TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice to provide members of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System(PFRS), who die in combat while on active duty as a soldier, with accidental death benefits, was approved by the full Senate today.
“So many men and women of this State ‘step up’ and serve their country, and we should also ‘step up’ and make sure that in cases of tragedy, their families are able to financially survive,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “This bill was originally a response to the miniscule federal death benefit for active service members and the bill would provide members of PFRS with an additional benefit enhancement for their loved ones if they were to perish in combat as a member of the reserve component of the Armed Forces or the National Guard.”
The bill, S-1392, would provide PFRS members, who die as a result of service in the reserves or the National Guard while on federal active duty status, with accidental death benefits.
Senator Rice stated that accidental death benefit in PFRS pays a surviving spouse a lump sum of 3.5 times final salary and also provides a percentage of a deceased member’s salary to surviving children or parents.
“With accidental death benefits, a surviving spouse is entitled to a pension of 70% of final salary, which is a 20% increase over the ordinary death benefit, and PFRS accidental death benefits provide survivors with State paid health benefits while ordinary death benefits do not,” said Senator Rice.
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.