Senate passes bill to expand death and disability benefits for public safety officers who suffer from PTSD and those who die by suicide

Senate passes bill to expand death and disability benefits for public safety officers who suffer from PTSD and those who die by suicide

The bipartisan legislation, called the Public Safety Officer Support Act, was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate on Monday. It passed the House in May so the legislation now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

Previously, officer death benefits were not available to family members if the officer died by suicide. This measure expands the benefits to include officers who “took an action, which action was intended to bring about the officer’s death and directly and proximately resulted in such officer’s death or permanent and total disability and exposure, while on duty, to one or more traumatic events was a substantial factor in the action taken by the officer.”

According to the bill, it will apply retroactively to January 1, 2019, making the families of the four officers who died by suicide in the weeks following the January 6, 2021, riot — Metropolitan Police Officers Kyle DeFreytag, Gunther Hashida and Jeffrey Smith , and US Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood — eligible for death benefits.

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