42 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2008 Edition
Title 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE
CHAPTER 46 - JUSTICE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT
SUBCHAPTER XII - PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS’ DEATH BENEFITS
Part A - Death Benefits
Sec. 3796 - Payment of death benefits
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

§3796. Payment of death benefits

(a) Amount; recipients

In any case in which the Bureau of Justice Assistance (hereinafter in this subchapter referred to as the “Bureau”) determines, under regulations issued pursuant to this subchapter, that a public safety officer has died as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty, the Bureau shall pay a benefit of $250,000, adjusted in accordance with subsection (h) of this section, as follows:

(1) if there is no surviving child of such officer, to the surviving spouse of such officer;

(2) if there is a surviving child or children and a surviving spouse, one-half to the surviving child or children of such officer in equal shares and one-half to the surviving spouse;

(3) if there is no surviving spouse, to the child or children of such officer in equal shares;

(4) if there is no surviving spouse or surviving child—

(A) in the case of a claim made on or after the date that is 90 days after January 5, 2006, to the individual designated by such officer as beneficiary under this section in such officer's most recently executed designation of beneficiary on file at the time of death with such officer's public safety agency, organization, or unit, provided that such individual survived such officer; or

(B) if there is no individual qualifying under subparagraph (A), to the individual designated by such officer as beneficiary under such officer's most recently executed life insurance policy on file at the time of death with such officer's public safety agency, organization, or unit, provided that such individual survived such officer; or


(5) if none of the above, to the parent or parents of such officer in equal shares.

(6) The public safety agency, organization, or unit responsible for maintaining on file an executed designation of beneficiary or recently executed life insurance policy pursuant to paragraph (4) shall maintain the confidentiality of such designation or policy in the same manner as it maintains personnel or other similar records of the officer.

(b) Benefits for permanent and total disability

In accordance with regulations issued pursuant to this subchapter, in any case in which the Bureau determines that a public safety officer has become permanently and totally disabled as the direct result of a catastrophic injury sustained in the line of duty, the Bureau shall pay, to the extent that appropriations are provided, the same benefit in any year that is payable under subsection (a) of this section in such year, adjusted in accordance with subsection (h) of this section, to such officer: Provided, That the total annual benefits paid under this subsection may not exceed $5,000,000. For the purposes of making these benefit payments, there are authorized to be appropriated for each fiscal year such sums as may be necessary: Provided further, That these benefit payments are subject to the availability of appropriations and that each beneficiary's payment shall be reduced by a proportionate share to the extent that sufficient funds are not appropriated.

(c) Interim benefit payment

Whenever the Bureau determines upon showing of need and prior to final action that the death of a public safety officer is one with respect to which a benefit will probably be paid, the Bureau may make an interim benefit payment not exceeding $3,000 to the individual entitled to receive a benefit under subsection (a) of this section.

(d) Deduction of interim payment

The amount of an interim payment under subsection (c) of this section shall be deducted from the amount of any final benefit paid to such individual.

(e) Repayment of interim payment; waiver

Where there is no final benefit paid, the recipient of any interim payment under subsection (c) of this section shall be liable for repayment of such amount. The Bureau may waive all or part of such repayment, considering for this purpose the hardship which would result from such repayment.

(f) Reductions from final benefit payment

The benefit payable under this subchapter shall be in addition to any other benefit that may be due from any other source, except—

(1) payments authorized by section 12(k) of the Act of September 1, 1916, as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 4–622); or

(2) benefits authorized by section 8191 of title 5. Such beneficiaries shall only receive benefits under such section 8191 that are in excess of the benefits received under this subchapter.

(g) Execution or attachment prohibited

No benefit paid under this subchapter shall be subject to execution or attachment.

(h) Consumer Price Index adjustment

On October 1 of each fiscal year beginning after June 1, 1988, the Bureau shall adjust the level of the benefit payable immediately before such October 1 under subsection (a) of this section, 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.

(i) Amount payable determined as of date of death

The amount payable under subsection (a) of this section with respect to the death of a public safety officer shall be the amount payable under subsection (a) of this section as of the date of death of such officer.

(j) Limitations on benefits

(1) No benefit is payable under this subchapter with respect to the death of a public safety officer if a benefit is paid under this subchapter with respect to the disability of such officer.

(2) No benefit is payable under this subchapter with respect to the disability of a public safety officer if a benefit is payable under this subchapter with respect to the death of such public safety officer.

(k) Death by heart attack or stroke; presumption

For purposes of this section, if a public safety officer dies as the direct and proximate result of a heart attack or stroke, that officer shall be presumed to have died as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty, if—

(1) that officer, while on duty—

(A) engaged in a situation, and such engagement involved nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical law enforcement, fire suppression, rescue, hazardous material response, emergency medical services, prison security, disaster relief, or other emergency response activity; or

(B) participated in a training exercise, and such participation involved nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical activity;


(2) that officer died as a result of a heart attack or stroke suffered—

(A) while engaging or participating as described under paragraph (1);

(B) while still on that duty after so engaging or participating; or

(C) not later than 24 hours after so engaging or participating; and


(3) such presumption is not overcome by competent medical evidence to the contrary.

(l) Definition

For purposes of subsection (k) of this section, “nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical” excludes actions of a clerical, administrative, or nonmanual nature.

(m) Suspension or end of collection action

The Bureau may suspend or end collection action on an amount disbursed pursuant to a statute enacted retroactively or otherwise disbursed in error under subsection (a) or (c) of this section, where such collection would be impractical, or would cause undue hardship to a debtor who acted in good faith.

