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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
6/27/2012--Passed House amended. Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012 - Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to revise provisions concerning public safety officer death or disability benefits, including by: (1) modifying the list of recipients of death benefits payable when a public safety officer has died as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty to include as an eligible individual, if there is no other individual meeting existing eligibility requirements, the surviving individual (or individuals, in equal shares) who would qualify as an eligible "child" but for age; (2) providing that disability benefits shall be payable when an officer has become permanently and totally disabled as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury (currently, as the direct result of a catastrophic injury) sustained in the line of duty; (3) eliminating the $5,000,000 limit on total annual disability benefits paid; (4) providing that death or disability benefits shall not be in addition to payments under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001; (5) revising the criteria for death resulting from a heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture suffered by a public safety officer while on duty; (6) including within the definitions of "member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew" and "public safety officer" an officially recognized or designated employee or volunteer member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew that is a public agency or a nonprofit entity serving the public that is officially authorized or licensed to engage in rescue activity or to provide emergency medical services and that engages in rescue activities or provides emergency medical services as part of an official emergency response system; and (7) making those who have sustained a catastrophic injury in the line of duty eligible for peer support and counseling programs.
Makes funds available for appeals from final determinations (currently, decisions) of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and for expenses of representation of hearing examiners, with respect to public safety officer's death benefits under specified circumstances. Provides that no appeal shall bring a final determination of the Bureau before any court for review unless notice of appeal is filed within 90 days after the date on which the Bureau serves notice of the final determination. Defines a "hearing examiner" under such Act to include any medical or claims examiner.
Makes this Act applicable to injuries sustained by a member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew on or after June 1, 2009. Makes provisions regarding the presumption of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty for public safety officers applicable to heart attacks, strokes, and vascular ruptures sustained on or after December 15, 2003.