NYS Volunteer Firefighter Benefit Program: Podcast
The NYS Volunteer Firefighter Benefit Program is designed to provide volunteer firefighters supplemental benefits following a cancer diagnosis. NYSAC has been working on the program with other statewide municipal associations and fire service associations.
The NYS Volunteer Firefighter Benefit Program is designed to provide volunteer firefighters supplemental benefits following a cancer diagnosis.
Listen to the NYSAC podcast about the program above, or click here.
Read below for a few questions that are answered in the podcast.
NYSAC has been working with other statewide municipal associations and fire service associations (FASNY, AFDSNY, and the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs) to sponsor and/or raise awareness about the program.
The program offers three types of benefit coverage for volunteer firefighters:
- A lump sum benefit that would be paid based on diagnosis,
- A disability benefit that would pay in the event that the firefighter was unable to serve, and
- A life benefit in the event that the firefighter passes away.
“The firefighters themselves will not need to apply directly for this program, it's going to be provided for them by the municipalities, the fire districts or the fire companies,” said Jerry DeLuca, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Fire Chiefs.
Each organization will be receiving information from the fire service organizations, Hartford, PERMA, municipal associations like NYSAC, NYCOM, and the Association of Towns, informing them of how to apply for the benefit, how to apply for the program, and what their costs will be.
How is cost determined?
“What's unique about the program is that it is designed under one specific contract for the entire state. Without a lot of detail, it is truly unique in that of a firefighter in Buffalo – the cost for coverage for that firefighter is identical to the cost of a firefighter in Montauk,” said John Hanson, Senior Consultant at Willis Towers Watson.
There's no rating based on region or on any of the demographic information about the specific firefighter. To be consistent at a state level, the program was designed to have a fixed cost regardless of location.
How did the program come about?
“These important members of our emergency services family made a case to the state legislature –they've been at this for several years,” said Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of NYSAC. “This is not something new, they have tried to convince the state legislature of the need in our community here to have a presumption of cancer.”
In the 2017 legislative session the benefit was passed as a statute.
“It was very important that it was not a part of a workers' compensation benefit, that it was not part of a volunteer fire benefit law, and that it deserved to be an important insurance program to stand on its own,” said Acquario. “And that was the outcome of this legislation, and that's why this will be important to be implemented as we go forward.”
Listen to the NYS Volunteer Firefighter Benefit Program podcast to find out more about this program – including who is eligible, how New York stands apart from other similar programs, and how it will impact volunteer firefighters and their communities throughout the state.
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