State volunteer firefighter health benefits approved

Health care benefits for volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers will now be available effective on January 1, 2019. Governor Cuomo signed legislature sponsored in the Assembly by Aileen Gunther (D, Forestburg).

Currently, volunteer firefighters are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers’ Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty. Under the new measure, firefighters will also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers, said Gunther.

“During active duty if there is an exposure to some type of toxicity and there is an incident report while they are on duty, and if there is a cancer that arises later on, then they will be able to get some cancer coverage,” Gunther said.

Senator Joseph Griffo (R, Rome) said, “These courageous New Yorkers will now receive the health benefits they deserve and they opportunity to lead a quality life in the community, they have worked so hard to help protect.”

Kenneth Pienkowski, president of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York said as a result of this legislation, “the future generation of volunteer firefighters will not have to face cancer alone.”