ROCKFORD, Ill. – State Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford, is teaming up with Comptroller Susana Mendoza on a proposal that will guarantee full funding for survivor benefits for fallen first responders – ending the possibility of a family having to wait for support because funds were exhausted during the state budget’s fiscal year.

“We count on our first responders to be there for us in our greatest time of need, and when we lose one in service, we have to step up as a state and support their family in their most difficult time,” Vella said. “Under our current law, we have seen families be forced to wait for financial support from the state because money ran out. It’s inexcusable that this situation can even occur, which is why we’re taking action today to make funding for this critical support a continuing appropriation.”

Introduced Thursday, Vella’s House Bill 5785, known as the “Gold Star and Fallen Heroes Family Support Act,” creates a continuing appropriation for line of duty awards when the appropriation is insufficient to cover all claims in a fiscal year. The current Line of Duty Compensation Act provides a death benefit for claims filed within a year of death of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic, armed forces member and other state employees killed in the line of duty. The act also provides a burial benefit for law enforcement and firefighters killed in service.

The benefit amount of $375,475 is provided to the surviving spouse or next of kin, and increases by the Consumer Price Index each year. Under existing practice, if allocated funds for the benefit run out due to greater than anticipated need, the General Assembly is required to pass a supplemental appropriation. This situation occurred this past year, which resulted in a delay of support for a family of a fallen law enforcement officer. Under Vella’s proposal, this kind of delay would never happen again.

“We shouldn’t have bureaucratic hurdles that delay and prevent families from accessing the support they are owed,” Vella said. “I appreciate Comptroller Mendoza and her staff’s assistance on this effort, and look forward to engaging with my colleagues to get it passed.”

For more information, please contact

Rep. David A. VellaRep. David A. Vella

(D-Loves Park)
68th District

Springfield Office:
242A-W Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-0455

District Office:
4007 N Mulford Rd
Loves Park, IL 61111
(815) 329-6741