On November 4, the U.S. Senate passed the Protecting America’s First Responders Act (S. 1511). The legislation would make a number of changes to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program:
Extend eligibility for the PSOB program to public safety officers that die or become disabled in the line of duty from COVID-19 until December 31, 2023 or the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, whichever comes first.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on October 27. The bill now awaits signature into law by President Biden.
“I thank Congress for passing the Protecting America’s First Responders Act. This legislation will protect the families of firefighters, police officers, EMS personnel, volunteer fire police, firefighter candidates, and others that die in the line of duty while serving the public. In addition, it will continue to ensure that the federal government will look after the families of first responders that die from the horrible COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief Kenneth W. Stuebing, President and Board Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “I thank Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Senator Charles Grassley for leading the effort to pass this important legislation.”
Ken LaSala is the IAFC’s Director of Government Relations & Policy.