New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
By Forum Staff
Legislation to establish a new fund to provide compensation for essential workers that were required to leave their home to perform services and became ill or died as a result of COVID-19 was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), one of the bill’s cosponsors, announced Thursday.
According to Gillibrand, the Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act is modeled after the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Specifically, the measure would:
- Establish 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;
- Support essential workers affected by COVID-19 across the country in their recovery by providing financial assistance to help with medical costs, loss of employment, loss of business, replacement services and burial costs;
- Authorize appropriated funds as needed for five years with the fund permanently closing one fiscal year after the Special Master determines that no additional claims can be filed;
- Create a new website and office developed and administered by a Special Master to assist in the application process; and
- Maximize 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 those employees would be eligible to file a claim, Gillibrand noted. The compensation application enables claimants to provide information regarding the extent of their loss, and eligible individuals would receive compensation no later than 20 days after approval.