COLUMBUS—State Representative Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) has introduced legislation that provides long-overdue structure reform for the compensating and providing of financial security to Ohioans who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty. The bill changes certain details regarding death benefits for families of deceased Ohio public safety officers. While under current law death benefits are only distributed until the first eligible date of retirement (which is at 25 years of service or 48 years of age), under Rep. Hughes’ bill death benefits will be provided through to a full retirement (which is at 33 years of service or 70 years of age).
Once full retirement is reached, current law reduces death benefits to 50 percent; this legislation brings that amount to 75 percent, supporting the financial wellbeing of the deceased officer’s family. The bill also makes family members eligible for the same healthcare as State of Ohio employees.
“House Bill 621 honors those officers who paid the ultimate price by helping to ensure that their families are financially secure,” said Rep. Hughes. “While the debt we owe fallen officers can never be repaid, passing this legislation is the least we can do as a state to recognize their sacrifice.”
Having just been introduced, the bill awaits assignment to a House committee, where it will receive further consideration.