Leahy bill gets signed into lawJanuary 04,2013
WASHINGTON — President Obama has signed into law legislation authored by Senator Patrick Leahy that will remedy coverage gaps in the federal program that provides a crucial safety net for the families of first responders who are killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
Leahy first introduced the Dale Long Emergency Medical Service Providers Protection Act in June 2009, naming the bill in honor of the Bennington emergency medical technician who was tragically killed in an ambulance accident.
The measure will extend the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act program to cover private, nonprofit emergency medical services volunteers and personnel. In Vermont alone, Leahy’s bill will qualify an estimated 1,200 EMS personnel for the program.
It also includes provisions to lessen the length of a currently unwieldy appeals process for claimants, clarify the list of eligible survivor beneficiaries and make those who have been catastrophically injured eligible for peer support and counseling programs. The measure removes artificial distinctions under current law to include vascular ruptures in the types of injuries that would make a public safety officer’s survivors eligible for benefits.
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