Vincent Polistina

TRENTON – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Vince Polistina (R-2) and James Beach (D-6) that expands the eligibility of surviving children to receive pension benefits of deceased members of the State Police Retirement System and the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System was approved by the State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Senate Committee.

“We have an obligation to support the families of first responders who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” Polistina said in a release. “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 a 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.

Senate 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 pension benefits 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 said. “Allowing more children to benefit from their family member’s pension can provide a sense of financial security during a very difficult time.”

The bill, which was introduced a year ago, passed the committee unanimously and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for its consideration.


Categories: State of NJ

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.