Employee Relations 08/24/2012
Public Safety Death Benefits
AB 2451 (Perez, J.) - Oppose
As amended on August 21, 2012
AB 2451, by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, would previously have allowed dependents of a firefighter or peace officer who dies of certain occupational ailments to file for workers’ compensation death benefits from one year of the date of death, irrespective of the date of injury. Those ailments are: heart disease, hernias, pneumonia, cancer, tuberculosis, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and blood borne infectious diseases
Amendments taken recently remove heart conditions as a qualifying presumption for purposes of the bill and reduce the open-endedness of the timeline when a claim can be filed for death benefits by extending the statute of limitations from 240 weeks to 480 weeks rather than an unlimited period of time.
CSAC continues to oppose AB 2451 as we believe that not only do liberal standards for public safety officers already allow employees to get fairly compensated on the basis of a disease presumption when that injury is presumed to have job causation, but because the provisions of AB 2451 continue to expand the statute of limitations in which a beneficiary of a firefighter or peace officer can file a claim for death benefits. Such an extension depletes counties’ certainty as to ultimate expected benefit costs, which, as a result of AB 2451, will inevitably rise at a time when we are struggling to provide residents with basic services on limited budgets. Additionally, the injuries covered in AB 2451 do not have the same close connection to work exposures as do asbestosis and HIV (already presumptive illnesses in current law), making it nearly impossible for employers to refute the claim.
AB 2451 passed on the Senate Floor and is now in the Assembly awaiting concurrence on the amendments taken in the Senate.