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Bill to boost aid to dependents of workers killed by COVID-19

virus worker

A New Jersey lawmaker introduced a bill Monday to provide supplemental workers compensation benefits to the dependents of essential employees who dies from COVID-19 in the course of employment.

A.B. 3998, sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, would revise state workers compensation statutes to provide additional weekly supplemental benefits from the state’s Second Injury Fund for dependents of essential employees who died as a result of contracting coronavirus on the job after March 1, 2020.

Essential employees include fire, police and other first responders; medical and other health care service providers; public-facing workers providing transportation or financial services; those involved in the production, preparation, storage, sale and distribution of essential goods; and other employees deemed essential in the state of emergency.

The supplemental benefits are intended to mirror cost-of-living-adjustment benefits in place for dependents of public safety workers killed in the line of duty. The additional benefits would be paid during the period in which the dependents receive the initially awarded weekly benefits and would be reduced accordingly for dependents receiving Federal Old-Age, Survivors’ and Disability Insurance Act benefits.

The workers compensation insurers or self-insured employer paying benefits would be responsible for notifying the Division of Workers Compensation of the need to have the Second Injury Fund make supplemental benefit payments to the dependents.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.