Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill Thursday in lower Manhattan raising the disability protections of newer FDNY firefighters to the level of their more veteran peers, saying, “It’s about basic respect.”
Close to 2,300 current members of the FDNY and those hired going forward who become disabled in the line of duty will be eligible for benefits equal to three-quarters of their pension, his office said.
The Democratic governor addressed several hundred firefighters Thursday blocks from the World Trade Center where 343 firefighters and paramedics were killed nearly 15 years ago in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The governor commended the FDNY’s selflessness and sacrifice.
“New York City firefighters — believe it or not — were not getting the same disability benefits as firefighters in the rest of the state,” he told reporters afterward. “That’s unjustifiable. If anything, the New York City firefighters are working under tougher conditions.”
Cuomo’s predecessor David A. Paterson vetoed a benefits extender bill in 2009 that left firefighters hired after that time with as little as 27 dollars a day in total protection if they became permanently disabled, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York.
Union president Steve Cassidy, in a statement, said the restoration by Cuomo means his members “will never have to worry about leaving themselves and their families destitute should they be seriously injured in the line of duty.”