PRESS RELEASE January-15-2020

Sweeney, Singleton Bill to Increase PFRS and SPRS Death Benefits to Surviving Children Signed into Law

Trenton – Governor Phil Murphy signed into law today legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Troy Singleton which would increase the death benefit of an active member of the PFRS and SPRS to 50 percent of the final compensation for surviving children.

The new law will amend current law, which extends benefits to the member’s widow or widower at 50 percent of their final compensation if the member dies in active service and no accidental death benefit is payable. If there is no widow or widower, 20 perfect of the member’s final compensation is paid annually to one surviving child, 35 percent to two surviving children in equal shares and 50 percent to three or more children in equal shares.

“Times have changed in the last few decades,” said Senator Sweeney (D- Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “People are moving in and starting families together without being married and this bill recognizes the change in society that has become commonplace. The prior structure for the benefits is passé and it’s discriminatory towards children with unwedded parents. Children deserve the same benefits regardless of whether their parents were married or not. This law adapts to the times we are in and protects the children of those who protect and serve our communities.”

“Each and every day, our first responders put their lives on the line to keep us and our families safe and out of harm’s way,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “It is a terrible tragedy when we lose a member of this community in the line of duty, and an especially painful loss for their families. It is our responsibility to ensure that their children are well taken care of, and receive the benefits they are entitled to, regardless of their parents’ marital status.”

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