Oroho’s Bill to Protect Survivor Benefits for Jersey Police, Firefighters Advances

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TRENTON-A bill that would protect families of first responders after their passing has received legislative approval in Trenton.

The bill is sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) and requires medical professionals certifying death to perform any testing necessary for families to claim State and federal survivor benefits has received final legislative approval.

In 2016, Scott Danielson, a Sussex County first responder, died of a heart attack while in the line of duty. When his family requested the required toxicology test for federal death benefits, they were initially denied due to hospital costs. After involvement from Sen. Oroho and local officials, the hospital ultimately administered the required test.

“Families of first responders have access to important survivor benefits after the loss of their loved one,” stated Oroho. “We should remove any hurdles families might face during that difficult time which may prevent them from receiving the benefits they deserve and may depend upon.”

The federal Public Safety Officer Benefits Act provides a one-time benefit to eligible survivors of public safety officers whose death were an indirect result of an injury sustained in the line of duty.

Sen. Oroho’s bill, S-2320, requires professionals who certify death to perform any tests required for the family of a deceased first responder, who died in the line of duty, to qualify for any federal or State death benefits.

“It is a tragedy when any of our first responders die in the line of duty,” said Oroho. “We shouldn’t allow bureaucracy to compound that loss. It’s our duty to protect the families of first responders who have sacrificed so much to protect our own.”

Legislation has passed the General Assembly. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.