Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency (WCA) begins administration of First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.
The First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund was created by the Michigan Legislature in 2014. It was designed to help firefighters who develop occupational cancer. Unfortunately, no money was allocated in the 2015 or 2016 state budget. A special one-time infusion of $1,000,000 has now been earmarked and will be available beginning September 22, 2016.
We have been critical of the First Responder Presume Coverage Fund in the past. Why is it fair to give firefighters a cancer presumption but ignore others who are regularly exposed to toxins? Michigan law needs to be amended to make it easier to prove occupational diseases like cancer.
It is also disgraceful that only $1,000,000 has been allocated. Cancer treatments can easily run into the hundreds of thousands each year for just 1 patient. We call on the Michigan Legislature to create a permanent funding solution.
Seeking benefits under the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund also suspends a workers’ compensation case. We believe a firefighter should be able to continue his or her case and the fund should get reimbursement from the employer.
• Be a member of a fully paid fire department or public fire authority and be compensated on a full-time basis,
• Be in active service of the department or authority for at least 60 months,
Be diagnosed with any respiratory tract, bladder, skin, brain, kidney, blood, thyroid, testicular, prostate, or lymphatic cancer,
• Be employed in the active service of the department or authority at the time the cancer manifests itself, and be exposed to the hazards incidental to fire suppression, rescue, or emergency medical services in the performance of his or her work-related duties,
• First apply for and do all things necessary to qualify for any pension benefits to which he or she may be entitled.
Applications must be submitted via U.S. Mail attention: Workers’ Compensation Agency, First Responders Presumed Coverage Fund, P. O. Box 30016, Lansing, MI 48909.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Lee Cannon.