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August 09, 2022

President Biden Signs Trone’s Public Safety Officer Support Act Into Law To Expand Benefits to Those Who Suffer From PTSD or Die by Suicide


August 17, 2022

Contact: Sloane Gallagher, 

President Biden Signs Trone’s Public Safety Officer Support Act Into Law To Expand Benefits to Those Who Suffer From PTSD or Die by Suicide

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Congressman David Trone’s (D-MD) Public Safety Officer Support Act was signed into law by President Biden. The legislation was co-led by Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA). The law will expand the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program (PSOB) to include coverage for first responders who die as a result of suicide or are permanently disabled as a result of traumatic service-related experiences. The PSOB Program currently only covers physical injuries, excluding any coverage for mental health issues. 

Trone originally introduced this bill in May 2021, along with the COPS Counseling Law, after Montgomery County Police Officer Thomas “T.J.” Bomba’s death by suicide in October of 2019. Following his death, Congressman Trone held a roundtable on mental health for first responders moderated by the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Joshua Gordon. The discussion touched on access to mental health benefits during and after service among the first responder community. Trone was inspired to write the bill as a result of the roundtable discussion.

“First responders often experience more trauma in one day than many of us will experience in our lifetimes. This takes a significant toll on the officers and sometimes leads to disability or even suicide,” said Rep. Trone. “We heard first responders loud and clear to make sure the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program is there not only for those suffering from physical injuries, but also from mental injuries. Today, we got the job done for millions of first responders across our country by putting our people over partisanship.”

The Public Safety Officer Support Law will:

  • Allow public safety officers to seek disability benefits for PTSD linked to severe trauma by directing the PSOB to designate work-related PTSD and acute stress disorders as a line of duty injury for eligible officers as well as those who are permanently disabled as a result of attempted suicide; and
  • Allow families of public safety officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits by directing the PSOB to presume that suicides are a result of job duties in certain traumatic circumstances where there is evidence that PTSD or acute stress disorder would be the cause of the injury.

“Our women and men of law enforcement witness more human tragedy in a year than the average person experiences in a lifetime. Repeated exposure to domestic violence, child abuse, drug addiction, suicide, traffic fatalities, etc., slowly takes its toll on those who serve. Cops are human and they have their own daily struggles, in addition to the struggles of others which they are called upon to handle every day,” said Chief Jason Lando, City of Frederick. “As a society, we have a duty to our police officers to make sure they are both physically and mentally healthy during and after service and their families, who also serve our communities, are looked after. The Public Safety Officer Support Act is a much-needed step towards accomplishing that goal and is something we should all get behind.”

“The Public Safety Officer Support Act is an extraordinary piece of legislation as it will allow law enforcement officers and their families across the country to no longer suffer in silence,” said Chief Marcus Jones, Montgomery County Police Department. “Our officers earn access to health care benefits – whether physical or mental – if they are injured on the job or face trauma from their service. I want to thank Congressman Trone for his leadership in helping to assist officer’s families with these much needed benefits.”

The Public Safety Officer Support Act (H.R. 6943) is cosponsored by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Richard Hudson (NC-08), Angie Craig (MN-02), Don Beyer (VA-08), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Karen Bass (CA-37), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (Puerto Rico), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), David Cicilline (RI-01), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced companion legislation with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The following organizations support the Public Safety Officer Support Act: Fraternal Order of Police, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association, National Sheriffs Association, Blue H.E.L.P., the National Border Patrol Council, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses, the Clinical Social Work Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the Psychotherapy Action Network, the American Counseling Association, and the Schizophrenia and Psychosis Action Alliance. 

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

Follow Congressman Trone at @RepDavidTrone for updates on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.