PSOB, Fire Police Legislation Passes the Senate, Introduced in the House

On May 15, the Protecting America’s First Responders Act (S. 1208), which the NVFC strongly supports, passed the U.S. Senate. The legislation makes several changes to the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB), which pays death, disability, and education benefits to public safety officers and/or their survivor(s) when a public safety officer is killed or becomes disabled as a result of an injury suffered in the line of duty.

S. 1208 clarifies that fire police are eligible for PSOB, allows permanently disabled public safety officers who can perform limited work to qualify for PSOB, and addresses issues related to PSOB awards to the survivors of public safety officers who died as a result of an illnesses contracted via 9/11-related occupational exposure.

“On behalf of the nation’s volunteer fire service, I’d like to thank the U.S. Senate for passing S. 1208,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “I’d also like to recognize Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Patrick Toomey (R-PA) for working with the NVFC to include language clarifying that fire police are eligible for PSOB.”

S. 1208 now moves to the House, where identical legislation (H.R. 2812) was introduced by Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Peter King (R-NY) on May 16. Also in the House, Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) introduced the Fire Police Fairness Act (H.R. 2709) on May 14. That bill clarifies that members of volunteer fire departments who perform “scene security or traffic management duties” are eligible for PSOB. The language in the Fire Police Fairness Act is the same as the fire police language in S. 1208 and H.R. 2812.

“I’d like to thank Representatives Courtney, King, Pascrell, and Thompson for their leadership,” said Hirsch. “It is absolutely critical that the PSOB program works for public safety officers and their families, and these bills represent a huge step in the right direction.”

You can use the NVFC’s Legislative Action Center to contact your U.S. Representative to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 2812 and/or H.R. 2709. There is no action alert for S. 1208 because it has already passed the Senate and therefore can no longer be cosponsored.