NTEU Endorses Legislation to Increase Death Benefits for Federal Employees

Washington D.C. – Death benefits for federal employees killed on the job would increase under bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday and endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union.


The Honoring Civil Servants Killed in the Line of Duty Act would raise the benefit for survivors from $10,000 to $100,000, bringing it more in line with benefits for federal civilian employees killed abroad. It would also raise the payment for funeral expenses to $8,800, up from the $800 that has been in place for 56 years.


“NTEU endorses this legislation because it honors the sacrifice of federal workers who lose their life in service to their country,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “Supporting the survivors and families is the least we can do when tragedy strikes and a federal employee dies on the job.”


The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio, Alex Padilla of California and Gary Peters of Michigan.


Before the pandemic, the federal workforce averaged 24 deaths on the job per year, according to the bill’s sponsors.


The current $10,000 death benefit amount was set in 1997, and the $800 funeral expense payment dates back to 1966. By comparison, the family of a federal civil employee killed abroad under chief of mission authority is entitled to $185,100.


“No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but we commend this bipartisan group of senators who are committed to updating these payments in a way that reflects our nation’s gratitude for public service,” Reardon said.


Under the bill, employees who meet the definition of employee under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act are eligible for the death benefits.


NTEU represents about 150,000 employees in 34 federal agencies and departments.