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Troops and military families can pose questions here about how they would be affected by a government shutdown Stars and Stripes will try to provide answers.Question:Will death benefits continue if government shuts down?

Answer:Servicemembers Group Life Insurance payments would continue during a shutdown, but the $100,000 death gratuity would be suspended, officials said. The gratuities would be paid retroactively once lawmakers agree on how to fund the government.

The Pentagon normally pays between 100 and 150 death gratuities per month. Officials would work with the aid societies to make money available to survivors for funerals and other expenses.

Question:Will DODEA schools stay open?

Answer:Yes. Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III issued a memo on April 7 listing that listed the Department of Defense Education Activity as one of the department components that would continue to operate during a shutdown. This does not apply to summer school though.

Question:Will overseas commissaries be open?

Answer:Yes, according to a spokesman for the Defense Commissary Agency.

"At this time, all overseas stores will be operational in the event a government shutdown occurs. This includes stores in Puerto Rico and Guam,” Kevin Robinson said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. “A decision on stateside commissaries will be forthcoming later this evening."

Question:Will AFN stay on the air?

Answer:Yes, said AFN spokesman Larry Sichter.

“In the event of a government shutdown, all AFN radio and television broadcasts will continue to be available to the authorized audience around the world,” Sichter said in an e-mail. “Although the staffs will be reduced, AFN will continue to serve the supported commands and audiences with information that is essential to safety, protection of human life, and protection of our national security.”

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