WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced the introduction of the Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act.
Modeled after the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), this new fund would provide compensation for injuries to any individual, or their families, who are deemed an essential worker and required to leave their home to perform services and who became ill or died as a result of COVID-19. Congresswoman Maloney is the sponsor of the bill, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and its subsequent reauthorizations, which created and effectively made permanent the VCF.
“On September 11th, it was the firefighters and officers who ran into the burning buildings to save lives. Over the last year, as New York City and the country battled the COVID pandemic, it is hospital workers – nurses, doctors, EMS, janitorial staff, pharmacists, technicians – and all essential workers who have put so much on the line to keep us safe and healthy,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “They have been there for us – taking care of our loved ones, stocking food shelves, keeping trains and busses running, delivering our mail – and we must assure them that if they or their loved ones become ill with COVID, we’ll be there to support them, too.”
“Our nation’s dedicated health care workers, first responders, letter carriers and legions of other vital essential workers are serving on the front lines to care for patients battling COVID-19 infections and keep our country running during a deadly pandemic that has already killed more than half a million Americans,” said Senator Duckworth. “While we have to do much more to protect these men and women as they take on greater risks during this pandemic, we also need to recognize the sad reality that our nation has a responsibility to take care of the loved ones of those essential workers who perish as a result of their decision to go back to work to help others.”
“The NRLCA once again is pleased to support the Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act to compensate essential workers harmed in the line of duty. Rural letter carriers, as well as other postal employees, are part of the backbone of America and provide an essential service to Americans at every address,” said Ronnie Stutts, President, National Rural Letter Carriers‘ Association (NRLCA).“USPS employees perform their duties day in and day out and risk the health of themselves and their families to keep America running. Throughout the pandemic, the Postal Service and its employees have been essential, front-line workers delivering packages, stimulus checks, and ballots; as well as over 1 billion packages of medication each year. We applaud Chairwoman Maloney, Chairman Nadler, and Senator Duckworth for continuing to recognize the sacrifice that rural letter carriers and every other essential worker have made so that we can continue to be united as a nation and battle this pandemic together. We urge all lawmakers to support and quickly pass this important piece of legislation.”
“The UFOA applauds Congresswoman Maloney’s efforts in reintroducing the COVID-19 Compensation Fund legislation. Congresswoman Maloney has always been a champion for first responders and essential workers. She has recognized the sacrifice that these men and women make every single day on behalf of their fellow citizens,” said Jake Lemonda, President, UFOA.
“As the largest union representing federal and D.C. government workers, the American Federation of Government Employees thanks Senator Duckworth and Chairwoman Maloney for reintroducing the Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act. AFGE represents tens of thousands of front-line workers across the country who, along with their loved ones, deserve compensation for injuries, illnesses, or in the worst-case scenario death due to their work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our members working at VA hospitals, DoD facilities, federal prisons, airports, and other government facilities across the country will greatly benefit from this new fund to ensure they receive the resources and support they deserve for their service to their country. I thank Senator Duckworth and Chairwoman Maloney for introducing this important legislation to support our front-line heroes in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said AFGE National President Everett Kelley.
“DC 37 members are nothing short of heroes. They risked their lives throughout the pandemic to ensure New York City kept running and too many paid the ultimate price,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director District Council 37, AFSCME. “The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act is common sense and should be passed quickly. The workers who held this country together during COVID-19 deserve the utmost gratitude, recognition and compensation for their sacrifice.”
The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act:
- Establishes a compensation fund for all essential workers, personnel, and their families, across all industries, that were required to leave their homes to perform their services and became ill or died as a result of COVID-19;
- Supports essential workers affected by COVID-19 across the country in their recovery by providing critical financial assistance to help with medical costs, loss of employment, loss of business, replacement services, and burial costs;
- Authorizes appropriated funds as needed for 5 years with the fund permanently closing one fiscal year after the Special Master determines that no additional claims can be filed;
- Creates a new website and office developed and administered by a Special Master to assist in the application process; and
- Maximizes compensation for essential workers and their families by simplifying the application process to get those affected back on their feet.
Family members who share homes with essential workers and became sick through contact with the essential worker would also be eligible to file a claim.
The compensation application would allow claimants to provide information regarding the extent of their loss for consideration. Eligible individuals would receive compensation no later than 20 days after approval.