A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers recently formally introduced legislation that would create a new benefits program for essential workers infected with coronavirus. The bill’s introduction makes public details of a proposal that was first announced in May.
The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act (H.R. 2020) would create a benefits fund that is similar in many ways to existing programs for 9/11 responders and survivors. It would provide certain benefits to essential workers – and family members who reside with an essential worker – who become infected with Covid-19 and suffer economic loss as a result.
The legislation, introduced June 10, would offer benefits for both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses refer to medical bills, missed wages and other employment benefits, while noneconomic losses are commonly those related to pain and suffering.
The compensation fund, like the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, would be overseen by a special master appointed by the Attorney General. The special master would have a wide range of authority to determine the amount of benefits paid. The special master would also be required under the measure to reduce benefits payments by any collateral benefits a person receives for Covid-19-related illness, such as workers’ compensation or Social Security benefits.
How You Can Prepare Your Claim Now
The legislation, whose sponsors in the House include Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Yvette Clark (D-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), still remains uncertain to move forward. Although Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Wis.) has also expressed support for the proposal, a similar bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate.
Still, there is some reason to be hopeful. As experienced VCF attorneys, we are well aware of the herculean efforts on Capitol Hill required to establish compensation and other benefits programs for 9/11 responders and survivors, and then to ensure that the programs were properly funded.
At Pitta & Baione, our VCF attorneys are monitoring the situation closely so that we can help essential workers get the full benefits available if and when they become available. We advise essential workers to start taking basic steps to have their claims ready to go, including by documenting your exposure to the virus, and compiling any medical records confirming an infection or detailing a course of treatment for the disease.
How Our VCF Attorneys Can Help
If you or a loved one is looking for more information on the potential benefits program for essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, we can help. New and existing clients can continue to contact us around the clock.
For more information about eligibility requirements of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program, contact a lawyer at Pitta & Baione LLP at 844-982-2667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.