Line of Duty Death / Disability Benefits
Officers & Deputies Receive PBA, State & Federal Benefits
Effective April 1, 2005, Florida PBA implemented a program (free to members) that provides certain death and disability benefits to the member, spouse or dependent children when the member is killed or permanently injured in-line-of-duty. This benefit is covered by the Heart Fund Charity.
This is a program, free to members of PBA Chapters and participating PBA Charters, which provides certain death or disability benefits to the member, spouse or dependent children when the member is killed or suffers a catastrophic injury in the line of duty.
Beginning June 1, 2015, if a member is killed in the line of duty, his or her survivor will receive a $50,000.00 lump sum benefit from the Heart Fund Charity. This latest enhancement increases the benefit from $30,000 to $50,000.
In addition, if a member is catastrophically injured in the line of duty, the member will receive a $30,000.00 benefit from the PBA Heart Fund Charity. This enhancement increases the benefit from $20,000 to $30,000.
State of Florida and Federal benefits for surviving family members of law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and correctional probation officers are summarized below:
State of Florida Benefits
Pursuant to F.S. 112.19, the State of Florida requires that an employer have insurance death benefits for law enforcement officers, correctional, and correctional probation officers killed in the line-of-duty. There are three types of covered incidents with benefits to be paid to surviving spouses and/or children. The benefits are indexed to increase the amounts to the annual inflation rate, so the amounts will go up every year.
- $51,500 in the line-of-duty, accidental death or bodily injury.
- $103,000 when working a traffic accident, enforcing traffic laws, in
fresh pursuit or emergency.
- $154,500 death by unlawful act.
Contact your personnel office for Victim Compensation forms to file claims.
If you are employed by the State of Florida, the employer will cover $1,000 of funeral and burial expenses if the death is a result of an act of violence.
Worker’s Compensation Benefits
Pursuant to F.S. 440.16, the State of Florida will require that an employer workers’ compensation insurance cover $7,500 for funeral expenses and the member’s beneficiary is entitled to 66 2/3% of the average wage, not to exceed $150,000. File all workers’ compensation claims through employers personnel office.
Any political subdivision and State agency that employees LEOs, Correctional Officers, Correctional Probation Officers will pay entire health insurance premium for spouse, until remarried, children until age 25, or as long as a child is either a full, or part-time student. A catastrophic injury will result in the payment of entire health premium by the employer.
- All monies are exempt from claims and demands of creditors.
- File all claims through employer or with the Victims Compensation Bureau – POC – Glen Roche(850) 414-3387.
Florida Retirement System (FRS) Benefits
Pursuant to F.S. 121.091, the State of Florida will entitle the beneficiary of a deceased member of the Florida Retirement System, who dies before retirement, to receive 50% of the member’s monthly salary until his or her death. This only applies to the defined benefit plan, not the defined contribution plan (AKA the Investment Plan).
Contact the Division of Retirement’s Survivor Benefits Section – Receives death reports, adds surviving beneficiaries to the retired payroll, and processes beneficiary changes made after retirement. Call 850/488-5207 – SC 278-5207 or e-mail: email@example.com.
State of Florida Educational Benefits
Pursuant to F.S. 112.19, the State of Florida will waive educational expenses for children and spouse to receive vocational/technical, undergraduate, post-graduate, post baccalaureate professional degrees. Waived expenses equal to tuition, matriculation, registration fees for a total of 120 hours.
- State schools only
- Full or part-time
- Graduate and post graduate child benefits up to age 29, all others age 25
- Spouse must commence within five years and continue until 10th anniversary of that date
- Funding is done within each institution’s financial aid department
- This only applies when an officer is killed in a Type 2 or 3 Incident. (See the entire article.)
Please read the official Florida Statute to gain a full understanding of this benefit.
Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program: $267,494
Public Safety Officers’ Educational Assistance (PSOEA) Program: $695.00 per month
Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program: Processing Claims for Line-of-Duty Deaths
After the fatality has occurred, the department should:
- Make arrangements for an autopsy, which often provides the PSOB office with useful information regarding the cause of death
- Identify a department member to serve as a liaison between the department and the PSOB office
After being named the department’s liaison, he/she should:
- Call the PSOB office at 1-888-744-6513
- Provide accurate, up-to-date information regarding these items:
- Public Agency’sname.
- Liaison’s name.
- Phone numbers for the department and the liaison.
- A fax number or mailing address so the PSOB office can send the claim initiation guidance letter.
- Name of deceased (public safety officer).
- Date of incident and date of death.
- A brief description of the incident.
- Relay the information very carefully and include only what is known. There should be no speculation as to the cause of death.
- On evenings and weekends, leave a phone message with the liaison’s name and telephone number.
Upon receipt of your telephone call, or through other resources, the PSOB office will mail a Claims Guidance Package to the department liaison as soon as possible. Included in this package are the following items:
- Claim initiation guidance letter.
- Report of Public Safety Officer’s Death form.
- Claim for Death Benefits form.
- Consent to Release Confidential Information form.
- PSOB Act.
After receiving the guidance package, the liaison should:
- Meet with the claimant as soon as possible and together complete the Claim for Death Benefits and Report of Public Safety Officer’s Death forms.
- Assure that the family provides a copy of the death notice.
- Gather the other documentation requested in the claim initiation guidance letter.
Upon receiving the claim package from the liaison, the PSOB office may contact the department liaison and/or family if further information is needed.
As determining the eligibility of claimants under the PSOB Program is often time-consuming, these benefits are not intended to meet emergency financial needs. However, the PSOB office works closely with the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), and both organizations provide an array of support services that may be helpful to the survivors at this time. When the Consent to Release Confidential Information form is signed by the claimant and returned along with the other requested documents, the PSOB office will forward their name and address to the appropriate partner agency so that contact may be initiated.
Once the processing is completed, the PSOB office sends a letter notifying the claimant and department as to the decision reached. Should the claim be denied, information on the appeals process is also provided.
Reprinted with permission from The Florida PBA’s Roll Call.