This week, the Public Safety Officer Support Act, legislation introduced by U.S Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), was signed into law by President Biden. The law will expand the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program (PSOB) to include coverage for first responders who are disabled or die because of suicide resulting from traumatic service-related experiences. The PSOB currently only covers physical injuries, excluding any coverage for mental health issues.
"Our brave law enforcement officers and first responders put their lives on the line every day to protect us and keep us safe,"
said Senator Tillis. "I am proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure our first responders or their families receive access to PSOB benefits if they are disabled or die due to PTSD incurred in the line of duty. I applaud President Biden for signing this critical legislation into law."
The Public Safety Officer Support Law will:
- Allow public safety officers to seek disability benefits for PTSD linked to severe trauma by directing the PSOB to designate work-related PTSD and acute stress disorders as a line of duty injury for eligible officers as well as those who are permanently disabled as a result of attempted suicide; and
- Allow families of public safety officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits by directing the PSOB to presume that suicides are a result of job duties in certain traumatic circumstances where there is evidence that PTSD or acute stress disorder would be the cause of the injury.
The following organizations support the Public Safety Officer Support Act: Fraternal Order of Police, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association, National Sheriffs Association, Blue H.E.L.P., the National Border Patrol Council, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses, the Clinical Social Work Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the Psychotherapy Action Network, the American Counseling Association, and the Schizophrenia and Psychosis Action Alliance.