Applying for Federal Benefits

What is the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Act?

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Act is a partnership effort between the U.S. Department of Justice and local, state, tribal and federal public safety agencies to provide death and education benefits to the families of officers killed in the line of duty. 

Who qualifies for the PSOB program?

The PSOB Program applies to certain public officers who are killed or catastrophically injured as a direct or proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty.

Eligible employees include:

  • Law Enforcement officer
  • Firefighter
  • Chaplain
  • Member of Rescue Squad or Ambulance Crew
  • Employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who is performing official duties

For a full list of eligible employees, please see 42 U.S.C. § 3796b of the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act of 1976.

How do I file a claim?

The claim must be filed within three (3) year of the officer’s death.  Fill out the following forms:

The following documents are also required:

  • Detailed statement of circumstances signed by department head
  • Investigation, incident and/or accident Report
  • Death certificate
  • Autopsy report, or statement from head of public safety agency or medical examiner that no autopsy was conducted
  • Toxicology report, or statement from head of public safety agency or medical examiner that no analysis was conducted
  • Current marriage certificate
  • Divorce decrees for all of the officer’s and current spouse’s previous marriages (including references to physical custody of children), if any
  • Death certificates for all the officer’s or current spouse’s previous marriages, if any

A checklist of required documents with Step-by-Step directions can be found at the PSOB Program’s website.

Where do I send the claim?

You can file your claim online, or submit it by mail, email, or fax:

image of an envelopeMail:      Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Office
              Bureau of Justice Assistance
              Office of Justice Programs
              810 Seventh Street, NW
              Fourth Floor
              Washington, DC  20531

Email:       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax:        (202) 616-0314
Contact:  Ms. Valerie Neal (202) 307-0635

What are the benefits given for a death claim?

The Bureau of Justice Assistance shall pay a benefit of $323,035.75 not to exceed $5,000,000 in total annual benefits, to be adjusted on October 1 of each fiscal year.  For the most up to date benefits award, click here.

What are education benefits?

PSOB provides support for higher education to eligible spouses and children of public safety officers who died or were catastrophically injured in the line of duty. For additional information on how to file an Education Claim, visit www.psob.gov or call the PSOB Call Center toll-free at 1-888-744-6513, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. eastern time.

Who qualifies for education benefits from PSOB?

Education benefits are available to a dependent who attends a qualified education program and is either the child of an eligible public service officer or the spouse of the officer at the time of the officer’s death.

For more information, please see 42 U.S.C. § 3796b-1.

What education programs qualify?

The term “program of education” means any curriculum or any combination of unit courses or subjects pursued at an eligible education institution, which generally is accepted as necessary to fulfill requirements for the attainment of a predetermined and indentified educational, professional or vocational objective. The education institution must be one described in § 481 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1088) and eligible to participate in programs under title IV of such Act (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.)

For more information, please see 42 U.S.C. § 3796d-6(2) and (3).

What are the limitations to these benefits?

There are certain limitations that may prevent an officer or his beneficiaries from receiving these benefits, including:

  • If a benefit is paid for an officer’s disability, s/he may not receive death benefits if the death is the result of the same injury
  • If the death or injury was caused by the intentional misconduct of the public safety officer or by such officer’s intention to bring about his death or injury
  • If the officer was voluntarily intoxicated at the time of the death or injury
  • If the officer was grossly negligent in the performance of his duties
  • If the officer or his beneficiaries are receiving benefits from another source, the PSOB may limit the amount given to the officer

For more information, please see 42 U.S.C. § 3796(f) and (j) and § 3796a.  

Who is considered a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is the spouse at the time of the death or injury and/or a child of the officer.  The term “child” means any natural, illegitimate, adopted or posthumous child or stepchild of the deceased or injured public safety officer who, at the time of the death or injury, is 18 years of age or under, over 18 years of age and a student as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 8101(17) of title 5 or over 18 years of age and incapable of self-support because of physical or mental disability.

For more information, please see 42 U.S.C. § 3796b(3).

Additional questions?

Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Office
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Office of Justice Programs
810 Seventh Street NW
Fourth Floor
Washington, DC 20531

Phone: 202-307-0635
Toll Free: 1-888-SIGNL12 (744-6513)
Fax: 202-616-0314
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.psob.gov

Helpful Links

Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Programs’ website
Frequently Asked Questions 

 

Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice, as it is not intended as such.