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Bill that would increase benefits for families of fallen first responders gets critical endorsement

Legislation that would increase benefits to the families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty has secured a critical endorsement.

The “Heroes Lesley Zerebny & Gilbert Vega First Responders Survivor Support Act” was recently endorsed by the National Sheriff’s Association.

Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz introduced the bill in February saying the bill would rectify an “outdated” system that has “shortchanged” the families of deceased police officers and firefighters. Ruiz said he is working to try and have President Trump sign the bipartisan bill into law this year.

The bill would increase family benefits from $350,000 to $500,000 which would allow the average family to pay off a mortgage or help raise a child from birth to age 18. Among many of the changes, the bill would also amend the date when benefits are disbursed. Currently, families have to wait at least a year after their loved one’s death before they can receive benefits. Ruiz says families lose up to $10,000 during that wait.

The bill is named after fallen Palm Springs police officers Lesley Zerebny and Jose “Gil” Vega who were killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in October 2016.

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Noticias en español: Telemundo 15

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