The New York State Assembly approved legislation on Wednesday which would extend deaths benefits for families of municipal workers who are on the frontlines during COVID-19.

The legislation would guarantee that any public employee who contracted COVID-19 during the pandemic will be eligible for their accidental death benefits to be paid out yearly to their beneficiaries. To date, public employees who die of COVID-19 are eligible for ordinary death benefits they would receive if their deaths were not the result of an accident on the job. The legislation ensures that public servants who die of coronavirus throughout the height of this pandemic would receive the more substantial death benefits resulting from an in-service accident.

“Throughout the pandemic, the comfort and safety of our communities has rested on the shoulders of our frontline employees – including government workers, such as health care professionals and the staff of long-term care facilities – who risked their own safety to provide essential goods and services," said Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon. "Many of these brave heroes contracted COVID-19, and too many of them tragically lost their lives as a result, leaving their families both heartbroken and without a source of income," she said.

The amendment will help ensure that these families don’t have to face the additional burden of lost income.

"I’ll continue working to support all essential employees and their families during these difficult times," Buttenschon noted.

The bill, if it passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, will extend the eligibility period for this death benefit to December 31st of 2022.

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