Friday, April 27, 2012

What is a LODD?

LODD is short for Line-of-Duty Death.

When a law enforcement officer or firefighter or person in another specified category of employment dies in the line-of-duty, the State of Illinois pays a death benefit that is defined in the statutes.

Before 1974, the death benefit was $10,000. Then it began increasing - to $20,000 to $50,000 to $100,000 to $118,000 to $259,038 (July 1, 2002-January 1, 2003). And then on upward based on Consumer Price Index increases.

How much is it in 2012?

More than three hundred twenty-nine thousand dollars! $329,130.36, to be exact.

When you think of a fallen firefighter (let's say, in a building on fire when the roof collapses) or a police officer who gives his life fighting crime, maybe a State payment of $329,130 is in order. The legislature has made it so.

This is probably in addition to workers' compensation survivor benefits and certainly would be in addition to any personal or group life insurance that was in force.

From the statute (820 ILCS 315/...), "Killed in the line of duty" means losing one's life as a result of injury received in the active performance of duties as a law enforcement officer, civil defense worker, civil air patrol member, paramedic, fireman, or chaplain if the death occurs within one year from the date the injury was received and if that injury arose from violence or other accidental cause. 

The statute continues ...
(3) the injury is received by the officer while the
officer is travelling to or from his employment as a law enforcement officer or during any meal break, or other break, which takes place during the period in which the officer is on duty as a law enforcement officer.

The Illinois Court of Claims doesn't limit the payment just to law enforcement officers, even though that's what the legislature said in regard to commuting or travel. So the statute pays for a officer (firefighter, etc.) while he is commuting to and from work (before and after his actual work hours) and also covers him if he heads out for lunch or coffee during his work day.

What other employee in the State of Illinois gets these rich benefits? I'm all for providing the benefit for that cop or firefighter who dies in the actual performance of his duties. But I strongly object to such a large payment for a death that is not directly related to the actual performance of his duties.

How much did the State of Illinois pay out in Fiscal 2011 (ending 6/30/11)? Between $11,-13,000,000, according to the Illinois Court of Claims. This included military and non-military claims.

The legislators need to do some work on this statute and make it more specific to actual "line-of-duty" deaths and eliminate commuting and break-time trips for lunch or coffee. Traveling under non-emergency conditions and to training or administrative meetings should not be covered under LODD.


yagottabekidding said...


firecop said...

Time for some education. Line of Duty is defined as being assigned an activity by the Chief of the Department or their designee. So whether on the street, in training, or administration duties you are performing in line of duty. Thus you are covered

The PSOB benefit is a FEDERAL program, reviewed by Judicial Benefit Administrator and administered by state, here by Court of Claims

The amount awarded to a spouse of a deputy making top pay, is equivalent to approximately 4 1/2 years of salary. You would begrudge a spouse and child(ren) that, for paying the ultimate sacrifice? ? I can only speculate that you don't believe Capt Winklemen's family doesn't deserve their award because he was riding his personal vehicle and was struck while returning from an administrative meeting, ON DUTY.

yagottabekidding said...

My comment was posted BEFORE your full explanation and was meant to register disbelief that you didn"t know what it was... Open question with no details and you are always asking your readers to help educate you...not as a comment to LODD itself.

Gus said...

woodstockabdicate, thanks for explaining your first comment. I had unintentionally hit "Publish" before writing the body of the article. That's why it first appeared with only the headline.

Gus said...

firecop, I don't have too big of a problem with paying $359,000 for a LODD that involves the hazardous duties of the occupation. But maybe there shouldn't be such a Federal benefit, state-applied, at all. Perhaps each department should provide its own LODD benefit, and an employee could decide whether to work there or not.

There is no "ultimate sacrifice" about dying in a vehicle accident during duty hours, returning from an admin meeting.

Departments should require employees to travel to business meetings in Department vehicles.