Firefighters to Assemblymember Gunther: THANK YOU ...
Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY)
New York State Association of Fire Chiefs
Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Firefighters to Assemblymember Gunther: THANK YOU
-The fire service rally to celebrate new cancer coverage after extended legislative campaign–
(October 31, 2017 – Sullivan County, NY)
Members and leaders of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY), the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York assembled at the Summitville Fire Department in Sullivan County to celebrate the signing of S. 1411B
/ A. 0711B
into law. Furthermore, they saluted Assemblymember Aileen Gunther for shepherding this critical legislation through an extended legislative campaign. The newly-signed law provides presumptive "gap" coverage for volunteer firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer, and it unanimously passed both chambers of the State Legislature earlier this session. It will take effect on January 1, 2019.
Firefighters have a higher incidence of getting certain cancers than the general public. The cost of treating cancer can be extremely high, as it includes co-pays, travel expenses to reach treatment centers and lost wages from not being able to work. Because of this, it is necessary to afford firefighters additional benefits in the event of a cancer diagnosis. This is a benefit that paid firefighters have had for some time, and thanks to the concerted efforts of Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, her colleagues in Albany, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, volunteers will soon be similarly protected.
The fire service worked closely with Assemblymember Gunther and the rest of Albany to craft legislation that minimized the cost of this coverage for counties, towns, villages, and fire districts, while still providing the help that New York's volunteers need. The cost of this coverage for volunteer firefighters is minimal compared to the $3 billion they save NYS taxpayers each year.
The provisions of the bill include:
- A lump sum of $25,000 for any qualifying volunteer firefighter that contracts melanoma, as well as cancers of the digestive, hematological, lymphatic, urinary, prostate, neurological, breast, and reproductive systems.
- Thirty-six months of disability benefits (at $1,500 per month) in the event the volunteer firefighter is unable to work due to their illness.
- A $50,000 death benefit for a volunteer firefighter's family in the event should they succumb to cancer.
Firemen's Association of the State of New York President Ken Pienkowski: "Assemblymember Gunther is a true friend of the volunteer fire service. She has long been one of our strongest supporters and most valuable allies, and we are most grateful for the work she has done on our behalf. Thanks to her, presumptive cancer coverage is now a reality, and we are eager to work with her future bills and issues."
New York State Association of Fire Chiefs President John Sroka: "All firefighters, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteer, deserve additional benefits in the event of cancer. Thanks to Assemblymember Gunther, this is now a reality. Without her, Governor Cuomo, and their Albany colleagues, countless volunteer firefighters would have to face cancer alone. Because of these officials, the next generation of volunteers will have assistance in their times of need."
Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York President Thomas Rinaldi: "This legislation was carefully negotiated between the fire service and Albany to minimize the cost to local municipalities, including fire districts, counties, towns, and villages. Assemblymember Gunther was instrumental in this process, providing valuable guidance and counsel, as well as advocating for the bill in Albany. This would not have been possible without her tenacity."
Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, D,I,WF-Forestburgh: "It is a true honor to work with the fire service, and it has been my privilege to see this bill become a reality. Every firefighter risks his or her life in service to the community, and we owe them our support in their darkest hours.