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Benefits Being Readied For Iowa Families

April 27, 1989

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) _ Families of the 47 sailors killed in an explosion aboard the battleship USS Iowa should begin receiving benefits checks within a month, government officials say.

All 47 crewmen carried the maximum of $50,000 in life insurance available under a military policy administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, said John Brizzi, counsel to the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on compensation, pensions and insurance. Those checks will be mailed by the end of May, he said.

The sailors’ dependents also will receive monthly benefits checks sent to the families of any service member killed while on duty, Brizzi said Wednesday.

″They’ll receive a lot of assistance here because this is an abnormal case,″ he said.

Aside from the insurance payment and monthly benefits checks, the families will get six month’s salary from the Department of Defense. The military also will pay for funeral costs for the sailors who died when an explosion tore through a ship turret during a training exercise April 19.

The families will receive medical coverage and educational benefits as well, Brizzi said.

A private fund-raising drive sponsored by Shearson Lehman Hutton’s Norfolk office also has received more than $35,000 in contributions. The money will be divided equally among the families.

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