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Volunteer firefighters in New York to receive health benefits

Staff Writer |
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation to deliver health care benefits to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers.

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"New York is forever grateful to the 96,000 volunteer firefighters who selflessly put their own personal safety at risk in order to keep their neighbors and communities safe," Governor Cuomo said.

"With this measure, we will provide these courageous New Yorkers the protections they need and the peace of mind they deserve."

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.

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 systems, or melanoma cancer will be automatically eligible for health benefits if:

- Upon entry 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.

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