Text: S.1037 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (05/14/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1037


To amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide adequate benefits for public safety officers injured or killed in the line of duty, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 14, 2009

Ms. Landrieu introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide adequate benefits for public safety officers injured or killed in the line of duty, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “First Responders Support Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. Expanding disability benefits.

(a) In general.—Section 1201 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)—

(A) by striking “$250,000” and inserting “$350,000”; and

(B) by striking “subsection (h)” and inserting “subsection (h)(1)”;

(2) in subsection (b)—

(A) by striking “permanently and totally”; and

(B) by striking “, to the extent that appropriations are provided” and all that follows and inserting “a benefit in an amount determined in accordance with subsection (h)(2) to such officer.”; and

(3) in subsection (h)—

(A) by striking “the effective date of this subsection” and inserting “the date of enactment of the First Responders Support Act of 2009”;

(B) by inserting “(1)” after “(h)”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(2)(A) Subject to subsection (b) and subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the amount of a benefit paid under subsection (b) to a public safety officer who has become disabled as the direct result of a catastrophic injury sustained in the line of duty shall be in an amount equal to the benefit that is payable under subsection (a) in the applicable year multiplied by the level of disability of the public safety officer, as determined in accordance with subparagraph (C).

“(B) No benefit shall be paid under subsection (b) if the level of disability of the public safety officer is less than 50 percent.

“(C)(i) The Director shall adopt and apply a schedule of levels of disability of public safety officers associated with specific injuries or combinations of injuries, based upon the average impairments of earning capacity resulting from the injuries concerned.

“(ii) For purposes of the schedule required by this subparagraph, the levels of disability eligible for benefits shall be—

“(I) based on the average impairment of earning capacity resulting from the injuries; and

“(II) set at 50, 75, and 100 percent of disability with a minimum threshold of 50 percent.”.

(b) Definition of catastrophic injury.—Section 1204(1) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b(1)) is amended by striking “permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work” and inserting “sufficiently diminishes the ability of an individual to perform substantially gainful work (for purposes of this paragraph marginal employment shall not be considered gainful work)”.

(c) Expediting benefits.—Section 1201 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(n) Not later than 12 months after the date on which a claimant submits all information required for a claim under this subpart, the Bureau shall determine whether the claimant is eligible to receive a benefit under this subpart.”.

(d) Regulations.—Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall promulgate regulations to carry out the amendments made by this section.

(e) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General, in addition to any other amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated, $6,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to hire employees for the Bureau of Justice Assistance and obtain the technology and equipment necessary to expedite the processing of claims and make disability determinations under subpart 1 of part L of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796 et seq.), as amended by this section.

SEC. 3. Educational benefits.

(a) In general.—Section 1212(a) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796d–1(a)) is amended—

(1) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

“(2)(A) Except as provided in paragraph (3), and subject to subparagraph (C) of this paragraph, financial assistance under this subpart shall—

“(i) consist of direct payments to an eligible dependent; and

“(ii) be paid at the monthly rate of not more than $1,500.

“(B) The Director shall promulgate regulations to establish the amount of financial assistance under subparagraph (A) for an eligible dependent, which shall be based on the portion of the normal full-time academic workload for the course of study, as determined by the eligible educational institution, that the eligible dependent is pursuing.

“(C) On October 1 of each fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of the First Responders Support Act of 2009, the Director shall adjust the level of the benefit payable during that fiscal year under subparagraph (A)(ii), to reflect the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occurring in the 1-year period ending on June 1 immediately preceding such October 1.”; and

(2) in paragraph (3)(A), by striking “to which the eligible dependent would otherwise be entitled to receive” and inserting “that the eligible dependent receives”.

(b) Children.—Section 1212(a)(1) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796d–1(a)(1)) is amended—

(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking “or” at the end;

(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking “a totally and permanently disabling injury” and inserting “the officer's catastrophic injury”;

(3) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (C); and

(4) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following:

“(B) the child of the spouse of an officer described in subparagraph (A) at the time of the officer's death or on the date of the officer's catastrophic injury; or”.

SEC. 4. Prioritization of claims.

Section 1205 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796c) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(d)(1) The Bureau shall adopt and apply a system of prioritization of claims for benefits under this part based on the severity of the claim and the likelihood of approval of the claim.

“(2) For purposes of this subsection, a claim for a death benefit or 100 percent disability shall be considered more severe and given priority.”.

SEC. 5. Credit for continuing care of first responders.

(a) In general.—Subpart C of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to refundable credits) is amended by redesignating section 36 as section 37 and by inserting after section 35 the following new section:

“SEC. 36. Continuing care for injured first responders.

“(a) Allowance of credit.—There shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this subtitle for the taxable year an amount equal to the qualified medical expenses paid or incurred during such taxable year by a qualified injured first responder or a family member of a qualified injured first responder.

“(b) Limitations.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The amount of the credit allowed under subsection (a) for any taxable year shall not exceed $7,500.

“(2) LIMITATION BASED ON ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME.—The amount of the credit allowed by subsection (a) (determined without regard to this subsection) shall be reduced (but not below zero) by 5 percent of so much of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income as exceeds $75,000 ($150,000 in the case of a joint return).

“(c) Definitions.—For purposes of this section—

“(1) QUALIFIED INJURED FIRST RESPONDER.—The term ‘qualified injured first responder’ means any public safety officer who has suffered an injury that substantially diminishes the ability of the public safety officer to perform gainful work while performing an official duty as a public safety officer.

“(2) FAMILY MEMBER.—The term ‘family member’ includes family members described in section 267(c)(4).

“(3) QUALIFIED MEDICAL EXPENSES.—The term ‘qualified medical expenses’ means expenses paid or incurred, not compensated for by insurance or otherwise, for medical care (within the meaning of section 213(d)) in connection with an injury of a qualified injured first responder which was incurred while the qualified injured first responder was performing an official duty as a public safety officer.

“(4) PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER.—The term ‘public safety officer’ has the meaning given such term by section 1204(9) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

“(d) No double benefit.—No credit or deduction shall be allowed under this chapter with respect to any expenses which are taken into account under this section.”.

(b) Conforming amendments.—

(1) Paragraph (2) of section 1324(b) of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking “or 6428” and inserting “, 36, or 6428”.

(2) The table of sections for subpart C of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking the item relating to section 36 and inserting the following new items:


“Sec. 36. Continuing care for injured first responders.

“Sec. 37. Overpayments of tax.”.

(c) Effective date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009.

SEC. 6. Expanding counseling and mental health services.

(a) Definitions.—In this section—

(1) the term “Director” means the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance;

(2) the term “eligible organization” means an organization that provides free or reduced cost mental health services or counseling to public safety officers seriously injured in the line of duty and the family members of public safety officers killed or seriously injured in the line of duty;

(3) the term “public safety officer” has the meaning given that term in section 1204 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b); and

(4) the term “reduced cost”, relating to mental health services or counseling, means that the organization providing the services or counseling charges not more than 50 percent of the amount that the organization would otherwise charge for the services or counseling.

(b) Authorization To make grants.—The Director may make grants to eligible organizations to provide mental health services or counseling to public safety officers seriously injured in the line of duty and the family members of public safety officers killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.

(c) Application.—An eligible organization desiring a grant under this section shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Director may establish.