Public Safety Officers' Educational Assistance
The 104th Congress of the United States enacted the Federal Law Enforcement Dependents Assistance (FLEDA) Act in 1996 which sets forth the guidelines for educational assistance to the dependents of Federal law enforcement officials who are killed or disabled in the performance of their duties. Congress and the President amended the Act in 1998 to provide educational assistance to spouses and children of police, fire, and emergency public safety officers killed in the line of duty, thus creating the Public Safety Officers' Educational Assistance (PSOEA) Program. The PSOEA Program also makes assistance available to spouses and children of public safety officers permanently and totally disabled by catastrophic injuries sustained in the line of duty. This program is administered by the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, Bureau of Justice Assistance, for more information call (888)744-6513 or visit http://psob.gov.
The PSOEA Program provides an educational assistance allowance to eligible survivors of public safety officers whose deaths or permanent and total disabilities are the direct and proximate result of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty. PSOEA benefits may be used solely to defray educational expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and education-related fees. The allowance is $485 per month for full- time students, $365 for three-quarter-time students, $242 for half-time students, and $121 for less-than-half-time. The amount of assistance is subject to change consistent with the current computation of educational assistance allowance set forth in the Title IV of the Higher Education Act, Section 3532 of Title 38, United States Code. The PSOEA benefit will be reduced by benefits received from Federal, State, and local governmental sources, scholarships and tuition waivers from Federal, State or local governmental institutions, including state school systems. However, deductions will not be made for grants, scholarships, or tuition waivers from private educational systems, private organizations, or non-profit groups.
Program Effective Dates
Effective dates were amended in 2000. Under the PSOEA Program, police, fire, and emergency public safety officers are covered for line-of-duty deaths or permanent and totally disabling injuries that occurred on or after January, 1978. The FLEDA Act makes program benefits available retroactively to families of federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on or after January 1978.
Eligibility for Benefits
The PSOEA Program stipulates that PSOEA benefits are to be provided directly to dependents who attend a program of education at an eligible educational institution and are the spouses or children of federal, police, fire, and emergency public safety officers whose deaths or permanent and total disabilities are covered by the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program. Public safety officers' children are no longer eligible for assistance, however, after their 27th birthday, absent a finding by the Attorney General of extraordinary circumstances. Assistance under the PSOEA Program is available for 45 months of full-time education or training or for a proportional period of time for a part-time program.