OPM introduced legislation to update the death gratuity and funeral expense paid to federal employees killed on the job. Presently, families receive $10,000 for the death and $800 for funeral expenses. The death benefit has not changed since 1997 and the funeral expense benefit has not changed since 1966.
A joint statement issued by the sponsors of the bill, Democratic Senators Barbara Mikulski (MD), Ben Cardin (MD), and Mark Warner (VA) stated, “Even civilian employers often are put in harm’s way, and federal employees have been killed on American soil. [We’re] proud to co-sponsor this long overdue bill to update and standardize the death gratuity and funeral expenses. It’s the least we can do for the families of federal workers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.”
The Death Gratuity Equity Act would provide $100,000 across all departments for any civilian employee killed on the job. This bill would also allow up to $8,800 for funeral expenses in addition to the death gratuity. Free of federal tax and tied to Cost of Living Adjustments, this money would greatly help families.
Also, more services will become eligible for this death benefit. These include postal and census workers, Job Corps students and Peace Corps volunteers.
Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert issued this statement, “Our commitment to caring for our federal employees and their families in the toughest of times is unwavering. This legislation is necessary to ensure families of civil servants killed while serving the people of the United States do not take on an unnecessary financial burden.”