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Higgins announces approval of Protecting America's First Responders Act


Thu, Oct 28th 2021 07:15 pm

Bill expanding benefits to families of fallen police officers & firefighters now moves to president’s desk

Congressman Brian Higgins announced the House of Representatives approved the Protecting America’s First Responders Act (S.1511), enhancing the benefits provided to the families of police and firefighters permanently disabled or killed on the job.

“Police officers and firefighters risk their own lives and safety to protect the people and communities they serve,” Higgins said. “This bill commits to better look out for the families of first responders who have paid a steep price for this service.”

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program (PSOB) provides death, disability and education benefits to the families of law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders killed or sustaining a catastrophic injury in the line of duty.

Currently, benefits are calculated based on the date of death or injury. Under the Protecting America’s First Responders Act, benefits would be adjusted each year based on inflation rates. The legislation also doubles the benefit paid to families awaiting the fulfillment of claims from $3,000 to $6,000.

Furthermore, the bill allows for the families of first responders killed or injured responding to the Sept. 11 attack eligible to file or refile a claim, and extends benefits to public safety officers who become disabled or die from COVID-19 through the time which the public health emergency ends, or until Dec. 31, 2023, whichever comes first.

The Protecting America’s First Responders Act, which has the support of the International Union of Police Associations, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Fraternal Order of police, and other organizations, was approved in the House by a vote of 420-3. It passed in the Senate earlier this year and will now move to the president’s desk.

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