Legislation recently introduced in Congress that would establish a new benefits program for essential workers impacted by the coronavirus would also extend to certain federal workers who have been on the job during the pandemic.
The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act (H.R. 2020) 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. Although it is not entirely clear which government workers would qualify as essential, at least one lawmaker sponsoring the legislation said at a recent hearing that postal workers should be included.
“90 percent of the drugs that go to our veterans are handled by letter carriers and postal clerks and mail handlers,” Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass), said, according to Federal Times. “That’s a critical, essential service. It’s not hard to determine who is essential here.”
The Covid-19 benefits fund would be similar in many ways to the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund for responders and survivors. It would offer both economic and noneconomic benefits to an essential worker or the live-in family member of an essential worker who gets the virus. Benefits seekers would not be required to affirmatively prove that they picked up Covid-19 on the job.
At Pitta & Baione, our VCF attorneys combine decades of legal experience to help people who were injured in the September 11th attacks get the full benefits available. We have dedicated our careers to serving the people who were on the frontlines during one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. We are also committed to fighting for the essential workers on the frontlines of the economic and health care crises posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
What Comes Next?
Although the legislation has some bipartisan support, its future remains largely uncertain. The bill was the subject of a June 10 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.
The measure was introduced in May by a group of lawmakers that includes Lynch, as well as 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). Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Wis.) also supports the proposal, but a similar bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate.
In the meantime, there are certain steps that essential workers can start taking to be ready to file a claim if and when a new benefits program is created. That includes gathering various documentation to show that you have been infected and to detail the impact of the virus on your day-to-day life.
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. Our VCF attorneys are also continuing to help new and existing clients around the clock on matters related to September 11th benefits.
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.