President Biden signs bill to expand benefits program for public safety officers

By EMS1 staff

WASHINGTON – President Biden on Thursday enacted the U.S. First Responder Protection Act, which extends the Public Safety Officer Benefit Program (PSOB) and make some changes to allow the program to work in an improved manner.

As reported by the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the bill (PL117-61) clarifies that public safety officers, including firefighters, who have suffered catastrophic injuries may continue to be employed as long as the job meets certain criteria, such as minimum compensation, or work performed for therapeutic purposes.

Tied to 9/11 first responders, the bill retroactively extends the updated disability provision to staff who responded to attacks 20 years ago.

The Protecting America’s First Responders Act also:

  • Expands eligibility to include public safety officers who were not previously covered, such as firefighters;
  • Binds certain amounts of benefits at the time the decision is rendered, and not at the time the application was filed;
  • Make adjustments to the education benefit for dependents; and
  • Doubles the death interim payment from $ 3,000 to $ 6,000 and links it to the Consumer Price Index for adjustments.

In addition, the bill includes an extension of the COVID-19 presumption, according to which a public safety officer who dies or is injured after contracting COVID-19 (within certain limits) is considered to have contracted the disease on the job. and is therefore eligible for the PSOB. advantages.

Find out more about the Ministry of Justice PSOB website.

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Susan W. Lloyd