Press Releases

Rose Proposes Legislation to Compensate Public Safety Officers who are Disabled or Die from COVID-19

Bill would presume officers contracted the coronavirus on-duty

Staten Island, April 21, 2020

Congressman Max Rose helped introduce legislation last week to expand an existing federal program to ensure that public safety officers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty are eligible for benefits should they become disabled or die from the virus. Rose introduced the Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020 with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Co-Chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus.

 

“The men and women in uniform who keep our city safe knowingly risk their lives every time they walk out that door,” Rose said. “We need to have their backs in case the worst happens. The last thing a sick police officer or their grieving family should have to do is fight with the government about whether or not they got the disease while they were serving our country. That should be a given, and under this legislation, it will be.”

 

The Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020 would:

  • Establish that a diagnosis for COVID-19 will be presumed to constitute a personal injury in the line of duty for the purposes of eligibility for the Public Safety Officer Benefit (PSOB) program, unless the officer was not on duty in the relevant time period.
  • Establish the COVID-19-related disability standard be based on whether a PSOB claimant is permanently prevented from performing any gainful work as a public safety officer on account of their COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Ensure that officers who were injured or disabled in the line of duty in relation to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and whose injuries—in combination with a line of duty COVID-19 illness—rendered them disabled or caused their death will receive benefits under the PSOB program.

 

Rose continued, “What we’re seeing everyday through this crisis though is it’s not just public service officers who are putting their lives on the line and making incredible sacrifices for our community—which is why I will continue fighting for all frontline workers to ensure they have the hazard pay and benefits they deserve. This is just one critical part of that effort.”

 

Currently, public safety officers or their families are eligible to receive benefits under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB) program, administered by the Department of Justice, upon death or disability caused by injury or illness sustained in the line of duty. The Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020 would expand the program to include COVID-19 as an eligible personal injury. In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the PSOB program was amended to ensure those killed and injured on 9/11 were immediately eligible for the program.

 

Full text of the legislation is available HERE. A section by section is available HERE.

 

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