Disability Benefits: Benefit Amounts for Military Personnel and Civilian Public Safety Officers Vary by Program Provisions and Individual Circumstances

GAO-06-4 Published: Apr 07, 2006. Publicly Released: Apr 07, 2006.
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Military personnel, as well as civilian public safety officers (PSO), risk their lives and face the prospect of incurring disabilities as they protect and defend the general public on a daily basis. To help assess the appropriateness of disability benefits available to military personnel, Congress mandated that GAO study the disability benefits available to federal, state, and local government employees who serve the public in high-risk occupations and are injured in the line of duty. In response, GAO compared the disability benefits available to military personnel with the disability benefits available to civilian PSOs at the federal level, and in six states and six cities that were selected to illustrate the range of benefits provided. This study focuses on benefits provided to law enforcement officers and firefighters at the federal level, to state police at the state level, and to firefighters at the local level. For each program included in the review, GAO identified the benefits available for temporary disability, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability, and then calculated the lifetime present value of the benefits provided to various hypothetical individuals in different circumstances. Cognizant agency officials provided only technical suggestions, which were incorporated as appropriate.

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