Honoring Atlanta’s Unsung Heroes | Gold Shield Atlanta

firefighter black and whiteEvery year, hundreds of firefighters and law enforcers die while on duty.  The spouses and dependent children of these firefighters and law enforcers are soon left alone, most of them having to deal with financial support issues. Hence, the Gold Shield Atlanta was founded for the purpose of financially assisting the immediate family of those who died or debilitated in the line of duty so they can get back to living their lives as normally as they can.

Aside from early financial support for the victim’s spouse and children, Gold Shield Atlanta also provides them with personal and emotional assistance. By doing this, the foundation does not only help the family get their lives together, but also serves as a channel to respond to their grieving and other emotional issues. The foundation also educates the community about the needs of these families, so that help in any way may be more accessible.

Mission

The Gold Shield Atlanta aims to equip the widowed families of those who died in the line of duty to get back on their feet and start fresh after a devastating tragedy. The foundation acts as an instrument for these families to receive help not only from our members but also from other individuals, organizations, and corporations who donate and set up fundraising and charitable events, as well as aid from the local community. At Gold Shield Atlanta, they also grant assistance with the surviving children’s education, or career and business training for the widow.

Death Benefits

In 1976, the Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB) Act was passed as a law, offering $50,000 death benefit to safety officers who died while on duty. Starting from October 1988, the benefit was increased annually to reflect the inflation rate. As of October 1, 2016, the PSOB amounts to $343,589.

The table below shows the beneficiary hierarchy of the PSOB Act:

 

Surviving Spouse Surviving Children Benefit
Yes No 100% to spouse
Yes Yes 50% to spouse, 50% equal shares to eligible children
No Yes 100% equal shares to eligible children
No No If PSO is insured, to the individual the PSO designated the most recent life insurance policy
No No If PSO is not insured, equal shares to surviving parents

 

The PSOB Act is definitely a huge aid to the surviving families, but these loved ones usually would have to wait a year, sometimes three or so, before they can claim the death benefit amounting to more than $340,000. The agency’s goal is to provide the benefit to the victim’s family in a span of one year from the date of claim, but in the past 900 cases, it has taken them an average of 391 days before each claim is closed. Almost a hundred of these cases took more than 2 years, and about 25 of them waited for more than 3 years.

Because of the relatively lengthy duration of the benefits claim by the surviving families, Gold Shield Atlanta aims to provide them with early financial assistance while the federal benefit is not available yet. Through donations and fundraising events, they are able to offer these families financial aid that can help with monetary issues following such a tragedy. They believe that the offered assistance, although minimal, can be of great remedy to the immediate effects of losing a family member.

They Are Here to Help

They are a non-profit organization whose main purpose is to provide assistance to surviving families of firefighters and law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. The members are committed to help and gather more help and assistance through their contributions, private individuals, or corporations. They believe that offering financial and emotional assistance to these families will be of considerable significance in their lives.

 

Visit their official website for more information at goldshieldfoundation.org