New York’s congress stepped up to the plate passing legislation granting cancer coverage to the state’s more than 110,000 volunteer firefighters.
Syracuse.com reports the bill is now on its way to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signature, and the state firemen’s association is urging him to sign it “without delay.”
The bill, once signed, would give $25,000 to volunteer firefighters who contract types of cancer including melanoma, digestive, hematological, lymphatic, urinary, prostate, neurological, breast and reproductive, according to Syracuse.com.
If a firefighter can’t work due to a covered illness, the bill grants firefighters 36 months of disability benefits at $1500 per month.
And if a firefighter dies, the bill provides a $50,000 benefit to the firefighter’s family.
As it sits now, reports Syracuse.com, volunteer firefighters are not afforded disability or health protections except through the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law, which provides a maximum of $600 a month in disability benefits, according to the bill’s introductory memo.
Local fire departments, districts or municipalities will pay for the expanded benefits, according to the legislators Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) and Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) who sponsored the bill.
Firefighters are eligible for the healthcare coverage if they have served at least five years and entered the volunteer service after passing a physical that detected no signs of cancer, according to Syracuse.com.
“Firefighters often respond to interior fires where cancer-causing substances are burning. While fire-prevention techniques have improved, firefighting is still dangerous,” Brindisi said in a news release. “It is only right that we provide the volunteers who are there to save our homes and our families with the health care coverage they deserve.”
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