought you'd have to take care of and now you've got this extra level of, ‘Oh my gosh. How am I supposed to pay for any of this?'" Bernice Koprince said.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The government shutdown has put a hold on the death gratuity for military families. The mother of a local fallen Marine told 6 News the delay can be devastating for those military families.

"You have these things that you have to take care of that you really never ever thought you'd have to take care of and now you've got this extra level of, ‘Oh my gosh. How am I supposed to pay for any of this?'" Bernice Koprince said.

Koprince lost her 24-year-old son, Lance Cpl William Koprince Jr., in December 2006 when he was killed by an IED in Iraq.

"It's a day you never ever forget," Koprince said. "He was a very wonderful Marine, very proud to be a Marine. He enlisted to better himself."

Families of fallen soldiers and Marines like William Koprince are supposed to receive a $100,000 death benefit within 36 hours of their loved one's death.

That money is meant to cover the cost of the funeral and in some cases, fly families to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be there when their loved one's body is returned to the U.S.

Five families across the U.S. who lost loved ones over the weekend were notified they won't be receiving that money in time because of the government shutdown.

"I'm not sure where the government thinks they've got the funds sitting on the side to give their soldier or Marine the funeral that they deserve," Koprince said.

Koprince said another concern for these five families is their inability to positively ID their loved one's body at Dover Air Force Base.

"You have to see their body to know that it truly is who they said it was," Koprince said.

Some members of Congress blame Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, saying it's a mistake in how the Defense Department interpreted a Congressional resolution passed before the shutdown.

According to CNN, the head of the House Appropriations Committee said that Republican lawmakers are working on a bill to restore funding to the program.

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