HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer will soon have expanded access to care thanks to a new law.
“They are here every day during the most trying of circumstances, keeping us safe,” Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) said. “That’s what Labor Day is all about, and that’s what this bill is all about.”
Lamont joined firefighters and other officials on Wednesday at a Hartford firehouse to celebrate the law, which creates a legal presumption that a firefighter’s cancer is linked to their work.
“No firefighter diagnosed with occupational cancer will have to worry about their job being protected, because it will be,” said Peter Brown with the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association of Connecticut. “They won’t have to worry about medical bills piling up at home, because those will be covered, and they won’t have to worry about accessing a disability retirement if they are no longer able to work.”
The benefits go into effect on Oct. 1.
“I want to thank everyone that participated in getting this bill passed, all the hard work that they’ve done,” Hartford Fire Chief Rodney Basco said. “Certainly, our firefighters are grateful, because they are doing their part.”
Eric George, the president of the Insurance Association of Connecticut, released the following statement Thursday.
“Recent reporting on the newly enacted firefighter cancer relief legislation has been inaccurate. The legislation that was enacted allows firefighters, who have been diagnosed with cancer, to apply for wage replacement benefits through the state-run firefighters cancer relief account. And while this wage replacement claims process will be administered through the CT Workers’ Compensation Commission and benefits will be similar to workers’ compensation benefits, this program is separate, distinct and not a part of the workers’ compensation insurance system.”