The New Jersey Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator Vince Polistina that expands the eligibility of surviving children to receive pension benefits from deceased family members of the State Police Retirement System and the Police and Fireman's Retirement System.
"The Senate's action on this legislation upholds our commitment to support the families of first responders who risk their lives to keep our communities safe," said Polistina (R-02). "By expanding the definition of child under the PFRS and SPRS and removing certain barriers, more children under the age of 24 will qualify as beneficiaries to access pension benefits. This legislation is a small but important way to honor the service of first responders in New Jersey."
Currently, a person is considered a child under the PFRS and SPRS when they are under the age of 18, 18 or older and attending secondary school, under the age of 24 and enrolled in college as a full-time student or disabled.
For someone who is under the age of 24 to be considered a child, however, they must be the survivor of a PFRS or SPRS member who died in active duty.
Senator Polistina's bill, S-2689, removes the active-duty requirement to permit any full-time college student who is under the age of 24 to be considered a child and be eligible to receive payments from their family member's final compensation regardless of where the pension holder died.
"Surviving children already have to grieve the loss of a loved one. Their ability to receive benefits shouldn't hinge on whether their loved one died in the line of duty," Polistina added. "Allowing more children to benefit from their family member's pension can provide a sense of financial security during a very difficult time."