There are no words to describe your grief after a police officer in your family is killed in the line of duty. You knew he spent his entire life at risk for the benefit of others, and now that your worst fears have come true, you’re not sure how you’re going to make it through—especially since you’re being asked to act as the beneficiary for all of his affairs. How can you know what you’re supposed to receive after a tragedy happens?
New Jersey Provides Accidental Death Benefits for a Police Officer’s Surviving Family Members
The Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) offers separate benefits for NJ police killed on the job. These are only for officers killed during the performance of their assigned duties, and is separate from the officer’s regular pension and life insurance benefits.
Here are a few things families should know about receiving an Accidental Death Benefit for a NJ police officer:
- Who can get it? Any eligible surviving spouse, civil union partner, or eligible same-sex domestic partner may receive benefits. If there is no spouse or partner, benefits may be given to eligible children; if there are no children, benefits will pass to a named beneficiary.
- How much is it? Families may receive 70 percent of the officer’s compensation (earnings received in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of death).
- How long does it last? Accidental Death Benefits are given as an annual pension and last for the lifetime of the beneficiary.
How Can I Get These Benefits?
In order to receive Accidental Death Benefits, your relative must have been an active member of PFRS at the time of his death. You will have to file an accident report with the retirement system within 60 days of the accident. You must also complete an Application for Accidental Death Benefits (death certificate is required) within five years of the date of death.
Have you had trouble collecting benefits after a police officer in your family was killed on duty? Leave us a comment below to tell us your story, or click the contact link on this page to ask us a question about your case.