Hartford, CT – Governor Ned Lamont recently announced that a new state law he signed making it easier for firefighters who develop cancer to receive workers’ compensation benefits will go into effect on October 1, 2023.
Approved as part of the recently enacted state budget bill, this newly approved law creates a presumption during the review process of a workers’ compensation claim that a firefighter’s cancer diagnosis is a result of their hazardous jobs unless proven otherwise. Creating this presumption will make it more difficult for firefighters to have these claims denied. It applies to any uniformed member of a paid municipal, state, or volunteer fire department, as well as local fire marshals, deputy fire marshals, fire investigators, fire inspectors, and other classes of inspectors and investigators.
“Firefighting is an incredibly dangerous occupation, and those who enter this field do so out of a selfless devotion to protecting their communities,” Governor Lamont said. “Every time a firefighter goes into a fire, they are getting exposed to carcinogens and dangerous chemicals at a high rate. This new law will let firefighters and their families know that we support them and we want them to have access to the benefits they need just as they would receive for any other occupational injury or illness.”
To qualify for the compensation and benefits, a firefighter must have been diagnosed with any condition of cancer affecting the brain or the skeletal, digestive, endocrine, respiratory, lymphatic, reproductive, urinary, or hematological systems. They must have had a physical examination after entering the service that failed to reveal any evidence of or a propensity for the cancer, and they must not have used cigarettes during the 15 years before the diagnosis. Additionally, they must have been on the job for at least five years and submitted to annual medical health screenings as recommended by their medical provider.
The legislation enacting this law was approved in the Senate by a vote of 35 to 1 and in the House of Representatives by a vote of 139 to 12.
Source: CT Governor’s Office