Establishes the payment of certain volunteer firefighter death benefits shall be within ninety days of the filing of application to receive such death benefit by the person or persons entitled to such benefit.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the volunteer firefighters' benefit law, in relation to the payment of death benefits
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL: To establish the payment of certain volunteer firefighter death benefits to be paid within ninety days of the filing of application to receive such death benefits.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill establishes the payment of certain volunteer firefighter death benefits shall be within ninety days of the filing of application to receive such death benefit.
Subsection 2 of the bill requires the compensation board to conduct outreach and support services to persons entitled to the death benefit payable under Section 7 of the VFBL.
JUSTIFICATION: Section 7 of the VFBL provides a death benefit of $50,000 for volunteer firefighters who die in the line of duty. Over the years, there have been a number of instances in which payment of the VFBL death benefits were delayed. These delays only cause significant hardship (financial and otherwise) for the beneficiary of the volunteer firefighter. It has been documented that in certain cases beneficiaries have waited over 6 months to receive payment of benefit. In at least one instance, a widow had to wait two and a half years before being compensated and almost lost her house as a result. This legislation will assist surviving spouses and beneficiaries through the claims process and mandate that payment of benefits be made available within 90 days upon the filing of application.
This measure will also encourage communication and coordination among the workers' compensation board, volunteer fire service organizations, volunteer firefighters and their families. While it is clear that some period of time is required in order to determine whether a death or injury occurred in the line of duty, excessive delays in payment only create significant frustration and anguish to the family of the volunteer firefighter. By including these minor additional parameters to the VFBL, this legislation will encourage communication among the interested parties and will ensure timely payment of allowable benefits.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.7196/A.0123 (Cahill) 2009-10: A.0963 (Cahill) 2007-08: A.7854 (Cahill) 2005-06: S.602 (Bonacic)/A.7247 (Cahill) 2003-04: S.6539 (Bonacic)/A.0852( Cahill)
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 683 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government AN ACT to amend the volunteer firefighters' benefit law, in relation to the payment of death benefits THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The volunteer firefighters' benefit law is amended by adding a new section 7-b to read as follows: S 7-B. PAYMENT OF DEATH BENEFITS. 1. ALL DEATH BENEFITS PAYABLE UNDER SECTION SEVEN OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE PAID TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS ENTITLED TO SUCH BENEFIT WITHIN NINETY DAYS OF THE DATE SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS FILES AN APPLICATION WITH THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD TO RECEIVE SUCH BENEFIT. 2. THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD SHALL CONDUCT OUTREACH SERVICES TO PROVIDE COORDINATED INFORMATION TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS ENTITLED TO A DEATH BENEFIT PAYABLE UNDER SECTION SEVEN OF THIS ARTICLE REGARDING ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO HELP SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS WITH THE DEATH BENE- FIT PROGRAM'S APPLICATION PROCEDURES. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03408-01-3