Features, Finance, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

Benefits Awarded to Families of Public Employees that Died of COVID-19

June 2, 2020

By Stephanie West

The New York State Legislature has passed a bill that would provide additional benefits for the families of a public employees who died of COVID-19.  The legislation, S.8427/A10528, would guarantee a benefits package to the family of any public employee who contracted this virus during the pandemic.

“It is fitting that we planned to pass this legislation just after Memorial Day, as we honored those who have given their lives for their country. Those essential workers we lost to covid-19 gave their lives in a different kind of war – a war against a vicious virus. These families have suffered a horrific loss and should not have to wait in limbo to get the benefits they are owed,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes.

New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Chair of the Senate’s Civil Service Committee, and Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Chair of the Assembly’s Governmental Employees Committee, sponsored this important legislation. With dedicated public servants dying while providing important services to New Yorkers, it was obvious that legislation was needed to ensure additional death benefits afforded to their families.

“Since the first tragic death of a Detective due to the Coronavirus, the DEA has been fighting tirelessly to ensure these heroes and their families receive the line-of-duty death benefits they deserve,” said Detectives Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo. “As we have said from the start of this pandemic there is no difference between responding to Ground Zero, being shot while on duty, or being taken down by the invisible bullet of COVID-19. The Governor and Mayor have heard the DEA’s constant calls to fulfill their obligation to take care of our brave Detectives and other frontline workers, and we appreciate their public support for providing the death benefits these men and women have all certainly earned. Forever alongside the families of our fallen, the DEA now looks forward to seeing this legislation being passed in Albany,” said Paul DiGiacomo, President of the Detectives Endowment Association, Inc.

In spite of the dangers of this pandemic, many municipal workers continued to provide critical services to New Yorkers.  Their commitment to the communities that they serve led to many being exposed to COVID-19, with some members tragically passing away. While nothing can ever take away the pain caused by the loss of a loved one, this legislation will help their family with needed expenses.

“In the face of the most devastating health crisis in a century our courageous city work force, at great personal risk, stepped up to meet the challenge. Too many became sick. Too many others lost their lives. They never faltered. They did their job. Even as we mourn our losses, we are grateful and fully support the State legislation to authorize line-of-duty death benefits for the families of City employees who die from Covid-19. It is the right thing to do. We thank Senator Andrew Gounardes , Assemblyman Peter Abbate and others behind this bill. We appreciate the support of Mayor de Blasio, and urge the legislature to act and for Gov. Cuomo to sign it in to law,” said Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, Local 831 I.B.T. and the Chair of the NYC Municipal Labor Committee.

June 2, 2020

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