QC first responders join IL Comptroller to push for faster payments to families

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza, Rep. Mike Halpin, police, firefighters, and other local first responders gathered at the Moline Police Department Wednesday morning to push support for HB 5785/SB 4229 – the Fallen First Responders and Armed Forces Support Act.

The act provides death benefits for claims filed within one year of the death of a law enforcement officer, civil defense worker, civil air patrol member, paramedic, fireman, chaplain, or state employee killed in the line of duty, or for claims filed within two years of the death of an armed forces member. The benefit goes to the surviving spouse or next of kin. The state paid 26 claims in Fiscal Year ‘22, which was 13 more than had been budgeted for.

Without enough of an appropriation, families were left waiting for several months for the benefits they were owed.

In 2021, more Illinois police officers died in the line of duty than had been projected. The state legislature had not approved enough funding for the families owed death benefits under the Line of Duty Compensation Act.

The bipartisan legislation would ensure the compensation is based on a continuing appropriation and that future families will not have to wait any additional time due to lack of funding in order to receive this benefit. The main sponsors are State Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford, and State Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Swansea. State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, has also signed on as a co-sponsor and joined the Comptroller at a previous press conference about the measure in Marion.