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Group: DOJ officer benefits program plagued with delays, dysfunction

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A national law enforcement group that supports disabled and injured officers is blasting the Department of Justice, claiming its public safety officers’ benefits program continues to fall short.

The program is supposed to offer financial aid to first responders injured in the line of duty, to help them stay afloat while out of work.

But Randy Sutton, founder of The Wounded Blue, says the DOJ’s system is plagued with delays and dysfunction, making it hard for officers to collect the money they need.

“There doesn’t seem to be any consistency in how these claims are being processed,” Sutton said.

In 2018, Congress passed a law to fix the program. But missing were guidelines on who exactly qualifies for the benefits.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says currently, the DOJ denies benefits to some officers working part time.

“It’s just wrong that some people get justice and some people don’t get justice,” Grassley said.

And part-time income, according to Sutton, is not a living wage.

“For the government to say, ‘OK, we’re going to give you a benefit, but you have to lay there like a lump on the rug for the rest of your life and not contribute,’ that’s not right,” he said.

Grassley recently sent a letter to the attorney general, urging the DOJ to fix the problems with the program, which he says should have happened years ago.

The DOJ says Grassley’s letter is under review.

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