Friends and Families,
Today we received the call we had been waiting for. H.R.6943 – Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022 PASSED and is on its way to the President’s desk for signature. We have been proud to support and endorse this bill for the past three years.
According to Chris Granberg of Longbow Public Policy Group, LLC, “You really brought this home with your letters. That is what carried this, hearing from the First H.E.L.P. families.” Every letter you wrote and sent to us was forwarded to the Senate, read and entered into the record. This belongs to the hearts of all the families, the first responders and their friends that advocated for this bill. Some of them knew they would not qualify for this benefit, but they wrote the letters and supported this bill knowing that it will open doors and change minds.
This bill extends death and disability benefits under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program (PSOB) to certain public safety officers and survivors of public safety officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder following a stressful situation while on duty.
It’s bittersweet as not everyone will qualify. The bill is retroactive to January 1, 2019 and does have requirements that need to be met. One bill will not serve everyone, this will not rule all suicides as line of duty. This is for the one-time Federal death payout, not state or local benefits. But this is progress, amazing, hard-won progress.
This bill validates what we have known and have been advocating for six years – first responders suffer emotional injuries that ARE line of duty and their suicide ARE line of duty deaths.
We’d like to offer special thanks to Senator John Cornyn and Senator Tammy Duckworth, we thank you for all of your hard work and perseverance!
This is historic and will change the first responder culture, the groundwork has been laid to begin open, honest, public recognition of first responder suicide.
Congratulations and thank you