During his daily press conference on Tuesday, May 19, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will support line-of-duty benefits for survivors of city employees who died from COVID-19
He added that the city will work with the State Legislature to pass legislation to establish a presumption that COVID-19 deaths occurred in the line of duty, which would grant death benefits and health insurance to surviving family members.
He discussed the importance of EMS members throughout the pandemic.
“We’ve also lost public health care workers. We’ve lost people who work in city agencies and served us,” he said. “People who weren’t famous, but people who are there for their fellow New Yorkers. We’ve lost a lot of public servants to this horrible disease that came out of nowhere and has afflicted us so deeply.”
More than 270 New York City employees have died from the coronavirus .
A few days ago, de Blasio granted a 45-day extension of health insurance to surviving family members of city workers who die of COVID-19.
“We’ve been fighting to get more and more benefits for the families who have lost loved ones in the federal stimulus legislation,” said de Blasio, adding that there is very good activity in Washington. “I want to be clear, in the stimulus passed by the House, in a separate bill passed by the Senate sponsored by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, very good steps are being taken to help first responders, to help people who have been heroes in this crisis, and the families of those we’ve lost, but we need to go farther. We waited to see what was going to happen in Washington and what we’ve seen is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough, so we need to go farther.”
He later added, “I’ve come to the conclusion that the right thing to do is to help the families who have lost their loved ones, to give them line-of-duty benefits. This horrible crisis came out of nowhere, grabbed this city, and these valiant city employees kept fighting no matter what. The City of New York believes, I believe, they deserve, their families deserve line-of-duty benefits for any death that was connected to COVID-19. So, to get that done, I’m calling upon the State of New York to act and I am officially asking the State of New York to authorize line-of-duty benefits for those public employees that we’ve lost. We’ll work with all of our partners in Albany to get this done. We’ll work with the City Council. We need to take this weight off the shoulders of the families of these valiant New Yorkers. They need to know their futures will be secure. “
Local elected officials praised the mayor’s efforts.
“I am glad to have the mayor’s and city’s support on state legislation we are working on to ensure family members of those who lost their lives battling coronavirus receive the line-of-duty benefits,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “The only way to properly honor the memories of our fallen heroes is to ensure their family members are cared for, and I look forward to getting this vital work done alongside state and city partners.”
“Survivors of all city workers whose deaths are caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are critically important,” said Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. “Our workers are on the front lines every day, keeping the city functioning. The families of these heroes deserve our support.”
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis also applauded the mayor’s efforts.
“While other New Yorkers were being told to stay home, these employees showed up and did their job and served their city,” she said. “They deserve line-of-duty benefits in support of the families they’ve left behind. Thank you Mayor de Blasio for listening to our concerns and working with us to make this happen.”
“I am happy to see that the mayor is supportive of NYC public employees receiving death benefits for the families of those who passed of COVID-19,” said Assemblymember Peter Abbate, Jr. “We will work collaboratively to pass legislation as quickly as possible. As always, the protection of our city and state employees, and their families, is my utmost priority, especially during this difficult time.”