It’s one thing to say that first responders are heroes and we should appreciate them. It’s another thing to actually do something about it. In Illinois we show appreciation for firemen, EMT’s, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, etc.
This is done through the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act. In a nutshell, if any of these workers is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, their family doesn’t have to worry about health care. Children are automatically covered until age 25. Spouses are covered for life or until they re-marry.
That’s a big benefit, but that’s not all. If any of these workers are killed in the line of duty, their children get free tuition at State universities. Places like University of Illinois are quite expensive and this Act helps relieve a huge financial burden for these families.
I’m writing about this because we have helped a lot of first responders with work related injuries over the year and in some cases have helped families who had loved ones killed in the line of duty. I’ve been really surprised how few workers are actually aware of this law. It’s on their local employers to make them aware of it and for whatever reason it doesn’t seem to happen.
In the big picture, if you are one of these workers who has been injured on the job, before you hire a work comp attorney, you should ask them about the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act. If they don’t know what it is, it’s a sign that they don’t work with a lot of people in your field and aren’t likely the best choice to handle your case.
There are other special rules for first responders such as for fire fighters who have heart attacks. Workers need to count on their lawyers to know these rules and protect their interests.
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