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Lifetime benefits expanding for spouses of first responders killed in Texas

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Surviving spouses of first responders killed on the job in Texas will soon be entitled to lifetime death benefits even if they remarry.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday signed H.B. 1094 into law, according to the governor's office.

The bipartisan bill introduced in February states that if a first responder dies in the course and scope of employment or while providing services as a volunteer, a surviving spouse who remarried is eligible for death benefits for life.

The law previously allowed surviving spouses to receive death benefits until they remarried. After remarriage, they would receive a lump sum payment equal to two years of death benefits, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

In 2013, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed S.B. 1469 into law. Like H.B. 1094, it provides surviving spouses of certain fire and police personnel who die in the line of duty with workers comp death benefits for the “entire period of survivorship.”

The change only applies to compensable deaths that occur after the law takes effect on Sept. 1.