Maryland Survivor Benefit Program
The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is honored to be the steward of the Maryland Survivor Benefit Program which provides death benefits to surviving families of Maryland first responders lost in the line of duty.
Please accept our sincerest condolences during this time of loss. We hope that the memories of special times you shared will bring you comfort during this very difficult time.
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services provides a death benefit to the surviving spouse or estate of Maryland first responders who are killed in the performance of duty. Our program works closely with families and agencies to obtain the required documentation and process claims according to statutory guidelines. Determination of eligibility is made according to MD Pub Safety Code § 1-202 (2018) and in compliance with MD Code Reg 12.11.06.01
Effective July 1, 2022, If additional evidence arises that the decedent's death arose from an act committed against the decedent by another due to the nature and performance of the decedent's duties, then the application for a death benefit shall be filed within three years of the finding of this evidence.
The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services - Maryland Survivors Benefit Program handles the benefits for Public Safety Officers that were employed as the following:
- Law enforcement officer;
- Correctional officer;
- Volunteer or career firefighter or rescue squad member;
- State Fire Marshal or Deputy State Fire Marshal;
- Public safety aviation employee; or
- A hazardous material response team employee, subject to limitations in MD State Government Code, §1-202 (j);
- A Maryland resident who, after January 1, 2006, was a member of the United States military serving in the Afghanistan or Iraq conflict and died in the performance of duties;
- During active military service in the Afghanistan or Iraq conflict; or
- As a result of an injury sustained during active military service in the Afghanistan or Iraq conflict.
The Secretary, under Public Safety Article, § 1-202, Annotated Code of Maryland, may award a death benefit to the surviving spouse, child, dependent parent, or estate of an individual who, after January 1, 2006, died as a result of the performance of duty as a: (a) Law enforcement officer; (b) Correctional officer; (c) Volunteer or career firefighter or rescue squad member; (d) State Fire Marshal or Deputy State Fire Marshal; (e) Public safety aviation employee; or (f) Subject to limitations in State Government Article, § 1-202(j), Annotated Code of Maryland, hazardous material response team employee.
Military Death Benefit
The Secretary, under Public Safety Article, § 1-202, Annotated Code of Maryland, may award a death benefit to the surviving spouse, child, dependent parent, or estate of Maryland resident who, after January 1, 2006, was a member of the United States military serving in the Afghanistan or Iraq conflict and died in the performance of duties: (a) During active military service in the Afghanistan or Iraq conflict; or (b) As a result of an injury sustained during active military service in the Afghanistan or Iraq conflict. A death benefit awarded under this chapter is subject to deductions for taxes, debt or penalty owed by a decedent to a federal, state, or local government agency.
The State of Maryland provides up to $10,000 to cover funeral expenses for qualified beneficiaries. When a funeral benefit is authorized, payment shall be made first to the surviving spouse; if there is no surviving spouse, full payment is divided equally among surviving children; if there is no surviving child, full payment is made to a surviving dependent parent; if there is no surviving dependent parent, full payments made to the estate of the decedent. Currently, funeral expenses are not authorized for military service members. Funeral benefit amount may be reduced by the amount of any related workers compensation benefits paid under MD Law & Emp Code § 9-689 (2018)
The Secretary of State shall issue a State flag to the family of a firefighter, police officer, member of the military, sworn member of the office of State Fire Marshal, or professional or volunteer emergency medical services provider who is killed in the performance of duty. Except when the deceased is a member of the military, the flag shall be presented to the family of the deceased by the State Senator of the legislative district in which the deceased resided or served. When the deceased is a member of the military, the flag shall be presented to the family of the deceased by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
How to File a Claim
The Maryland Survivor Benefits Program now offers online services. To file a claim online, follow this link: Maryland Survivor Benefits Claim Submission Form. Claimants and/or their representative may also contact the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Office of the Secretary at 410-585- 3728, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claims can be initiated in several ways. Our team will work directly with the surviving family or any representative they may designate. Agencies may also initiate a claim on behalf of a fallen officer. Referrals from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), National Fallen Officers Foundation (NFOF) and other foundations are also welcome. The Maryland Survivor Benefits outreach team also works to identify and notify potential claimants.
- Statement from a qualified Maryland Public Safety Organization (Endorsement Letter)
- Copy of Death Certificate
- Investigative Report of Incident Related to Death
- Name, Address, Social Security Number, Birth Certificate and Driver's License/ID of all eligible beneficiaries
- Copy of Marriage Certificate (if beneficiary is the surviving spouse)
- Copy of Court Custody Order (if the beneficiary is a child)
- Documentation to verify dependency (if the beneficiary is a surviving dependent parent)
- Verification that an estate has been opened and the name of the person who has authority to represent the estate
- Submission - Survivors/agencies/representatives initiate a claim for benefits. Maryland Survivor Benefits Claim Submission Form
- Intake - Applications are reviewed for completeness and additional information or documentation may be requested.
- Determination Review - Once all required information and documentation is submitted, the claim is reviewed by the program director and a determination is made.
- Legal Review - Every determination made by the Maryland Survivor Benefits Program is reviewed by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General for legal sufficiency.
- Decision - Once a determination is reviewed for legal sufficiency, a decision is issued and notification is made both to the family and the represented agency.
- If approved, payment is issued by the Comptroller of Maryland. If not approved, detailed information is provided regarding the appeal process.