The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program pays benefits to public safety officers or their families if the officers are permanently disabled or killed in the line of duty. If an injury or death is related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, officers may also be eligible for benefits from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
The Dale Long Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 requires the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to offset—that is, reduce—eligible PSOB benefits by the amount of any received VCF compensation. In addition, the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2017 (The Act) requires BJA to issue public reports every 180 days on PSOB claims. The Act also includes a provision for GAO to conduct a study on BJA’s compliance with the offsetting requirements and review the completeness and accuracy of BJA’s public reporting on PSOB claims related to 9/11.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) review has found that when benefits are payable from the program and the fund, the Department of Justice adjusts the payments as required to avoid overpayments.
Information on these payments is available to the public in the program’s reports and GAO found that the information in those reports has generally been reported correctly.
The watchdog also found no discrepancies between PSOB and VCF when offsetting benefits. According to GAO, “BJA generally reported accurate information in its 180-day reports on VCF claims and average award amounts related to 9/11 claims published between May 30, 2018 through November 16, 2020”.