Senator’s bipartisan bill improves survivor benefits for federal civil servants who die in the line of duty
WASHINGTON – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s bipartisan legislation honoring federal civil servants who die in the line of duty by ensuring their survivors receive fair benefits. Sinema’s bill is cosponsored by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Committee Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.).
“Civil servants who make the ultimate sacrifice keeping our country safe should be honored and their survivors given full benefits as a token of our gratitude for their service,” said Sinema, Chair of the Senate’s Government Operations Subcommittee, which has oversight of the federal workforce.
“Federal law enforcement officers and agents working on behalf the United States remain a target for terrorists, criminals, and hostile actors both foreign and domestic. This year we have seen unprecedented attacks on federal law enforcement as federal officers and agents are increasingly called to provide necessary support to local law enforcement battling spikes in violent crime. Overall, law enforcement fatalities increased 29 percent in FY 2021. It is only right that if any federal employee makes the ultimate sacrifice for their country, that sacrifice be memorialized in a way fitting their service. This legislation is necessary to ensure all survivors of federal employees killed in the line of duty are entitled to equal and robust financial benefits to honor their lost public servants,” said Larry Cosme, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) National President.
“It is far past the time to update the death benefits for federal employees who are killed in the line of duty. In an increasingly dangerous world, the current funeral benefit of $800 set in the Johnson Administration is a sad joke. Likewise, the survivor benefit of $10,000 is also insulting and hardly enough to see a surviving family through a tragic period of loss. The increase to death benefits does not impact discretionary budgets, and it will ensure that future incidents involving the ultimate sacrifice of federal workers will not be devalued again. This is not a partisan issue. Let’s get this done quickly,” said Randy Erwin, National President, National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE).
Sinema’s legislation provides a benefit to the survivors of federal civil servants who die in the line of duty. Survivors of those killed while in the foreign service and defense already receive a one-time benefit acknowledging their death was a result of serving their country. Sinema’s bill improves the policy for other civil servants, including first responders. Since January 1, 2020, 13 Arizona federal employees have died while in the line of duty.
Sinema’s bill has broad support from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Treasury Employees Union, National Federation of Federal Employees, Senior Executive Association, Professional Managers Association, National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the Federal Managers Associations. For a full list of statements of support click here.