Death Benefits Not Reaching Police And Firefighter Families Fast Enough

Michael Childress' widow thought she'd have nearly 300-thousand dollars in death benefits by now.

But a federal program that pays benefits to survivors of fallen firefighters and police officers has yet to provide the money.

Michael Childress, a firefighter, suffered a heart attack in May 2005 while sitting in a chair at a fire station in Level Cross in Randolph County.

Critics say the U-S Justice Department program is stonewalling by requiring a lot of paperwork and medical records.

Teresa Childress is among more than 200 U-S survivors of firefighters or police officers who died on the job still waiting for federal death benefits, which were signed into law more than three years ago.

Nationwide, only two families have been approved while 40 have
been denied.

The Justice Department says the program pledges to have answers within 90 days of receiving "all necessary information."