NY Governor Signs COVID-19 Death Benefit Bill for Municipal Employees

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a new measure providing death benefits to the families of frontline workers who lost their lives fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. The bill, S.8427/A.10528, establishes a COVID-19 death benefit for the families of state and local government employees who have been on the front lines of response to this public health emergency.

The Death Benefit will apply when the municipal worker:

  • Reported to their usual place of employment on or after March 1, 2020 OR to an alternate place of employment as directed by their employer; AND
    1. Exclusion = The alternate place of employment cannot be the person’s home or place of residence
  • Contracted COVID-19 within 45 days of last working
    1. Contraction can be Diagnosed 2 ways:
      1. Positive Laboratory Testing; OR
      2. Diagnosis by a licensed Doctor, Physician’s Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner
  • Died on or before December 31, 2020, AND
  • COVID-19 “Caused or Contributed to such Death”
    1. This can be proven 2 ways:
      1. COVID-19 Listed on Death Certificate as Cause of Death; OR
      2. A licensed Doctor, Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner states that, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, COVID-19 caused or contributed to such member’s death.

This bill is not a rebuttable presumption bill. Meaning, once the statutory requirements listed above are met, the law specifically states that the “statutory beneficiary SHALL receive an Accidental Death Benefit.” This means that families who’s loved ones met the above requirements will receive benefits for their sacrifices. In addition, this bill does not create a new Accidental Death Benefit. The previous Accidental Death Benefit still applies to the state or local government employee according to their position and tier, and they are still entitled to receive that.

Governor Cuomo commented on the bill, stating “It is the least we can do to say thank you, and we honor you, and we remember you. We will be there to support your families going forward. And we say to their families, we thank you, we grieve for your loss, and we will always be there for you the way your loved one was there for us.”

If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact our office at 866-557-7500