Reps. Reed, Slaughter Introduce Disabled Public Safety Officers Fairness Act
Reps. Tom Reed and Louise Slaughter have introduced a bill that would make totally and permanently disabled public safety officers eligible to receive disability benefits regardless of when their injuries were sustained in the line of duty. The Disabled Public Safety Officers Fairness Act corrects an unfairness in current law so that disabled officers are eligible for the same federal disability benefits.
“Whether a public safety officer became permanently disabled on November 28, 1990 or August 6, 2014, they deserve fair treatment for their injuries,” Tom Reed said. “Our bill cares for the welfare of first responders in New York State and across the country. This is a common sense fix to give all permanently disabled public safety officers access to the same disability benefits.”
“Our public safety officers put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect us – the least we can do is ensure that they receive their benefits if they are permanently injured on the job, regardless of when those injuries occurred,” Rep. Slaughter said. “Federal law has unfairly excluded public safety officers who were injured on the job decades ago – it’s long past time they were eligible for the same benefits.”
Under current law, public safety officers who became disabled before November 29, 1990 are not eligible to collect federal public safety officer disability benefits. Reed and Slaughter’s bill amends current law to include public safety officers who became permanently and totally disabled while working in the line of duty prior to November 29, 1990 and who meet the legal definition of public safety officer including firefighters, polices officers and other law enforcement officials.
“Making this correction to the law is not only fair, but one way we can show our sincere appreciation for the work public safety officers do day in and day out not for recognition but because of a genuine drive to help people,” Reed said. “These public safety officers sacrificed for the sake of public safety and now it’s our turn to care for them.”