ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Lawmakers and city officials joined State Rep. Dave Vella (D-Loves Park) in Rockford Friday to talk about a bill that would extend survivor benefits for families of first responders and military personnel.

The news conference in support of HB 5785/SB 4229 featured speeches by Vella, State Sen. Christopher Belt (D-East St. Louis) and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza about timely compensation for the next of kin of fallen first responders and members of the armed forces.

“This is a simple bill, but nonetheless it is extremely important for these families who have struggled through this horrible loss, who have struggled enough with grieving their loved ones,” Mendoza said.

While the state’s Line of Duty Compensation Act provides benefits the families of law enforcement officers, members of the armed forces, firemen, paramedics and other first responders killed in the line of duty, benefits can sometimes run out before the end of a fiscal year, requiring legislature to approve supplemental appropriations.

The act also provides a burial benefit for fallen law enforcement and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Vella says the approval process costs families time which is crucial when in need of support.

“I want to make sure that no family ever has to wait on benefits they deserve again,” he told attendees.

Lawmakers say the bill will make the next of kin benefits process more streamlined for families during their hardships.

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October 21, 2022 at 06:43PM