Schmidt’s survivor benefits bill headed to governor

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Health care benefits would be guaranteed for the surviving spouse and dependents of officers who die in the line of duty under legislation sent to the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder this week.

“After more than a year of hard work, I am glad that we were able to get this bill through the Legislature and on to the governor,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Public safety officials willingly put their lives on the line for us each day, sometimes paying the ultimate sacrifice for us and their families. It is important that we give back to those families for their sacrifices. Providing health care coverage to the spouses and children of officers who die in the line of duty is one way we can. I thank my colleagues for their support and look forward to the governor signing this bill soon.”

Under Senate Bill 218, sponsored by Schmidt, spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, rescue squad members, or ambulance crew members who lose their lives as a result of their duties on the job would be provided health care coverage comparable to those of retired state police officers.

The bill would allow eligible spouses and dependents to receive benefits for a maximum of five years, starting from Oct. 1, 2015. Funding for the benefits would need to be appropriated by the Legislature annually.

The state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget’s Office of Retirement Services would be responsible for determining and administering the health plans.