Errigo Praises Governor for Firefighter Legislation
Assemblyman Joseph A. Errigo (R,C,I,Ref-Conesus) today praised Gov. Cuomo for signing legislation that would provide health care benefits to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers. Currently, volunteer firefighters are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers' Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty. Effective January 1, 2019, firefighters will also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers.
“Every year thousands of volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line for our safety, and this legislation is a major accomplishment in our recognition of that sacrifice,” said Errigo. “Every year men and women everywhere step up to put themselves in harm’s way so our neighbors and our communities can remain safe. Many areas across the state lack the funds to pay these individuals, and this legislation can help relieve the burden they might have after a cancer diagnosis from volunteering on our behalf. By signing this legislation the governor showed that New York stands up for those who put their lives on the line, and I join our volunteer firefighters and the state as a whole in thanking him for his continued support.”
Under the bill (S1411B - A711B), volunteer firefighters who contract certain cancers will receive access to tax-free disability and death benefits. Specifically, volunteer firefighters diagnosed with lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive system or melanoma cancer will be automatically eligible for health benefits if:
- Upon signing up to volunteer, a physical exam did not show any evidence of the cancers covered by this bill;
- Individuals have at least five years of service fighting fire in the interior of buildings; and
- The firefighter is currently active or within 5 years of his or her last active date.