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Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

Legislation aids COVID-19 impacted first responder families

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President Donald Trump has signed into law the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act (SAFR), which improves access to financial assistance public safety officer families lost to COVID-19.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the measure, which they said clarifies certification requirements for survivor benefits under the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program to account for the unique challenges presented by the current coronavirus pandemic.

“The ongoing pandemic has increased the risk that America’s police officers and first responders face every day to keep our communities safe and healthy,” Grassley said. “Sadly, some have contracted COVID-19 while on the job and succumbed to the virus. Losing a first responder in the line of duty is always devastating. Families of those lost to COVID-19 shouldn’t face an uphill struggle to access financial support promised to them. This bill ensures that families of fallen public safety officers and first responders can quickly access the aid they’ve been promised.”

Booker said while the pandemic has changed daily life for so many Americans, first responders have continued to put their lives on the line to protect our communities.

“And they’ve done so at significantly increased risk to themselves and to their families,” he said. “We have lost far too many first responders to COVID-19, and their families will now without question receive the federal benefits they deserve in their time of unimaginable loss. Our first responders never hesitate to answer the call, and we must always answer theirs.”