Skoufis Introduces Bill to Expand Protections for Family Benefits of Police and Fire Retirement System

Jessica Gulotta

March 18, 2021

Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) introduced a bill in the State Senate that would expand protections for benefits to family members of the police and fire retirement system in New York. This bill allows family beneficiaries of police officers and firefighters who passed away within 30 days of filing a retirement application to receive pension benefits.

Currently, a loophole in state law deprives families of the ability to obtain pension benefits if their loved one and beneficiary passed away after filing their retirement application. Last year, a constituent reached out to Senator Skoufis’ office about a tragic situation, alarming him to this issue in state law. This constituent’s loved one was a member of the state retirement system who passed away shortly after filing their retirement application. The family was only able to receive death benefits, a significantly lower payment. In response to this situation that, sadly, many New Yorkers face, Senator Skoufis introduced bill S.4411 to close this loophole. 

“During a time when essential workers like police officers and firefighters are still more at-risk than ever, state law shouldn’t make it more difficult for their families to receive the benefits they are rightfully entitled to,” said Senator Skoufis. “I was extremely disturbed to learn about this constituent’s situation because people who have just lost a loved one should not be additionally burdened with the loss of benefits. I will continue pushing to get this bill across the finish line.” 

This bill is currently in the Finance Committee in the State Senate. 


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