A bill was vetoed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal last year that would have allowed firefighters battling cancer to collect workers’ compensation if they were able to provide enough evidence that their job caused the illness. The legislature is working on drafting a new bill following the veto to help the firefighters.
The statement issued by Governor Deal when vetoing the bill said, “While the authors’ intent of this bill is respected, I am concerned that codifying an exception for one occupation at this relatively low standard of proof with no time limitation on diagnosis or restriction on eligible types of cancer is a broad solution for a problem not yet abundantly demonstrated in Georgia.”
One of the firefighters fighting for the bill said that firefighters are 65 percent more likely to get cancer than other occupations or the public. The firefighter was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 12 years ago and was the inspiration for the original bill. The firefighter noted that his cancer is one of the most common among firefighters and that he doesn’t know when he got it or how.
When he was diagnosed he had been on the job for just six years. He continued to work active duty while receiving treatment for 18 months. He missed just two shifts. He also helped to draft the bill, which would pay firefighters diagnosed with cancer a sum of $25,000 if they have been on the job for 12 months. The money would be used to cover medical costs.
The bill also called for long-term disability pay of up to 60 percent of their salary or a lesser payment equal to $5,000 per month for for no more than three years. Any volunteer firefighters diagnosed with cancer would receive $1,500 per month for no more than 42 months.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, can answer all of your questions regarding industrial workers’ accidents and explain the laws to you.
Source: WSB Radio, “New bill to help Georgia firefighters with cancer,” Sandra Parrish, Jan. 29, 2017