Attorney General Supports Coalition Seeking First Responder Benefits

HYANNIS – Attorney General Maura Healey recently joined a coalition of state attorneys general urging Congress to pass a bill to support first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent to Congress, Healey requested the “Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act,” be passed.

The act would permit the families of first responders, who die or are permanently disabled as a result of COVID-19, to receive the same federal benefits extended to first responders, or their survivors, otherwise killed or injured in the line of duty.

Current federal law only allows survivors to access certain benefits if the deceased or permanently disabled first responder contracted COVID-19 while on duty.

“Our first responders have been risking their lives to keep people safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Healey.

“Congress has a responsibility to make sure that these frontline heroes and their families have access to every federal benefit available.”

The SAFR Act would establish a temporary presumption that officers contracted COVID-19 while on duty if diagnosed within 45 days of a first responder’s last shift.

The legislation ensures families of officers and first responders lost while fighting the pandemic do not face barriers to benefits already promised under existing federal law.

The coalition is led by the attorneys general of Florida and Washington, D.C., and is joined by Healey as well as Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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