Workers advocates want line-of-duty death benefit extended to all public-sector workers

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP)-The death of a family member impacts families financially as well as emotionally. The state currently offers a $300,000 dollar death benefit to families of first responders, such as police officers and fire fighters, killed in the line of duty. But not all public sector workers receive this benefit.

Workers advocates are calling on the state to extend the line-of-duty death benefits to all public sector workers.

“We believe there’s something fundamentally wrong with telling one family that the loss of their parent or spouse’s life entitles them to $300,000, and telling another that the loss of their loved ones life is worth zero,” Legislative Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Jim Durkin said at a hearing before the state’s Public Service Committee.

He spoke in favor of State Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) bill that would award the benefit to public sector workers going forward and retroactively.

Durkin shared the story of a worker who was killed on the job when a piece of equipment fell on him. He left behind a family with six kids, but all they received was $5,000 from life insurance-not even enough to cover funeral expenses.

“We’re asking the legislature and the Governor to recognize that when it come to losing one’s life on the job, the families of all public employees should be treated equally,” Durkin said.

The Public Service Committee is currently reviewing testimony on the bill.

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