By PDGOO goopaydayloans
Below are resources to help departments and loved ones in the tragic event of a line-of-duty death or disabling injury.
Public Safety Officers' Benefits
Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program
The Bureau of Justice Assistance's Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program (PSOB) provides death benefits in the form of a one-time financial payment to the eligible survivors of public safety officers whose deaths are the direct result of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty. It also provides disability benefits for public safety officers who have been permanently and totally disabled by a catastrophic personal injury sustained in the line of duty, if that injury permanently prevents the officer from performing any substantial and gainful work. The Public Safety Officers' Educational Assistance Act provides financial assistance for higher education for the spouses and children of public safety officers who have been permanently disabled or killed in the line of duty.
PSOB Beneficiary Form
PSOB benefits are paid to survivors according to the following criteria:
- If there is a spouse and no child* or children, all to the spouse.
- If there is a spouse and child or children, one-half to the spouse and one-half to the child or children in equal shares.
- If no spouse, and children only, all to the child or children in equal shares.
- If no spouse or children, then to the individual designated by the officer as beneficiary on file with the officer's agency, or if no designation, to the individual designated as the beneficiary on the most recently executed life insurance policy on file with the officer's agency.
- If none of the above, to the officer's parents in equal shares.
*"Child" is defined as any natural, illegitimate, adopted, or posthumous child or stepchild of a deceased public safety officer who, at the time of the officer's death, is either 18 years old or under, or between 19 and 22 and a full-time student, or who is incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability.
To help first responders prepare for scenario 4 above, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has created a sample Beneficiary Form that first responders should fill out and keep on file at their department. Click here to download the form in Word.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance has developed a checklist to assist public safety agencies submitting Hometown Heroes PSOB applications.
Wills for Heroes Foundation offers free estate planning services to first responders. The wills are drafted in a single sitting. Wills for Heroes Foundation provides this free service by bringing together the first responder with attorneys, laptop computers, witnesses and notaries at a department station, training facility, or headquarters on a predetermined Saturday. The department's sole responsibilities are to provide the meeting space and coordinate the appointments.
Lighthouse Uniforms offers the Bereavement Uniform Program to provide a Dress Uniform at no cost to any firefighter's family wanting to bury a loved one in a Class A uniform. Departments and firefighters donate retired or ill-fitting uniforms, and Lighthouse cleans, refurbishes, and reconfigures the uniforms to the requested rank for any family requesting one for burial purposes. The only charge is for freight, which is billed to the affiliated department. To learn more, request a uniform, or donate a uniform, access the program web site or call 1-800-426-5225.
The United States Fire Administration released a standard firefighter autopsy protocol to provide guidance to medical examiners, coroners, and pathologists on uniform recommended procedures for investigating the causes and contributing factors related to firefighter deaths. The protocol addresses attributes - such as protective clothing and equipment, prolonged exposures to the hazardous environment and specialized training and duties - that distinguish firefighter casualties from the general population as well as civilian fire casualties.
Only a survivor can fully understand another survivor's experiences. Simply connecting with someone else who has lost a beloved firefighter can offer a sense of hope. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation matches members of the Network with survivors who face similar circumstances, so they can help each other and have someone to talk to about difficulties in their lives.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation offers a training program to help fire departments prepare for the worst - a line-of-duty death or serious injury. Fire service personnel and families who have lost a firefighter in the line-of-duty helped develop this one-day course. Taking Care of Our Own® covers pre-incident planning, survivor notification, family and coworker support, and benefits and resources available to the families. Course materials are also available for download.