Gov. Cuomo has signed a bill co-sponsored by Senator Pam Helming that provides enhanced disability benefits to volunteer firefighters who contract certain forms of cancer.
Under current benefit law, a fully disabled firefighter is limited to $600 a month in disability benefits. Under the terms of the new law, monthly disability payments would jump to $1500, and the family would be eligible for a $50,000 accidental death benefit payment.
A firefighter would be eligible for a lump sum payment of $25,000 for cancers deemed medically serious, and up to $50,000 if there is more than one diagnosis over the firefighter’s lifetime.
Sen. Helming says while paid firefighters already receive similar disability benefits, volunteer firefighters who contract cancer and their families end up with significant out-of-pocket expenses for cancer treatment. “The fact is these courageous volunteers save the state billions of dollars through their service to local towns and villages, and it is about time that they are compensated for a risk they selflessly assume to protect our communities.”