If you’ve watched the news at all this week, you’ve probably noticed the government shutdown has delayed the timely payment of death benefits to families of service members lost in the line of duty. It’s a disgraceful tragedy and deserves to be remedied immediately. Yet, as we continue to consider the many consequences of failing to fund the federal government, one cannot overlook the fact that the families of fallen fire fighters, too, have been given the short shrift. Federal Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB), awarded to families of public safety officers who die in the line of duty, have been put on hold for the duration of the government shutdown.
The program’s official government website says it all.
Among those held hostage to the government shutdown are the families of the 19 Prescott fire fighters who gave their lives during the Yarnell Hill fire. Feted for their selflessness and bravery only a few short months ago, their families’ applications for benefits are on hold, unable to be processed because the staff necessary to make the payments have been furloughed.
Families waiting for their promised benefits, families who have lost a mother or father, spouse or child, must wait and wonder just when the federal government will deliver on their promise to provide for their loved one’s service.
This government shutdown has real consequences on real people, and it will only worsen with time. The shutdown is shameful, and needs to end now.