Families of some Arizona officers who died in the line of duty are waiting more than a year for a large federal benefit payout from a program often criticized for being mired in red tape, and others might not qualify at all, reports USA Today.
While Arizona probably isn't the most notorious example of how delays are infuriating the families of police and firefighters who died with valor, the well-known names of some fallen officers are listed as "pending'' on a list of claims filed with the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program, operated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The status of claims filed by the families of nearly 1,500 officers dating back to 2009 was obtained by the USA Today Media Network. The USA Today investigation found 750 families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty are still waiting for answers about their claims.
The investigation found the average claim takes 391 days to process and 42 percent take more than a year, the goal set by the program for reviewing the cases. Some delays date back to 2007 on complicated cases.
The families of some fallen officers may not qualify for the $340,000 benefit because they were killed while on their way to or from work.