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Bill would improve healthcare for public safety workers

This legislation would primarily make improvements in the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit Act (“PSOBA”) of 1976.The PSOBA provides for the payment of benefits to certain survivors of public safety officers who are killed or permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty. The original legislation was an expression of concerns that States and municipalities did not provide adequate death benefits to public safety officers and their families. Low benefits impeded recruitment efforts and lowered morale.

By providing benefits at the federal level, Congress sought to correct some of these issues. Modifications and amendments to the PSOBA have been enacted over the years and as a result, some language in the bill has created confusion and uncertainty regarding various benefit provisions. There are also provisions in the PSOBA that have the effect of excluding, without proper consideration, certain classes of safety officers from the program.

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 would makes necessary changes of technical and administrative nature to PSOBA to create consistency of terms used in the law. It would expedite the processing and resolution of claims for benefits. The money saved through this process improvement would be used to offset the cost of an expansion of coverage under the PSOBA to provide benefit eligibility to nonprofit emergency medical service providers as well as air medics. These providers are NOT covered under the current law.

Your support is needed now! Please call or write your Congressman and US Senators to show your support of H.R. 4018 / S.1696. Let them know this is important to you and to the community you serve. Assure future benefits to the families of fallen first responders. House Bill H.R. 4018 Introduced by Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), and Senate Bill S.1696 Introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (Vt.)