Cuomo signs bill to give health benefits to NY volunteer firefighters

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday signed legislation that provides health benefits to volunteer firefighters diagnosed with certain cancers.

At the moment, firefighters can only get disability and death benefits through workers’ compensation. Under the law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, volunteer firefighters can also receive benefits if they contract life-threatening cancers after becoming firefighters.

The specific cancers are listed in the law as lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive or melanoma. Eligible firefighters can receive up to $25,000 to treat their cancers.

There are more than 110,000 volunteer firefighters who serve across the state, according to the bill’s sponsors.

Volunteer firefighters can only receive the benefits if they’ve served at least five years fighting fires in the interiors of buildings, did not have evidence of cancers before becoming volunteers, and are currently active or left their service within five years.

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