On August 1st, the Senate approved by unanimous consent Bill HR 6943—the Public Safety Officer Support Act. The bill was previously approved by the House 402-17 on May 18th. The legislation, which was signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022, makes significant changes to the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program.
About the New PSOB Benefits
It is estimated that in a fire department, suicide is three times more likely to happen than a line-of-duty death. With the new law, under certain circumstances, the survivors of public safety officers will be eligible for PSOB benefits if the officer died as a result of suicide or has become permanently disabled as a result of attempted suicide or post-traumatic stress. Public law PL 117-172 applies to actions taken by officers on or after January 1, 2019.
For survivors to be eligible for these benefits, the officer in question must have been diagnosed by a licensed medical or mental health professional, contacted or attempted to contact an employee assistance program, and must have experienced a mass casualty, mass shooting, mass fatality, or traumatic event that was a substantial factor in the disorder.
NFFF: Serving the Families and Organizations of the Fallen
When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation provides their families with a place to turn. The Foundation creates and implements a variety of programs and services designed to support Fire Hero Families. Learn more about our Family Programs.
The Foundation also offers training to help fire departments handle a line-of-duty death. Immediately after a death, departments receive both technical assistance and personal support to help the department. Learn more about our Fire Service Programs.
Background and Resources
- Confronting Suicide in the Fire Service: Report and Recommendations
- Suicide: What You Need to Know: A Guide for Fire Chiefs
- Fire Service Behavioral Health Rapid Response—Suicide: Fact Sheet