YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A bill is headed to Gov. Christie’s desk that would provide lifetime workers’ compensation benefits to surviving spouses of fire and police personnel who die in the line of duty, following approval by both houses of the state Legislature.
“These firefighters and police personnel have families they have to provide for. In some cases, they may be the main breadwinners,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle of Bergen Count. “Making sure their families are provided for is the least we can do.”
Under the bill, the benefits continue even if the surviving spouse remarries. Surviving spouses currently receive a lump sum upon any remarriage that occurs during the first 450 weeks of benefits.
The bill, if signed into law by the governor, won’t be retroactive: Any spouse who’s already taken a payout or remarried won’t be covered by it.
Five of the 76 Assembly members who voted on the measure opposed it.
“Few other professions involve the daily risks faced by firefighters and police personnel. This is a burden not just on them, but their families,” added Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell of Hudson County. “They should have the comfort of knowing that if their lives are ever claimed by the job, their families will be taken care of.”
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