Senator Joyce: Fully Funding Line-of-Duty Death Benefits is Vital (Essex, IL) — Illinois State Senator Patrick Joyce has signed on as Chief Co-Sponsor for SB4229, a bill aimed at providing death benefits to first responders who lose their lives in the line of duty.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there weres 135 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2021. The Officer Down Memorial Page reported 649 police officer line-of-duty deaths in 2021. It should be noted that these numbers are higher-than-average due to the number of COVID-19 contractions by officers and firefighters while on duty.
In each year’s budget, the Illinois General Assembly appropriates funding for line-of-duty death benefits. However, once the appropriations have been spent, any further assistance to families of fallen police and firefighters must wait for the state legislature to approve any supplemental appropriations, then go to the governor for signature.
To support the families of fallen first responders, State Senator Patrick Joyce signed on as a chief co-sponsor to a new state initiative to ensure line-of-duty benefits are adequately funded.
“First responders put their lives on the line any time they clock in for a shift,” said Joyce. (D-Essex). “When someone tragically loses their life on the line of duty, that loss is extremely painful to not only the community, but to their family. Families are already mourning the loss of a loved one – they don’t need the added financial stressors.”
With the passage of Senate Bill 4229, families would receive their owned benefits without any further action. This appropriation also extends to volunteer firefighters and police. The current law can be found here.
“First responders and their families deserve to know they have the support and benefits they need, regardless of what happens,” said Joyce. “When families lose a loved one behind the line, we owe them a debt that can never be repaid.”
Senate Bill 4229 can be brought up as early as the upcoming fall veto session.
Senator Joyce: Fully Funding Line-of-Duty Death Benefits is Vital