Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation to deliver health care benefits to volunteer firefighters across New York State who have been diagnosed with certain cancers. Right now, volunteer firefighters are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers’ Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty.

Starting January 1, 2019, firefighters will also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers.Under the bill, volunteer firefighters who get certain cancers will receive access to tax free disability and death benefits.

Volunteer firefighters diagnosed with lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive systems, or melanoma cancer will be automatically eligible for health benefits if:

 When joining a fire company, a physical exam did not show any evidence of the cancers covered by this bill.
 Individuals have at least five years of service fighting fire in the interior of buildings.
 The firefighter is currently active or within 5 years of his or her last active date.