Governor Cuomo signs legislation to increase benefits for families of fallen first responders

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Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday signed legislation (S.3168-A/A.4079-B) increasing special accidental death benefits for spouses and children of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Specifically, the new law increases cost of living benefits by 3 percent for the deceased's spouse or the deceased's children under the age of 18 or, if a student, under the age of 23.

This legislation goes into effect immediately.

"Police and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty are mothers, fathers, husbands and wives - and the family members they leave behind must be properly cared for," Governor Cuomo said. "With this measure, we continue to honor these brave first responders and better help ensure their families get the support and the benefits they deserve."

Senator Andrew Gounardes said, "When a police officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty, we must do all we can to support their loved ones left behind. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for signing my bill to provide a cost of living increase in for widows and widowers who would not receive adequate benefits otherwise. This benefit will ensure their families sacrifice is not forgotten."

Assemblymember Latoya Joyner said, "The families of those who have lost their loved ones in the line-of-duty should not be left alone to pick up the pieces. Just as their spouse or parent served with honor and dignity, it is our duty to serve them in their time of grief. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation to increase these death benefits, providing families with financial stability."