New Federal Bill Could Help Protect Firefighters Injured In Duty - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

New Federal Bill Could Help Protect Firefighters Injured In Duty

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WASHINGTON - Legislators have reportedly introduced a bill that would ensure firefighters who were harmed in the line of duty or contracted certain diseases are covered by federal worker's compensation.

According to reports, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus introduced the "Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2014." The senate bill reportedly addresses the difficulties federal firefighters face when they attempt to prove that injuries were a result from serving in the line of duty.

Reports say under current law, the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) provides federal employees injured in the performance of duty with workers' compensation benefits.  This bill would reportedly amend FECA so that if a federal firefighter dies or becomes disabled from a specified list of diseases, the disease will be presumed to have been caused by the employment, and the death or disability will be presumed compensable. Officials say the bill is intended to address the difficultly that firefighters who suffer from these diseases face in obtaining compensation under current law, which requires proof that the illness resulted from the line of duty. 

The bill is allegedly supported by the International Association of Firefighters.

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