The Maryland General Assembly recently passed a bill that expands workers' compensation protection for first responders.
The bill, which will likely be signed by Gov. Larry Hogan, will expand workers compensation coverage for firefighters to include leukemia, prostate cancer, rectal cancer, throat cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, brain cancer, testicular cancer and breast cancer that is presumed to be caused by contact with a toxic substance in the line of duty.
Hogan has pledged to sign the bill, which would take effect Oct. 1, 2019.
Other workers' compensation bills
The bill joins two other similar bills in the nation:
- North Carolina is considering a bill to allow workers' compensation for law enforcement, first responders and emergency management personnel to treat mental or nervous injuries
- Indiana is considering a bill to expand workers' compensation protections to volunteer firefighters and hike the amount allowed for burial expenses to $10,000.
Bill named for Jessie McCullough
In February, Hogan called for the passage of the Maryland bill while speaking of Prince George's County firefighter Jessie McCullough, who died after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017.
He said coverage for firefighters battling cancer is relatively new because the link between firefighting activities and cancer wasn't known years ago.
Union and department chiefs had vowed to get the bill passed.
If you or someone you love is a firefighter who has been diagnosed with cancer, you could receive workers' compensation benefits under this bill. Contact an experienced, qualified attorney to see if you can receive benefits.