New York state legislators are sponsoring a proposed bill aiming to grant lifetime pensions to the children of single-parent officers killed in the line of duty. The move comes following the tragic 2017 death of Miosotis Familia, an NYPD officer and single mother, in the Bronx.
The bill attempts to close a legal gap that denies lifetime benefits to children of single-parent officers following several previously unsuccessful efforts.
Democratic Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, one of the bill’s sponsors, noted the current pension regulations do not account for such circumstances. Currently, children of single-parent officers killed on duty are not granted lifetime pensions, a benefit extended to spouses and parents of NYPD officers. Dinowitz argues this is inequitable as the pensions for Familia’s children will end when the youngest twins reach 21.
When discussing the bill, Dinowitz said, “It’s a no-brainer. Why anyone would be against this bill is beyond me.”
The proposed legislation would qualify Familia’s eldest child, Genesis Villella, for specific spousal accidental death benefits to be distributed equally among the three siblings. Villella has cared for her younger siblings, Peter and Delilah, since their mother was shot and killed while on duty in an execution-style shooting in 2017.
Dinowitz said, “Her three children should not be allowed to suffer. We have to stand up and do what’s right for the children of this police officer.”
Previous attempts to aid the family have failed. Three weeks after Familia’s death, Queens State Senator Jose Peralta proposed a bill to pay the children up to $1,000 a month for ten years, but Peralta died before the bill could progress.
A separate bill, introduced last year by Brooklyn Assemblyman Peter Abbate, aimed to secure benefits for Familia’s youngest children but was not voted on as it was introduced too late in the session.
The current bill, co-sponsored by Dinowitz and State Senator Gustavo Rivera, aims to rectify these issues. Rivera expressed concern that New York does not extend the same benefits to children of killed officers as it does to spouses.
Rivera said, “New York State does not recognize orphaned children of slain police officers in the same way it does spouses. Had Officer Familia been married, her spouse would receive her accidental death benefit for life.”
The proposed legislation would retroactively grant Familia’s children lifelong pensions to the day of her death. Dinowitz stressed the need to support the children of officers who die in the line of duty.