Legislation Reforms Benefit Program for Public Security Officers

EMMITSBURG, MD – On Thursday, November 18, President Biden enacted the law U.S. First Responder Protection Act (PL 117-61). Biparty legislation, sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) brings several changes to the Public Safety Officer Benefit Program (PSOB) aimed at broadening eligibility and increasing certain benefits. Similar legislation was introduced to the House by Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.

Some of the changes made to the PSOB program in the bill include:

  • Interim benefits increased from $ 3,000 to $ 6,000;
  • Payment amount adjusted at time of award instead of time of incident;
  • Clarifies that public security officers who are entitled to disability benefits may undertake nominal work;
  • Includes eligibility of fire police officers who provide traffic control and incident site management;
  • Extends educational benefits to children of public security officers born after the officer becomes disabled or dies in the line of duty; and
  • Retroactively provides benefits to public security officers who became disabled as a result of the September 11 attacks.

In addition, the legislation extends the presumption for public security officers who are disabled or die after contracting COVID-19 until December 31, 2023.

“As the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) strives to support our families of deceased heroes, we could not be more grateful that these benefits are granted without delay,” said Troy Markel, chairman of the board of directors of the NFFF. The NFFF continues to work with our national fire service partners to ensure that the PSOB program meets the needs of our country’s first responders and their families in an efficient and timely manner.

About the National Foundation for Fallen Firefighters

The United States Congress established the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a national effort to remember fallen American firefighters. Since 1992, the nonprofit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and help their families and colleagues. The Foundation also works closely with the US Fire Administration to help prevent and reduce fatalities and injuries in the line of duty. For more information on the NFFF and its programs, visit www.firehero.org.

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Susan W. Lloyd