The Public Safety Employees’ Death Benefits Act in North Carolina
In addition to workers’ compensation claims, the North Carolina Industrial Commission has jurisdiction to decide claims under The Public Safety Employees’ Death Benefits Act. This law supplements workers’ compensation benefits to the dependents of firefighters, law enforcement officers, rescue squad workers, Senior Civil Air Patrol members, and some noncustodial employees of the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction and the Division of Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety who are killed or dies in the line of duty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an increased number of claims under the Public Safety Employees’ Death Benefits Act before the Industrial Commission, which now has entire dockets devoted to hearing those claims. After March 27, 2020, for example, the statistical frequency of COVID-related deaths among law enforcement officers has gone out the roof. Since then, the National Fraternal Order of Police reports that 39 of the 44 deaths of North Carolina law enforcement officers have been from COVID-19. This has heightened claims filing activity with the Industrial Commission not only under the Workers’ Compensation Act, but also under the Public Safety Employees’ Death Benefits Act for eligible dependents.
To learn more about how our State’s workers’ compensation system works with claims under the Public Safety Employees’ Death Benefits Act, we are here to help.