5 Benefits for First Responders and their Families

Published 11:00 am Sunday, July 23, 2023

First responders put their lives on the line every day. They are our neighbors, family members, and friends. When they must step in to help us, they don’t just do it for us—they do it for everyone in their community.

That’s why it’s so important that we support them by helping them access government benefits. In this article, we will provide information on training opportunities, medical help, and disability and death benefits for first responders and their families.

Training Opportunities

An important part of being a first responder is training. Having the skillset, knowledge, and confidence to handle stressful situations is needed for emergency situations. The following programs are great opportunities to strengthen your training.

If you are a firefighter or emergency response personnel, the State Fire Training Systems Grants Program might be for you. This program pays for courses that help protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. You can visit the National Fire Academy details page for more information.

Another opportunity is the First Responder Counter-Terrorism Training Assistance Program. This program provides training for first responders to help manage the consequences of a terrorist act. You can find more information about this program on this Counter-Terrorism Training & Technical Assistance page. To apply, call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Medical Help for 9/11 Responders

Dedicated to helping first responders, the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program offers healthcare to those directly affected by the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. It has helped over 80,000 responders and continues to enroll new participants every year. The program gives treatment for many health conditions including upper-respiratory disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, cancers, and mental health conditions. To apply for this program, visit the WTC Health Program’s application page.

Disability and Death Benefits

As a first responder, you’re responsible for saving people’s lives, and that’s what you do. What happens if you get seriously injured on the job? If you have been permanently injured while performing your duties as a public safety officer, you may be eligible for the following benefits.

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program (PSOB) gives benefits to safety officers that were permanently injured in the line of duty. It also gives survivors of fallen safety officers the same benefits when they are designated beneficiaries. For more information, visit the PSOB Program homepage.

The Public Safety Officers’ Education Assistance (PSOEA) Program gives financial assistance, for the purpose of seeking higher education, to the spouse and eligible children of local police, fire, and emergency public safety officers who have been killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.

Other Resources

Take the Benefit Finder to get a list of benefits you may be eligible for based on your answers to a questionnaire. It takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. You can save your results at the end by printing or emailing the list to yourself. You can also subscribe to our Compass Newsletter to get benefit updates and news articles that are relevant to you!

Thank you, first responders! We hope Benefits.gov can help you and your families find the resources and assistance you need.