(Pub. L. 90–351, title I, §1201, as added Pub. L. 98–473, title II, §609F, Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2098; amended Pub. L. 100–690, title VI, §6105(a)–(c), Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4341; Pub. L. 101–647, title XIII, §1301(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4834; Pub. L. 102–520, §1, Oct. 25, 1992, 106 Stat. 3402; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330001(e)(1), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2138; Pub. L. 107–56, title VI, §613(a), Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 369; Pub. L. 107–196, §2(b), June 24, 2002, 116 Stat. 719; Pub. L. 108–182, §2, Dec. 15, 2003, 117 Stat. 2649; Pub. L. 109–162, title XI, §1164(c)–(e), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 3120, 3121.)

References in Text

Section 12 of the Act of September 1, 1916, as amended, referred to in subsec. (f)(1), is section 12 of act Sept. 1, 1916, ch. 433, 39 Stat. 718, as amended, which is not classified to the Code.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 3796, Pub. L. 90–351, title I, §1201, as added Pub. L. 96–157, §2, Dec. 27, 1979, 93 Stat. 1219; amended Pub. L. 98–411, title II, §204(a)(1), Aug. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 1561; Pub. L. 98–473, title II, §609Z, Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2107, contained provisions similar to this section, prior to the general amendment of this subchapter by section 609F of Pub. L. 98–473.

Another prior section 3796, Pub. L. 90–351, title I, §701, as added Pub. L. 94–430, §2, Sept. 29, 1976, 90 Stat. 1346, contained provisions similar to this section, prior to the general amendment of this chapter by Pub. L. 96–157.

A prior section 1201 of Pub. L. 90–351, title VII, June 19, 1968, 82 Stat. 236, was set out in the Appendix to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 99–308, §104(b), May 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 459.

Amendments

2006—Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 109–162, §1164(d), amended par. (4) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (4) read as follows: “if there is no surviving spouse or surviving child, to the individual designated by such officer as beneficiary under such officer's most recently executed life insurance policy, provided that such individual survived such officer; or”.

Subsec. (a)(6). Pub. L. 109–162, §1164(e), which directed amendment of section 1201(1)(a) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796(a)) by adding par. (6) at end, was executed by adding par. (6) at end of subsec. (a) of this section to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Subsec. (m). Pub. L. 109–162, §1164(c), added subsec. (m).

2003—Subsecs. (k), (l). Pub. L. 108–182 added subsecs. (k) and (l).

2002—Subsec. (a)(4), (5). Pub. L. 107–196 added par. (4) and redesignated former par. (4) as (5).

2001—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 107–56 substituted “$250,000” for “$100,000” in introductory provisions.

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–322, §330001(e)(1)(A), substituted “subsection (h) of this section,” for “subsection (g) of this section” in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–322, §330001(e)(1)(B), substituted “catastrophic injury” for “catastrophic personal injury”, “subsection (h)” for “subsection (g)”, and “benefits paid under this subsection” for “benefits paid under this section”.

1992—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–520 substituted “the same benefit in any year that is payable under subsection (a) of this section in such year,” for “a benefit of up to $100,000,”.

1990—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–647, §1301(a)(3), added subsec. (b). Former subsec. (b) redesignated (c).

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 101–647, §1301(a)(2), redesignated subsec. (b) as (c). Former subsec. (c) redesignated (d).

Subsecs. (d), (e). Pub. L. 101–647, §1301(a)(1), (2), redesignated subsecs. (c) and (d) as (d) and (e), respectively, and substituted “(c)” for “(b)”. Former subsec. (e) redesignated (f).

Subsecs. (f) to (i). Pub. L. 101–647, §1301(a)(2), redesignated former subsecs. (e) to (h) as (f) to (i), respectively.

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 101–647, §1301(a)(4), added subsec. (j).

1988—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100–690, §6105(a), substituted “$100,000, adjusted in accordance with subsection (g) of this section” for “$50,000”.

Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 100–690, §6105(c), struck out “dependent” before “parent”.

Subsecs. (g), (h). Pub. L. 100–690, §6105(b), added subsecs. (g) and (h).

Effective Date of 2002 Amendment

Pub. L. 107–196, §2(c), June 24, 2002, 116 Stat. 720, provided that: “The amendments made by this section [amending this section and section 3796b of this title] shall take effect on September 11, 2001, and shall apply to injuries or deaths that occur in the line of duty on or after such date.”

Effective Date of 2001 Amendment

Pub. L. 107–56, title VI, §613(b), Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 370, provided that: “The amendment made by subsection (a) [amending this section] shall apply to any death or disability occurring on or after January 1, 2001.”

Effective Date of 1992 Amendment

Section 2 of Pub. L. 102–520 provided that: “The amendments made by section 1 of this Act [amending this section] shall apply with respect to injuries occurring on or after November 29, 1990, using the calculation method used to determine benefits under section 1201(a) of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 [subsec. (a) of this section].”

Effective Date of 1990 Amendment

Section 1303 of title XIII of Pub. L. 101–647 provided that: “The amendments made by this title [amending this section and sections 3796a and 3796b of this title] shall take effect upon enactment [Nov. 29, 1990] and shall not apply with respect to injuries occurring before the effective date of such amendments.”

Effective Date of 1988 Amendment

Section 6105(e) of Pub. L. 100–690 provided that: “The amendments made by this section [amending this section and section 3796b of this title] shall take effect on June 1, 1988.”

Effective Date

Subchapter effective Oct. 1, 1984, and inapplicable with respect to injuries sustained before Oct. 1, 1984, see section 609AA(b)(1) of Pub. L. 98–473, set out as a note under section 3711 of this title.