“Line of duty death is a possibility that all law enforcement families must prepare for.  The ability of survivors to cope with the death of their family member is directly affected by the department’s reaction to the tragedy and the knowledge the family has concerning its rights and benefits” – COPS – Concerns of Police Survivors

Federal Benefits
Federal Workers Compensation for Non-Federal Law Enforcement Officers 
Social Security
Commonwealth of VA Benefits
Education Benefits 
Health Benefits
Workers' Compensation
Veterans’ Benefits
Other Sources of Benefits
Other Organizations

Page last updated September 8, 2010


Handling your legal and financial affairs is a personal matter. 
Some basics to keep in mind are:

•     Consult legal assistance

•     Consult financial planning assistance

•     Have a current will

•     Review the named beneficiary in your life, health and accident insurance policies

•     Keep insurance papers, your will and other important legal documents in a secure place,
       i.e., freezer (in a sealed plastic zip lock bag) or safety deposit box

•     Leave specific final instructions for interring your remains

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Federal Benefits:

 Public Safety Officer Benefit – PSOB

•     Paid upon the death or total and permanent disability from injuries sustained in the line
       of duty

•     $283,385 is paid to a surviving spouse if there are no children

•     If children, ½ to the child or children in equal shares and ½ to the spouse

•     If no spouse, paid to the child or children in equal shares

•     If no spouse and no eligible children, the benefit shall be paid to the individual designated
       by the officer under his/her most recently executed life insurance policy

•     You cannot name your own beneficiaries

•     Child is defined as any natural, illegitimate, adopted or posthumous child or step child    
       who is 18 or younger, 19-22 in school, 19 or older and incapable of self support because
       of a physical or mental disability

•     State and local benefits are not reduced by the PSOB and it cannot be subject to        
      execution or attachment by creditors.

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Federal Workers Compensation for
Non-Federal Law Enforcement Officers 

•     Benefits may be provided to an officer killed while engaged in the apprehension
       or attempted apprehension of a person who has committed a crime against the US or who
       is being sought by a law enforcement authority of the US

•     Also available to those killed while engaged in the lawful prevention or lawful attempt to
       prevent the commission of a crime against the US

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Social Security

•     Paid to a surviving spouse at age 60 or over or at any age caring for children under 16
       or disabled

•     Unmarried children under 18

•     Dependant parents age 62 or older

•     Surviving divorced spouse at age 60 who was married to the deceased for 10 years and
       who is not eligible for an equal or higher personal benefit or at any age, if caring for a     
       child under 16 or disabled

•     Each surviving dependent is entitled to a percentage of the amount you would have     
       received had the deceased lived to retirement age, or, if already retired, the amount the             deceased was receiving

•     $255, one time payment, for burial costs

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Commonwealth of VA Benefits:

 Police and Public Safety Officer Benefit

•     $75,000 for line of duty death

•     $25,000 for death from a disease presumed* to have been acquired in the line of duty

•     Paid to the surviving spouse

•     If no surviving spouse, paid to the estate

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•     Accumulated contributions

•     In the case of line of duty death, a supplemental retirement allowance is paid through the
       VA Workers Compensation Act

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Education Benefits 

•     Free tuition and required fees for children (ages 16-25) and surviving spouses of law     
       enforcement officers killed in the line of duty

•     For undergraduate study only

•     At any public institution of higher education in VA

•     Based on acceptance into that institution

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Health Benefits 

•     Effective July 1, 2000, Virginia will pay the health insurance benefits for the surviving     
       spouse and dependant children of any law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty

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Workers' Compensation 

•     If death results, within 9 years, from an accident or illness* incurred in the line of duty

•     Dependents wholly dependent on the deceased’s earnings for support at the time of the     
       accident shall receive a weekly payment

•     Equal to 2/3 his average weekly wages, but not more than 100% of the average weekly
       wage of the Commonwealth - $451

•     For a period of 500 weeks from date of injury

•     Burial expenses not exceeding $2000

•     Transportation expenses for the deceased not exceeding $500 

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Veterans’ Benefits 

•     Available for anyone who has served in the US Armed Forces

•     Death pension payable to low-income widows and children of wartime veterans who     
       have died of causes not related to their military service

•     Funeral expenses up to $300 plus $150 for burial or interment

•     National Service Life Insurance

•     Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance

•     Veteran’s Group Life Insurance

•     National Guard Group Life Insurance 

* presumptive clause amended July 1, 2000 to include several forms of cancer. 

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Other Sources of Benefits: 

•     Personal life insurance

•     Employer provided  life insurance (if available by your agency)– 1 to 3 times your salary 

•     Professional associations 

•     NRA provides a benefit of $25,000 for member law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty or killed feloniously 

•     National Sheriffs’ Association provides a $3000 accidental death or dismemberment policy for its members 

•     Law Enforcement Benevolent Fund of Northern Virginia provides its members with an immediate death benefit of at least $15,000, (as of 09/01-2007 the benefit is $17,500)  

•     Personal credit cards – most carry a $1000 accidental death or dismemberment policy  sometimes with a supplemental travel insurance policy 

•    The Taser Foundation offers line of duty death benefits for law enforcement officers.


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There are several organizations who offer expertise and counseling to survivors in the event of a line of duty death: 

•     COPS – Concerns of Police Survivors offers a variety of services, including benefit-    
       processing consultation, survivor group outings for surviving spouses as well as for     
       surviving children.  They are the organizer of most of the events held in DC during
       National Police Week

•     VA Public Safety Foundation

•     VA State Employee Assistance Service

•     HEROES, Inc – which also provides $3500 for immediate emergency expenses and
       offers a scholarship program 

A Personal Financial Diary is a comprehensive guide to provide assistance to surviving family members and is available upon request.  The most important thing is to keep it up to date.  At a minimum, keep all beneficiary information up to date.  There could be not much worse than having a divorced spouse provided for and a current spouse “forgotten” because beneficiary information was not updated.  Keep all emergency contact information updated.  It would be more than a tragedy for that same current spouse not to be notified in the case of a death or an accident because the emergency contact information is years out of date. 

Anyone requesting a copy of this “Personal Financial Diary” may contact Sergeant Stacie Talbot at

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