Ill. police widows' benefits sidelined by budget impasse

Seven police and firefighter widows have been waiting for at least a year for their share of benefits under the Line of Duty Compensation Act

By PoliceOne Staff

CHICAGO — A group of widows, whose police officer and firefighter husbands died in the line of duty, are still awaiting more than $300,000 apiece for their losses.

Reuters reported that Illinois' 22-month budget stalemate has left the seven windows' unpaid. They have been waiting for at least a year for their share of more than $2.7 million in awards and interest owed under the Line of Duty Compensation Act.

"I think it's unconscionable," Pat Devaney, president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, said. "From my perspective, I'd say this is the result of Governor Rauner's failure to propose and work with the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget that funds important things like this."

The payment of line-of-duty awards passed in the Illinois Senate May 2016, but dissolved in the Illinois House.

"Heaven knows what they're going through," State Rep. Fred Crespo said.

Gov. Rauner's spokeswoman, Eleni Demertzis, said the governor wants to "uphold any promised payments made to the families," but believes the payments should be part of the budget deal, according to the report.

"Unfortunately, they cannot be paid until the General Assembly passes a balanced budget," Demertzis said.

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