On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4018, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on February 14, 2012, by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
H.R. 4018 would amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to revise provisions concerning public safety officer death or disability benefits. Specifically, the bill would do the following:
- Modify the list of recipients of death benefits payable when a public safety officer has died as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty to include as an eligible individual, if there is no other individual meeting existing eligibility requirements, the surviving individual (or individuals, in equal shares) who would qualify as an eligible "child" but for age;
- Provide that disability benefits be payable when an officer has become permanently and totally disabled as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury (currently, as the direct result of a catastrophic injury) sustained in the line of duty;
- Eliminate the $5,000,000 limit on total annual disability benefits paid;
- Provide that death or disability benefits shall not be in addition to payments under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001;
- Revise the criteria for death resulting from a heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture suffered by a public safety officer while on duty;
- Include within the definitions of "member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew" and "public safety officer" an officially recognized or designated employee or volunteer member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew that is a public agency or a nonprofit entity serving the public that is officially authorized or licensed to engage in rescue activity or to provide emergency medical services and that is officially designated as a pre-hospital emergency medical response agency; and
- Make those who have sustained a catastrophic injury in the line of duty eligible for peer support and counseling programs.
According to CBO, enacting the legislation would have no significant net effect on direct spending or discretionary spending from the PSOB program.