New Jersey: Bill would provide permanent benefits for police, firefighter spouses
The legislation, S. 668, was sponsored by Sens. Fred H. Madden, D-Gloucester and Camden, and Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem.
"When a public safety official gives his or her life in the line of duty, their loved ones are left behind to pick up the pieces," Madden said. "In situations like this, the families also become victims because they are left with the unexpected responsibility of having to make ends meet. The benefits that would be afforded through this bill would allow spouses to move on financially. We owe this to them."
Specifically, the legislation would amend the current law to allow spouses of police officers and firefighters who choose to remarry to continue to receive the weekly workers' comp benefits. Under current law, spouses who remarry receive a lump-sum payment of roughly the amount of what they would receive in benefits over two years.
"The goal of this bill is to allow the spouses of police officers and firefighters who have paid the ultimate price protecting our safety to continue to receive the benefits to which they are entitled," Sweeney said. "I certainly don't think it's too much to ask, and we owe these benefits to these families."
This measure now heads to the Assembly for approval.
State comp rates to see decrease in coming year. The New Jersey Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau also recently announced that employers will see a slight decline in workers' comp premiums in the coming year. According to the bureau, workers' comp premiums will fall an average of 1 percent beginning Jan. 1, which officials believe will save employers approximately $33 million. The decrease comes after seven straight years of premium increases.
January 15, 2009
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