This article discusses what the late Senator Byrd's wife and children get, since he passed away last June while in office:
The Senate handbook says that upon the death of a senator who had been serving in office, “in the next appropriations bill, an item will be inserted for a gratuity to be paid to the widow(er) or other next- of-kin, in the amount of one-year’s compensation.”
A gratuity of $193,400? Am I alone in thinking this is really strange? He died, so his family is entitled to a year's salary? Isn't that the reason why people get life insurance? I can't imagine many private companies do this or anything similar outside the realm of insurance, do they? I suppose at one time when a person gave up something in order to represent the country might have caused a "service" type of gratuity to sound reasonable, but given these salaries and basically lifetime tenures, it just does not make sense to me.
As a result, the bill calls for “equal shares” of the late senator’s $193,400 salary to be split between Byrd’s seven children and grandchildren.
I'm trying to track down a copy of the Senate Handbook so I can read this rule for myself, but have only been able to find one for the 110th Congress. So much for transparency.