News Item:
PSOB Program Safe in President's Budget05/08/2009
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, assured members today that the President's budget will not reduce the amount or the number of death or disability benefits paid to officers or their survivor families.

"The President's budget does reduce the amount allocated to the Public Safety Officers' Benefit program by $50 million, anticipating fewer line of duty deaths," Canterbury said. "But this will NOT, repeat NOT, reduce the benefits received by officers or their families in the event they qualify for a disability or death benefit."

The Public Safety Officers' Benefit Act (42 USC 3796) is a Federal law providing death and disability benefits as well as educational assistance to officers or their families in the event the officer is killed or disabled in the line of duty. These benefits are statutory requirements on the Federal government and each and every approved claim will be paid in full, regardless of how much is budgeted by the Administration or Congress.

"It is important to recognize that this is a numbers game—a budgetary device, not an actual reduction that would impact an officer or his surviving family in terms of the benefits to which he or they would be entitled," Canterbury explained. "No matter what the budget or the appropriation is, the Federal government is required by statute to pay all successful claims in full, whether there were twenty or two hundred and twenty."

The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2008 was one hundred and thirty-three, the lowest number since 1960. The budget's anticipated savings reflects the Administration's belief that law enforcement officer deaths will continue to fall.

"Frankly, I hope the Administration saves even more than $50 million because that means fewer officers will have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," Canterbury said.