Surprisingly few people are aware of a Federal program that can provide huge benefits to disabled police, firefighters and other first responders or to their families in case of death. It’s called the Public Safety Officers Benefit Act (PSOB), and recently we were successful in obtaining these benefits for one of our clients.
PSOB provides a one-time benefit to eligible public safety officers who were permanently and totally disabled as a result of a catastrophic injury sustained in the line of duty on or after November 29, 1990. Injuries must permanently prevent officers from performing any gainful work in the future.
PSOB also provides support for higher education to eligible spouses and children of public safety officers who died in the line of duty or were catastrophically disabled in the line of duty.
The program is administered by the Office of Justice Programs, a branch of the Department of Justice. With a small staff, limited budget and a very detailed application process, decisions may be long in coming. But the benefits are quite substantial: over $300,000 for any death or disability since 2007, with the exact amount depending on the date of death or injury.
30 years ago, when I began advising my Workers’ Compensation clients to also file for Social Security Disability a common response was, “I never heard of that.” While almost everyone knows about Social Security Disability today, I would be willing to bet that I would get the same response from most people about PSOB.
Lewis B. Insler, Esq.