The bill will provide a weekly supplement to family members of essential workers who die from the virus.
The New Jersey Senate has just passed a bill for providing COVID-19 dependent benefits supplements when essential workers in the state die from having the coronavirus.
SB 2476 passed on Monday by a vote of 38-1 and will use the NJ Second Injury Fund.
Essential workers whose dependents would qualify should the worst happen from coronavirus infection include fire, police and other first responders. They also include medical and other health care service providers. Also included are transportation and financial services workers with public-facing jobs. It also applies to people taking part in the production, preparation, storage, sale and distribution of essential goods and all other employees whose jobs have been labeled as essential throughout this state of emergency.
The COVID-19 dependent benefits are meant to reflect cost-of-living-adjustment benefits that already exist for the families of public safety workers who are killed while on duty. The payments would take place throughout the period in which the worker’s dependents receive the originally awarded weekly benefits. They would decrease accordingly for recipients who are also in receipt of Federal Old-Age, Disability Insurance Act, and Survivors’ benefits.
If the COVID-19 dependent benefits bill is signed into law, it will become effective immediately.
The state senate has passed the bill, but it must now make its way to the New Jersey Assembly. A comparable bill, AB 3998, was introduced near the beginning of May. That bill continues to be in the Assembly Labor Committee.
New Jersey has been among the states that has been struck particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It experienced a sharp spike in cases at the same time as New York, and its residents have become all too familiar with the threat it presents. This is particularly true of the essential workers who must continue to do their jobs and spend time with other people despite the spread of the disease.
The COVID-19 dependent benefits are meant to acknowledge the sacrifice those workers make every day and to support their dependents should the worst occur.