NO CUTS TO SURVIVOR BENEFITS: News Sources Wrong

It has been reported by some news sources that President Obama has proposed a cut to the death benefits for peace officers killed in the line of duty.

That is simply NOT true!

Congress created the Public Safety Officers Benefit and ONLY CONGRESS can change it.  The fact is nothing has changed.

The Public Safety Officers Benefit or PSOB provides significant benefits to the survivors of officers killed in the line of duty.  (See NOTE below.)

What Happened?

Who knows why some new sources wrongly reported cuts. When I heard it on the news I was shocked.  But I also knew it did not ring true.

Here is what happened:

* Everyone has to make a budget.  Budgets are based on estimated costs for the coming year.
* Last year 133 officers were killed in the line of duty, that’s down from 182 in 2007 when line of duty deaths unexpectedly spiked. (Source NLEOMF.)
* President Obama’s PROPOSED BUDGET for FY 2010 estimates that the amount needed for the Public Safety Officers Benefit could be reduced from $100 million a year to $60 million a year.  The budget not the benefit.
Reducing a budget item and reducing a benefit are two very different things.

If the budget estimate proves to be wrong and tragically more officers are killed in the line of duty than expected, the surviving families will still receive the Peace Officer Safety Benefit.

Pause to Reflect
Talking about in-the-line of duty deaths is very sensitive for all of us and therefore it is difficult to discuss matters of money.  But to a surviving family as time passes the sting of death gives way to the cruel realities of life and money must be talked about.
Unfortunately some news sources incorrectly reported that the POSB benefit was being cut.  Their mistake, their factual error and untrue statements caused great concern for both active duty and retired peace officers.  We will always protect the loving memories of our colleagues who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

We also continue to protect and care for their families.  That is why we were so concerned by the undue stress on the surviving families who heard the news reports which turned out to be misleading and completely untrue.

Summary

1. The Peace Officers Safety Benefit HAS NOT BEEN CHANGED by the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice or Congress.

2. The budget estimate for Peace Officers Safety Benefit, the amount of money the Obama Administration believes it should set aside for the benefit, was reduced.  The benefit was NOT reduced.
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Our source for this clarification is the National Association of Police Organizations.

NOTE:   As of October 1, 2008 the PSOB amount is $315,746.00; it is expected to go up in October 2009 because it is indexed to inflation.  That means if inflation goes up so will the amount of the PSOB.  It will go up in the same amount as inflation.  PSOB also provides significant benefits to officers who suffer a catastrophic injury in the line of duty.

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DR. TED HUNT, Principal
TED HUNT & Associates
Helping transform police organizations to a higher level