Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act of 2003 (HHA), signed into law December 15, 2003, amends the PSOB Act. If a public safety officer dies as a direct and proximate result of a heart attack or stroke, that officer shall be presumed to have died as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty if:
1. that officer, while on duty –
a. engaged in a situation, and such engagement involved non-routine stressful or strenuous physical law enforcement, fire suppression, rescue, hazardous material response, emergency medical services, prison security, disaster relief, or other emergency response activity*; or,
b. participated in a training exercise, and such participation involved non-routine stressful or strenuous physical activity*;
2. that officer died as a result of a heart attack or stroke suffered –
a. while engaging or participating in such activity as described above,
b. while still on that duty after so engaging or participating in such an activity, or c. not later than 24 hours after so engaging or participating in such an activity; and
3. such presumption is not overcome by competent medical evidence to the contrary.
*Non routine stressful or strenuous physical activities exclude actions of a clerical, administrative, or non-manual nature.
The HHA provision covers deaths only occurring on or after December 15, 2003. The HHA is not retroactive, and therefore it does not apply to deaths occurring before the aforementioned date.