What first responders need to know

The Public Safety Officer Benefits Program (PSOB) has been created in 1976 providing peace of mind to those considering a career in public safety knowing that they and their loved ones would be taken care of in the event of a career-ending injury or death.

PSOB’s mission is “to assist public safety officers, their agencies, and their families before, during, and after tragedy strikes” by:

  • Respond quickly to requests for PSOB benefits;
  • Provide human support to public security officers, their agencies and their families; and
  • Seeking opportunities to extend assistance to the area of ​​public safety.

The PSOB program provides death and education benefits to survivors of deceased law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders, as well as disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty. their functions.

The PSOB program provides death and education benefits to survivors of deceased law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders, as well as disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty. their functions. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

What is the Public Safety Officer Benefits Program?

The PSOB program provides death and education benefits to survivors of deceased law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders, as well as disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty. their functions.

Who is eligible for the PSOB program?

Those eligible to apply for program benefits include:

  • Disabled public security officers;
  • Surviving spouses and relatives of deceased public security officers; and
  • Children of deceased public safety officers.

Are providers employed in private EMS organizations eligible for PSOB benefits?

Paramedics and paramedics employed by private ambulance services or rescue teams are eligible for the benefits described in the Dale Long Public Safety Officer Benefits Enhancement Act of 2012; however, this coverage does not extend to persons employed by for-profit agencies.

What types of benefits are available through the PSOB?

The PSOB program offers three kinds of benefits: death benefits, disability benefits and education benefits.

  1. Death benefits: The PSOB provides a one-time benefit to eligible survivors of public safety officers whose death is the direct result of injury sustained in the line of duty on or after September 29, 1976.
  2. Disability benefits: The PSOB provides a one-time benefit to eligible public safety officers who have been permanently and totally disabled as a result of a catastrophic injury sustained in the line of duty on or after November 29, 1990.
  3. Benefits for education: The PSOB provides higher education support to eligible spouses and children of public safety officers who die in the line of duty or who become catastrophically disabled in the line of duty. This benefit pays for 45 months of full-time study or training, or a prorated amount in the case of a part-time program.

For fiscal year 2022, the single benefit amount for PSOB death and disability benefits is $389,825. The PSOB Educational Assistance Benefit for one month of full-time attendance is $1,298.

See the table below for the hierarchy of PSOB death benefit payouts:


Photo/BJA

Are PSOB benefits taxable?

No, payments received through the PSOB program are not taxed. In 2015, President Obama signed into law Non-Taxation of Our Deceased Public Safety Heroes Act after passing both houses of Congress unanimously.

Are COVID-related deaths in the line of duty eligible for benefits under the psob?

Yes, survivors of public safety officers who died after contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty are eligible for the PSOB program. The Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021 provides a presumption of PSOB eligibility for death and disability in the line of duty due to COVID-19 if the following conditions are met:

  • No competent medical evidence exists that the officer’s death was directly and approximately caused by anything other than COVID-19;
  • The officer engaged in any action or service activity between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2023, or the date on which the public health emergency for COVID-19 declared by the Secretary of Health and to Social Services expires;
  • The agent was diagnosed with COVID-19, or there is evidence that the agent had COVID-19, within the 45-day period beginning with the agent’s last day of service; and
  • The evidence indicates that the officer had COVID-19 or complications from COVID-19 at the time of his death.

According to a March 2020 statement from the Department of Justice, the PSOB office will “work closely with survivors, officers and agencies to seek evidence of exposure and causation through all available evidence.”

How to apply for the PSOB program?

For death and disability benefits, there are two parts to the application process: Part A of the application is completed by the claimant or their authorized representative, and Part B is completed by the public safety agency.

For education benefits, applicants must submit an initial screening application, which confirms eligibility for the program. Once approved, an initial payment request is submitted with additional documents and information.

To view a sample application for benefits or to submit a claim, visit PSOB website.

Can I appeal if my PSOB application has been rejected?

Yes, you can appeal if your initial request was denied. Claimants have 33 days to appeal the decision of the PSOB office to the Hearing Officer level. In the event of a new refusal, applicants have an additional 33 days to appeal to the director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

Who can I contact for help with my application or eligibility?

For telephone assistance, call 1-888-744-6513 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET or email AskPSOB@usdoj.gov.

Further information:

For more information on the Public Safety Officer Benefits Program, see the BJA Fact Sheet below.


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Susan W. Lloyd